Actress and comedian Catherine Tate is backing an NSPCC and O2 campaign urging parents in Sussex to make online safety as high a priority for their children as road safety.
It comes as a survey of parents of 8-13 year olds finds only 19% are frequently discussing the topic with their children.
The findings also revealed that just 17% of parents talk to their child about changing the location settings on the apps and sites they use, which could leave them vulnerable to being targeted by online abusers.
Recent NSPCC and O2 research found that 80% of children think social media companies are not doing enough to protect them, making the role of parents even more vital in keeping them safe from online abuse.
A new animation ‘Safety advice from a 10 year-old’ featuring the voice of Catherine Tate has been created especially for Share Aware to highlight that it’s just as important to teach children about online safety as offline safety. To children, online life is real life but, as parents, it can be difficult to keep track of what they’re doing in this constantly changing world.
Catherine, who is a mum of one, said: “As a parent you teach your child how to cross the road and warn them about ‘stranger danger’ but it can be harder to know how to keep them safe online – especially when the speed with which new apps and games appear outwits even the best of us.
“The NSPCC and O2’s Share Aware campaign is a bit of a life-saver because it helps parents get to grips with all that Snapchatting, Whatsapping, and video-chatting and it makes chatting about their life online easy. It’s a simple guide on how to teach your child to stay safe online and it does all the hard work for you.”
Claire Lilley, Head of Child Online Safety at the NSPCC said: “Parents are the first point of call for a child when it comes to staying safe in real life and this is no different when it comes to their online life. Talking to your child and exploring their online world with them is the best way to keep them safe but it can be hard to keep up to speed with the internet and some topics can feel more difficult than others. Share Aware can help by giving parents the tools and confidence to have regular and informed chats with their child so they can get the best out of the internet.”
Nina Bibby, Chief Marketing Officer at O2 said: “The digital world is the new normal for young people who have never known anything else. However, some parents can find understanding this world a challenge. We want Share Aware to give parents and guardians the support that they need to discuss online safety with their children as confidently as they would offline safety. Technology provides a world of opportunities and here at O2 we want to make it as easy as possible for young people to enjoy it safely.”
The NSPCC and O2’s Share Aware campaign provides a range of advice and tools for parents to help them talk about and explore their child’s online world with them to enable them to agree boundaries and ways to manage any issues that may arise.
Resources for parents to support them to become experts in their child’s online world include a six-week icebreaker email series, conversation starters and help creating family agreements all available at nspcc.org.uk/shareaware.
For help on a specific issue call experts at the O2 & NSPCC Online Safety Helpline - 0808 800 5002, or make an appointment to see an O2 Guru in store.