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Parents and carers urged to ensure children are 'digitally safe'

Parents and carers are being urged to make sure their children are safe when they are online.


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The warning comes following the latest statistics which have revealed that over half of young people, aged between 10-12 years old, have been exposed to inappropriate content online – while one in three children aged five to seven use social media unsupervised.

Figures also revealed a 65 per cent rise in 'self-generated' imagery in children aged seven and 10 last year, while NSPCC research suggests that one in 20 children and young people have experienced online sexual risks of harm.

Now, Wolverhampton Council has warned parents and carers to be weary of what their young ones are doing, giving tips on how to stay safe online.

Councillor Jacqui Coogan, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for children, young people and education, said: "The internet provides children and young people with access to valuable resources – from online learning tools to support education and ways to connect with family and friends.

"But there are also potential risks of harm through internet abuse and dangerous crimes. Cyber bullies, internet predators, and scammers use digital technology to invoke harm."

The Internet Watch Foundation, a charity dedicated to stopping child sexual abuse online, also declared 2023 a record year for online child sexual abuse reports.

Councillor Coogan added: "Children and young people regularly use different websites and apps, and it can be hard to keep up in this ever-changing digital world. But the things that help keep children safe online are often like the things that keep them safe offline.

"As a parent, it’s important you recognise and understand the potential harms for your child when online, and what they should be doing to protect themselves."

Tips to keep your children and young ones safe in the digital world include:

  • Talking about what they think is normal online and what behaviour they should expect from others and themselves.

  • Encourage them to think critically and question what they see online. Talk to fake followers, and scams. Help them develop a healthy suspicion of whether people are who they say they are.

  • Share your knowledge and experience of relationships. For example, sometimes people seem nice at first then they turn out to be mean. Let them know that you know about this and that they can talk to you.

More information on staying safe online can be found of the safe internet website.

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