THE BLOG

We Need to Guide Children to Take the Safe Path on the Internet

27/08/2015 08:39 BST | Updated 26/08/2016 10:59 BST

The internet has changed all of our lives for the better - the vast world that it has opened up to us now means that we can communicate with each other more efficiently than ever before.

In spite of this we know that the online world can come with risks, especially to young people and we believe that many of these risks could be avoided if we teach our children that there is little difference between speaking to a stranger in the street or online. This is why we at O2 and the NSPCC are joining forces to help give parents of eight to 13 year-olds the latest practical and technical advice to help keep their children safe online.

We know there is no silver bullet which will stop cyber bullying or prevent children from seeing potentially harmful content such as sites which encourage eating disorders, self-harm and even suicide. However we are both clear as parents and leaders in the online safety arena - we need to guide our children to take the safe path on the internet just as we teach them how to navigate every day tasks.

This is something which is at the very heart of our new project - we know that many parents are digitally capable and a significant number of them are confident in parenting online - however the online world changes fast and it can be hard for parents to feel like they are keeping up. We know this because you are telling us - over the past few years growing numbers of concerned parents have contacted the NSPCC about online issues.

By coming together we want to encourage these parents and many more to learn what they can do to help keep their children safe. Together O2 and the NSPCC will deliver interactive workshops to empower parents to embrace a balanced view of the internet and today we are launching a new joint helpline (0808 800 5002) which offers technical advice to parents, including how to set privacy settings.

We know children and young people spend a lot of time online and it can be a great way for them to socialise, explore and have fun. This is why we are also developing a new online hub (o2.co.uk/nspcc) to help parents understand more about what their children are doing online, what they love about the sites, apps and games they use every day.

In addition we are delighted to announce that O2 will make it free for young people to visit ChildLine online through their O2 mobiles. More young people than ever before are now contacting the helpline over the internet. We know that this move will be invaluable to thousands of young people.

Through this partnership we also want to inspire other leaders in industry to put family safety on their agenda and together we want to ensure all companies are thinking about child online safety at the design stage of their product development. By working together I believe we can help to change children's and parent's lives by giving them a greater understanding of how to stay safe in the online world.

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/o2