I imagine I am not the only parent who worries about their child’s safety online. Thankfully our son is not yet at the stage of wanting to use social media sites or anything similar, this helps lessen our anxiety quite considerably. However the internet is still a very dangerous place and our innocent children aren’t always aware of the dangers that exist. I accept that one day my son will perhaps want a social media account and I must admit even the idea leaves me uncomfortable.
A huge concern of mine is not only that my child might over share personal information or photos, but that he might come across content that is totally inappropriate. I know myself when scrolling through Facebook, my own newsfeed frequently contains videos/images which I don’t find appropriate and I would be horrified at the thoughts of any child seeing.
The NSPCC have just launched a campaign called Share Aware and have kindly asked me to share it with you all. I currently volunteer regularly for ChildLine and so of course this charity is very close to my heart. I admire the work that they do and feel particularly passionate about this campaign, as through volunteering in ChildLine I have become more aware of the impact social media has on the lives of young people today.
They have developed a “NetAware” tool that provides parents with in-depth information about popular sites. The information is based on the views of parents and young people and gives an idea of both the positive and negative aspects of any given site. Simply search for the site you want to know more about and using the information given, form your own opinion on it’s level of appropriateness. This will not only help put many parent’s minds at ease, but it also helps us become more knowledgeable about the possible risks to children online. This means that we are therefore more able to talk to our children about any concerns we might have.
I decided I would use the tool to find out more information on a messaging app called “Kik”. I have never heard of this app before and yet it appears to be very popular amongst young people. The NSPCC have partnered with Mumsnet to find out what parents of 8-12 year olds think about this app, they also asked young people what they think….
I couldn’t believe that with the click of a button, I was able to access all of this very valuable information. In some ways I am shocked that this site is so popular, despite the fact there appears to be many risks involved with using it.
I really encourage any parent to use this tool. It enables us to make informed decisions about what we allow our children to access. Of course it can be very difficult to monitor everything our children see online, but I believe this campaign does provide parents with a real insight and the information we need to have conversations with our children about sites, that we otherwise may have known nothing about.
You can find the tool HERE. Do let me know if you find it as informative and helpful as I did!
Lastly I would personally like to give a huge thank you to the NSPCC, for continuing to do their part in keeping young people safe.