Denise Van Outen has revealed that she has banned her pre-teen daughter from using social media as she’s worried about what she could be exposed to online.
The Essex-born TV star, 48, shares 12-year-old Betsy with her actor ex-husband Lee Mead.
Betsy recently started secondary school and while Van Outen knows she can’t keep her only child wrapped in cotton wool forever, she wants to make sure that she knows how to stay safe online.
She is now working with EE and Beano to launch a special comic strip, aimed at helping to educate parents and children about the potential perils of the cyber world.
Van Outen is the first to admit that she’s “not the most tech-savvy” and usually goes to Betsy for advice about her phone.
“That’s what scares me because she’ll do it within minutes and I’m like ‘well hang on a minute, if she can do this and help resolve this, well what else can they find?’” she told the Standard.
“Compared to some of my friends I was pretty late [giving Betsy her first phone], she has only had a phone for a year when she turned eleven, but I haven’t put her on Instagram or anything like that, she’s not allowed to do any of that just cos I feel like she’s at an age where I don’t really want her doing that.
“A lot of her friends already are, you know, and it’s funny, you can sort of see the kids that have had access to those sort of things because they just seem more grown up. I suppose they are exposed to more, aren’t they.”
Cyber bullying is another concern for the Celebrity Gogglebox star.
The blonde says that although she has developed a thick skin over the years and hasn’t personally had any issues with online trolls, she has friends who have.
She said: “Having voiced TOWIE for many years I became friends with some of the cast members and had conversations with them where they’ve been trolled badly and it’s really, really affected their mental health and I can see how it happens and it’s a worry.”
Admitting “all ages have their challenges for parents,” one thing she is currently enjoying is being able to do certain things together now that Betsy’s a bit older.
Describing her daughter as one of her “best friends,” the Steph’s Packed Lunch star explained: “I’m blessed that my daughter’s at an age where we can do nice things together which is great. Whereas before I had to take her to the park or something and spend all day pushing her on the swings, now she comes shopping with me or we go for a nice lunch and can have a conversation or a chat.
“It’s like having another little best mate. I’ve obviously got my real best mates, but your daughter becomes like your best mate, it’s lovely cos we talk about everything.”
To help your children to stay safe and be kind online, visit ee.co.uk/beano.