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New child safety campaign from Get Safe Online

5th September 2013

Today sees the launch of Get Safe Online's 'Switched On' campaign, aimed at helping parents and other adults responsible for children to ensure that their charges stay safe when on the internet.

For information and advice on safeguarding children, click here.

When parents feel less confident about the internet than their children, it can be difficult to manage online risks and feel confident when speaking to them about how to keep safe online. 

With the support of Norton by Symantec, Neighbourhood Watch and the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Get Safe Online has launched a new section on Safeguarding Children on its website, and is also offering the opportunity to sign up to monthly newsletter emails and download guides.

The campaign provides a wealth of information such as the new online channels that children are using, the different kinds of technology available to them, as well as the latest safety issues, relevant organisations and the appropriate steps for how to keep children of all ages safe.
63% of parents of 12-15 year olds feel that their children know more about the internet than they do (source: Ofcom). The research also indicates that parents are more oncerned about their child downloading a virus (23%) than they are about the contact their child might be having
with people online (19%). Worryingly, 30% of children aged 8-15 with a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace have their profiles set so that friends of friends, or anyone else using the sites can see them.

As part of the campaign, Get Safe Online has also launched the ‘Switched-On' hotline which is operating throughout September*. Parents can call experts from Norton to speak about any online safety issues that are worrying them, including advice on parental control software.

It can often be difficult for parents to monitor what children are doing online. Indeed, research shows that while 39% of parents of 12-15s use the browser's history function to see which websites their child has visited, 42% of children aged 12-15 said they know how to delete website histories and 19% have done so in the last year.

Dr Emma Bond is Deputy Director, Institute for Social, Educational and Enterprise Development at University Campus Suffolk (UCS). Emma said: “It is essential that parents are able to talk to their children about what they are doing online. Recent tragic events have highlighted how online behaviours can have serious offline  Too often parents are unaware what their children are doing online, do not understand social media or do not know how to talk them about it." She continued: "It is difficult for parents to keep up to date with the latest technology trends. The 'Switched On' campaign will give parents the opportunity to access information and advice in an understandable way which give parents the confidence to talk to their children and help them keep themselves safe online."

Norton internet security advocate Emma Jeffs said: “We are pleased to be working with Get Safe Online to offer parents an easily accessible set of tools to help them keep their children safe online. By calling the hotline that Norton by Symantec is providing throughout September, parents can ask questions about parental controls and receive guidance about what areas of online activity they should be aware of.”

Top tips for how to keep your children safe online:

• Stay private – ensure your child understands the risks of sharing personal information online, such as their full name, location, images and video content and that they should share these only with people they know and trust in the offline world. 

• Opt for parental settings - use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package and block pop-ups and spam emails. You should also consider setting up a family email account which can be used specifically to register for websites, competitions etc. 

• Choose strong passwords – make sure you have activated password protection on your child’s mobile phone or tablet and include random letters and numbers to keep them strong.

• Keep security up to date – by installing and keeping an internet security product up to date you can protect against identity theft, scams and other threats. Cybercriminals can access social media profiles or extract other personal data from unsecured devices: good internet
security software should remove these risks immediately.

• Protect your money – ensure your child cannot gain access to an online shop or other website where your card details are stored. If your child is paying for something with your permission, make sure they check to make sure the padlock symbol is displayed in the browser frame and  the web address begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

• Be safe and social – make sure your child keeps their profile private and uses the highest security settings so they can control who sees what.

• Encourage them to report anything they are concerned about to yourself or another adult that they trust.

• Talk about it – encourage conversation about what they are interested in, so you can make the internet a shared, family experience.

• Don’t worry – the internet is a fantastic tool and with the right guidelines in place there is no reason why it can’t be used to its full advantage. If you are worried about anything at all, click here for further advice.

*The ‘Switched On’ hotline will run from 9am-9pm Monday to Friday throughout September on 0207 744 0022. Get Safe Online is also giving away 100 copies of Norton Internet Security, which includes the free web monitoring and blocking software Norton Family, on its Twitter Feed. Follow @GetSafeOnline for more information on how to win your copy.