Online experts at the NCA are encouraging parents to talk to their children about online safety, as new figures show that 15% have never had a conversation about it with their children at all.
The figures come from a recent NCA survey which highlights that many parents do not feel confident talking to their children about online risks and are unsure where to go for help and support.
Almost half – 46% - said that although they had discussed it with their children they hadn’t done so recently.
Starting this month the NCA CEOP Command’s #Thinkuknow programme will offer advice throughout the week on having those conversations, with guidance on managing childrens’ safety online and minimising the risks they may encounter.
A series of short video clips on social media platforms and on public screens around the country will aim to raise awareness of how things can get risky very quickly on apps and chat forums.
Parents can also get involved in the campaign by sharing the videos along with the tag #toptipsforparents with friends and family.
The NCA’s top tips include:
1. Build your confidence in how to have a conversation with your child about their online life. Open and on-going conversations with your child will help you to understand how they are communicating online and who with.
2. Find out what your child is exploring online. Ask them to show you their favourite sites to get you started.
3. Set up parental control on your internet connection. Customising your settings will help you to limit harmful content from being accessed.
4. Share Thinkuknow advice with your friends and family. Sharing our advice will help the parents and carers you know support their children online.
5. Review privacy settings on the apps and the sites your children use. Make sure that settings are set to ‘friends only’ and that they know these friends in their offline life.
6. Explore our parents and carers site Thinkuknow.co.uk, which has useful information and advice for you and your child.
Marie Smith, Head of Education at the NCA’s CEOP Command said: “Apps and sites are a great way for children and young people to connect with each other online but dating apps for teens and location based social media can leave them exposed to inappropriate content and contact from strangers online if they don’t know how to manage their safety.
“At the NCA, we increasingly see reports of young people who have been groomed into sharing nude or nearly nude pictures or films of themselves online. We also see an increasing number of adults with a sexual interest in children targeting the same applications that young people use in a bid to build relationships with them.
“Although this survey represents a relatively small number, it highlights a wider issue in the UK that parents don’t always feel confident bringing up sensitive issues with their children.
“Talking to a child about sex, relationships and the internet does not have to be difficult and we are here to help. We’d encourage parents to consider our safety advice and visit the Thinkuknow website for further information and a place to report.”
CEOP Command’s Thinkuknow programme provides information for children, young people, parents and carers about staying safe online and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Parents and carers can visit ThinkUKnow for advise on keeping their children safe.