I was recently asked to be involved with a study about the worries that parents have when it comes to their children and technology. The results have been collated by My Voucher Codes and ultimately the majority of most parents are most worried about cyber bullying as well as their children accessing adult content or sharing inappropriate images.
While that of course bothers me I think for me the most frightening thing is the possibility of one of my children being groomed online. A few years ago now when Holly was in Year 7 she made a fun video with some friends from school, just her and her friends messing about singing and dancing and chatting to the camera. At the end of the film they each said their name and we go to XXX school in XXX. She then shared it on YouTube.
I had absolutely no idea until the next day when Holly (thank goodness) came to me and told me that she’d had a message. The message said
”Hi Holly, I love your video you and your friends are so fun. Maybe next time you could make a video, just you, in your school uniform and send it to me?”
The username of the person who had sent her the message was obscene and it really really frightened Holly. Enough for her to come and tell me about it. She was crying her eyes out and couldn’t believe she had said her name and where she went to school. I felt probably the most sick I’ve ever felt in my life. I also felt that I’d let my daughter down and that I should have prepared her for this sort of thing. To be honest I had no idea that she even knew how to upload a video to YouTube and really underestimated the internet savvyness that children have these days. The video was taken down immediately and I reported it to the school, Holly wasn’t allowed outside of the gates on her own, I also reported it to the police who referred me to CEOP.
It was absolutely awful and thankfully nothing ever came from it but the whole experience made me take a look at how I protect the children when it comes to the internet and prompted me to attend a workshop that promotes safe internet use for young people. Some of the safety measures that we implemented are parental controls to block adult content and also sitting down and having a chat with the children and making sure they knew they could come and talk to us about anything that might be worrying them.
Some of the statistics from the findings are detailed below and are discussed in detail at The Tech Lounge.
- Online bullying – 58% Extremely Worried
- Accessing adult content such as porn, swearing, nudity, sex and violence – 49% Extremely Worried
- Sharing inappropriate images – 49% Extremely Worried
- Grooming – 48% Concerned
- Access to extremism – 44% Concerned
- Addiction to social media – 57% Concerned
- Effects on Education – 66% Concerned
- Privacy – 55% Concerned
- Effect on long term health – 49% Concerned
- Running up huge bills. – 65% Not at all Worried
Let me know what you think. Have you implemented internet safety measures and what would worry you the most?