Best Practice

Helping parents to protect their children

Digital safety is a crucial responsibility for parents and schools. Terry Freedman looks at how we can support parents to keep their teenagers safe online

According to a November 2017 report by Ofcom, youngsters aged 12 to 15 spend a lot of time online: 83 per cent have their own smartphone, 91 per cent go online for 21 hours a week, and 74 per cent have a social media profile.

Even these statistics don’t tell the whole story. According to the report Social Media and Children’s Mental Health (Education Policy Institute, June 2017), the 15-year-olds they refer to as “extreme” internet users clock up six hours-a-day online – far higher than in any other OECD country except Chile.

It is also interesting to discover that, contrary to popular opinion, teens are concerned about their privacy online. A small-scale survey carried out by the Data and Society Institute in the USA discovered that teenagers were not only concerned about their privacy, and how their phone tracks everything they do unless they make a huge effort to prevent that happening, but welcomed adult guidance.

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