Parents worry more about their children being contacted by strangers on the internet and seeing inappropriate content than drinking too much alcohol, according to new research out this week. But what is being done to protect children online?
On a day that internet companies are due to meet the European Commission to discuss online child safety, it would appear that we are right to be worried.
According to a report from the EU Kids Online project, only 13 per cent of 9 to 16 year olds reported something they saw online that upset them, 14 per cent have seen sexual images on websites, and 21 per cent of 11 to 16 year olds have seen potentially harmful user-generated content.
The research, which presented findings from 25,000 9 to 16 year olds and their parents in 25 countries, revealed an interesting insight into the struggles young people encounter on the internet and the dangers of risky online encounters.
Online risk and harm
Last night I went to a dinner to discuss issues around internet safety and what measures can be taken to protect children. (Eating at a table decorated with crackers and festive napkins, following a Christmas Open House held by mi-CommsPR, was slightly surreal, but anyway… ).
We were talking about how children often have digital skills that are far superior to adults and how even a two-year-old can work out how to use a mobile app.
Something you think is quite innocent could actually be a bit on the violent side – apparently even the popular Talking Tom Cat mobile app isn’t liked by some mums who worry about their children pulling their real cat’s tail or poking it in the head!
Ultimately it’s up to us as parents/guardians to monitor what applications and websites our children access, how they’ve set up their profiles, and who they are talking to. So where do we start?
The safest android tablet on the market?
Kurio 7 is the new android tablet for the family that claims to be the safest on the market – now even the marketing team behind the tablet are under “no illusion” that others will follow suit with similar features, but having seen it for myself I believe it is a great benchmark for others to follow.
The Kurio, which was awarded ‘Best of Show’ by Gadget Show Live at Toy Fair 2012, boasts its very own ‘protected’ app store, time control features, web filtering system with parental control features, such as block/safe list options and filtering settings for up to eight different profiles.
- Last week Disney announced it is launching a £3 million safety internet campaign targeting 100 million children and parents around the world, following the recent sexual scandal surrounding rival Habbo Hotel.
- A new internet security system that “requires no techical or installation knowledge” was launched this week by Claranet Soho. Childsafe subscribers can choose what services or content is allowed to help protect users.
- TalkTalk offers an opt-in, network-level filtering service for its customers to help protect your children from unsuitable content with the option to set time limits on social network sites and games. Find out more by visiting the TalkTalk website.
- If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, a new book is out this week (July 18 2012) called Children, Risk and Safety on the Internet. Find out how to order a copy by visiting the Policy Press website.
- Read the full report from the EU Kids Online project (funded by the EC Safer Internet Programme).