The Internet is a scary place for children. It’s tough to control what they have access to and can look at – despite the parental controls available.
So is it any wonder that there’s such a big amount of cyber bullying and online peer pressure going on?
New stats show that 57 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds have done something ‘risky’ or anti-social online and two thirds feel under pressure from others to act in this way, the BBC reports.
In the poll of 2,000 children, commissioned by BBC Learning to coincide with Safer Internet Day today, 20 per cent admitted to putting pressure on someone else to act badly online and a shocking three-quarters said they had seen bullying online.
The research highlighted that a lot of parents don’t always know what their children are doing online.
Some 47 per cent of the children polled said they had looked at something online that they thought their parents wouldn’t like them to see and another 14 per cent confessed to sending photos of themselves or others that their parents wouldn’t like them to.
Plus, one in 10 had visited websites that had age restrictions.
“Internet safety is becoming increasingly important as more families get online and children start to use tablets, computers and smartphones earlier in their lives,” says Andrew Tomlinson, the BBC’s executive producer responsibly for digital and media literacy.
Another survey has revealed exactly which social networking apps children from the same age group use the most. The most popular one is YouTube, with 78 per cent of 11-16 year olds using it weekly. Some 74 per cent use Facebook the most, following by Snapchat (46 per cent), Instagram (43 per cent), Twitter and WhatsApp (both 37 per cent) and Skype and Minecraft (both 32 per cent).
But the good news is that when children feel they’re being bullied on any of these apps and sites, they do something about it.
Some 75 per cent have blocked another user, 68 per cent have supported someone else who was a victim of cyber bullying and 74 per cent have stood up for themselves.
How Can We Help Make Our Children Safe Online
Will Gardner, chief executive of Childnet International who also sits on Facebook’s safety advisory board, said that the Internet service are doing lots to make help make their young users safer online.
“The different services now have safety centres where you can get advice on how to keep safe, and there have been some improvements to the reporting and blocking tools available on those services,” Gardner says.
“Facebook reporting wasn’t transparent in the past: when you made a report, you didn’t know what happened to it. Now it has a dashboard where you can track that report, see if it’s been dealt with or not, and what the outcome was. It’s really important that these service providers maintain their users’ confidence in the safety tools that are there.”
There are other encouraging steps being taken, too. There are are lots of technology launches designed to protect your children from online crime and enable them to explore the online world safely.
There are websites, such as Get Safe Online, which parents can visit to get advice on keeping children protected
[How To Stay Safe On Any Online Device]
[Three Quarters Of Children Aged 10 And Under Have Mobile Phones]
Do you worry about your child's safety online? Let us know in the comments.