On Friday 9 January, the NSPCC launched a public education campaign, called 'Share Aware', to help parents keep their children safe online.
The campaign is aimed at parents and carers of children aged 8-12 – the age at which they start doing more online, become more independent and use a greater range of devices. The campaign aims to encourage parents and carers to understand online safety and to have conversations with their children about keeping safe.
Having conversations from a young age can help build trust and openness and get preventative messages across.
However, many parents feel confused by the internet and out of their depth in understanding what their children are doing online and what the risks might be.
The Share Aware campaign aims to give parents the tools to feel confident to have these conversations. The campaign directs parents to a range of new resources, including Net Aware, a simple NSPCC guide to the social networks, sites and apps children use – as rated by parents and young people themselves. The NSPCC is providing information on this guide at the time of the launch.
There is also a downloadable guide and a hard copy booklet for parents, containing top tips for keeping your child safe online, as well 'conversation starters' to help parents with talking with their children. All these resources are available on the Share Aware page from Friday 9 January. Contact the NSPCC if you would like to receive a copy of the booklet.
The NSPCC hopes the campaign will help parents talk to their children about staying safe online, as well as encouraging providers to take action to make their sites safer for children.
As part of the launch of the campaign, the NSPCC aims to release the findings from the consultations with parents and children that informed Net Aware. The guide has three main purposes:
- to provide an overview of sites, apps and games that children and young people use from a user-perspective
- to give parents the confidence to facilitate balanced and informed conversations about what their children are doing online, and
- to encourage parents to look at social networking platforms themselves and form their own views about the appropriateness of popular sites for their children.
The Share Aware campaign will also include two animations – 'I saw your willy' and 'Lucy and the boy' – that will be shown on prime time television and on digital spaces. These engaging films have a serious message deriving from the stories of two children who share too much about themselves online.