The internet is one of our greatest inventions - a powerful tool that children and young people can use to learn, to express themselves and explore the world around them. However, protecting them from the risks they might face online or on their phones is vital. You wouldn't let your child go off to meet a stranger or put themselves in a risky situation - and the same rules apply to the online world. Some children are visiting adult chatrooms, viewing inappropriate content and in some cases being bullied by peers or even - in extreme situations - radicalised, and we need to protect them from these risks.
Imagine discovering that your child had been sent a message by an adult, on social media or through a mobile phone app, asking whether they liked sex or what kind of underwear they were wearing. You'd probably feel a mixture of anger, panic, fear and revulsion. You'd want to take action. You might go straight to the police and tell them what had happened. But the police may not be able to do anything.
There can be few things more distressing for a parent or guardian then when their child becomes so unhappy or upset that they feel compelled to self-harm. It is therefore deeply worrying that more and more children and teenagers in this country are being hospitalised after deliberately hurting themselves.
It essential that we continue to emphasise and support organisational awareness and action, but also help parents and carers act in an informed manner where they can also help encourage good child protection. The NSPCC will also continue its systematic work in schools to help develop a resilience in children that helps them speak out and stay safe.
I was extremely excited to find out I had the opportunity to speak at the House of Lords because it is a place of such great historical significance and has a massive role to play in the scrutiny of government. I have previously visited the Houses of Parliament but it is such an interesting and amazing place that I could never turn down a trip again.
We take it for granted that the Government has data on everything that's important. But right now, they don't know the number of children in our communities up and down the country who've been abused and need support. As a society, if we don't know exactly how many children are suffering, how can we ensure they are all getting the help they need?
Recent research by the NSPCC found that young people are as likely to see online porn accidentally as search for it, and that repeated viewing can lead them to see porn as realistic. Exposing children to porn at a young age, before they are equipped to cope with it, can be extremely damaging to their developing understanding of sex and relationships.
If we're serious about improving the mental health of young people, we need a sea change in our approach to monitoring the issue. A prevalence survey once every 14 years simply isn't good enough. It's time to recognise children's mental health as a national asset, and do everything we can to understand, strengthen and protect it.
We encourage parents to think carefully before leaving their children at home - at any time. Leaving them unattended could put them at risk of accident or injury - how would they cope if something unexpected happened? It's also a good idea to ask them how they feel about being left alone and talk to them about what to do in an emergency so they feel confident and prepared.