Local MP supports the 'keep kids safe online' campaign

August 11, 2009 9:55 AM

Mark is calling for parents and carers to ensure their children's safety on the internet

Mark Hunter MP for the Cheadle constituency today joined with communications regulator Ofcom to promote advice aimed at helping parents and carers improve child safety online during the school summer holidays.

Two-thirds of 5-7 year olds now use the internet at home, rising to over three-quarters of 8-11 year olds and over four-fifths of 12-15s. Of these, one in five children between the ages of 5 and 7 use the internet without an adult present, as do nearly half of 8-11 and two out of three 12-15 year olds. They use the internet to play games, watch videos, download music and talk to friends on Instant Messaging and social networking sites. During this time they could encounter inappropriate or even potentially harmful content.

Mr Hunter welcomed the campaign to raise awareness among parents and carers of how to help keep kids safe online, saying: "The internet offers lots of opportunities for fun, learning and development at the click of a mouse, but it is important parents, carers and children have the right skills and information to keep them safe online. Knowing how to help keep kids safe online is a way parents can take control and have peace of mind."

John Carr, Secretary of the Children's Charities Commission on Internet Safety also welcomed the campaign saying: "With children spending so much time online, often unsupervised, it is vital that they and their parents have the know-how to have fun and stay safe." Robin Blake, Head of Media Literacy at Ofcom added, "Young people have a real appetite to explore and in doing so they learn about the world around them. When they go out to play we set rules to help keep them safe; and it's no different when they explore the online world, and these top tips will help you keep them safe."

Ofcom has some top tips to help parents and carers ensure children can enjoy the internet safely during the school holidays:

• Talk to your child and get to know how they use the internet; ask to see some of their favourite sites

• Install filtering software to restrict access to inappropriate websites

• Make sure your children know not to share their personal details online, such as their address and phone number

• Make sure your children know why cyberbullying is wrong

• Encourage your children to let you know if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.

A short consumer guide and a video showing how to help protect children from inappropriate or potentially harmful content are available on Ofcom's web site.

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