Tuesday 07 February 2012

BACK TO THE 50’S

UK National Centre for Child Protection Goes Back to the 50’s to Help Parents with Internet Safety

“The risks that children face may have changed but basic parenting skills remain the same” is the central message from the UK’s national centre for child protection – the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – as it marks European Safer Internet Day 2012.

 The Centre commissioned a MORI poll that showed around 80% of UK children aged between 5-15 years are regularly online every day, while OFCOM findings for the same age group reveals that 61% of parents had failed to set adequate online controls or didn’t have filters in place to keep their children safe.

Parents fear of understanding technology still seems to be a major obstacle so the Centre has gone back to the 50’s with newly styled materials that encourages parents to take their parenting skills into the online world.

All are available free to parents at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents and the centre-piece is a new online show – "The Parents’ and Carers' Guide to the Internet" - that takes a light hearted but thought provoking look at internet safety from a parental point of view.

It provides practical advice on what children may be doing online, covers issues that are sometimes hard to discuss and helps parents talk to their child about online worlds that for the child are often very private and vitally integral to their lives.

All has been funded by Visa Europe and includes contributions from Professor Tanya Byron, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mothers Union who recently undertook dedicated research looking at the sexualisation of children, as well as service providers such as Facebook, Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin.

And the show is now complemented by other new resources which the Centre is launching to help parents and children stay safe online including:

  • A restyled area at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents with updated advice and guidance for parents with children of any age.
  • A new, customised ‘ClickCEOP’ browser developed by Microsoft for Internet Explorer 9. This provides users with the opportunity to customise their browser so they can get direct access to CEOP’s advice pages, as well as being able to report inappropriate contact with their child. There are also links organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation, Get Safe Online and Beatbullying. The browser is available to download at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/browser-safety.

Peter Davies is Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre and the senior police officer leading on child protection on the internet for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO):

 “Technology has transformed people’s lives both collectively and individually. It has changed how we communicate and socialise and children and young people are at the forefront – the real internet pioneers. For them it provides immense opportunity and excitement.

 “But too often we see examples of where the child is at risk because they make simple online mistakes – because they are lured in or push the boundaries too far and risk their personal safety.

 “We all have a role to play and today I want to encourage parents to engage with their child to help avoid these risks. I want to help them explore the online world with their child, to talk to them about how they are using the internet and above all do what parents have always done – think about safety from a practical point of view.

 “That is why we have taken such an innovative approach with our new products. We have collaborated with leading figures in the world of child safety to bring basic practical advice that is quick and easy to follow. We cover issues that are often taboo and we open up what we know about the risks in order to help parents understand so that they in turn can feel more confident talking to their child.

Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

“Protecting children is one of the government’s most important responsibilities and CEOP does a fantastic job safeguarding children, both on- and off-line. I welcome this helpful guide as another way of allowing us to create a safer online environment.

 “The internet is a great tool for young people and can open their eyes to lots of opportunities but it's important they understand the risks involved.”

Valerie Dias, Chief Risk Officer, Visa Europe said:

 "As a responsible payments business and employer of thousands of parents, helping children and young people stay safe online is an issue very close to our hearts. That’s why, as a founding partner of CEOP, Visa Europe is working with CEOP to reach new audiences – like parents and carers – in order to help children and young people enjoy online technologies safely.”

Gabby Hegerty, Microsoft Internet Explorer Lead in the UK, commented

 “At Microsoft we always want to provide our customers with the tools to enjoy the web safely and securely. The internet has become a central part of everyday life for adults and children, from learning and communicating to working and playing online. As the leading browser provider, it is important we make the appropriate safety information available and build in features to our software which provide families with peace of mind online.”