Safer Internet Day: NSPCC encouraging parents and carers to help children game safely online
As part of Safer Internet Day the NSPCC is encouraging parents and carers to help their children to game safely online.
The theme of the UK Safer Internet Centre’s 2022 awareness-raising day is ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’.
During the pandemic, online gaming saw a huge increase. According to latest research from OFCOM, seven out of ten 5-15s played games online during 2020. Gaming continues to be a hugely popular way of young people connecting with friends.
The NSPCC has created a bespoke workshop, ‘Keeping children safe whilst gaming online’, for parents and carers to help their children game safely and spot unhealthy relationships.
While gaming and the internet has been a vital lifeline for children during the pandemic, many children have had a negative experience online.
Kate Edwards, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, said: “Online gaming plays an important part in many children and young people’s lives. It provides them with entertainment, opportunities to learn new skills and allows them to stay connected with their friends. But there can be risks involved.
“Talking to your child about what they’re doing online is an important tool in helping to keep them safe. Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to have this conversation, so why not #PlayYourPart and hold a family online games night to get talking.
“Our new online safety hub is here to support parents to start these conversations with their child about keeping safe online.”
More information about how to get involved in #PlayYourPart can be found on the NSPCC’s new blog, ‘How much do you know about your child’s favourite online game?’.
The NSPCC has long campaigned to make the internet a safer place for children and young people, with 1 in 5 UK internet users now children. The public are being urged to join over 30,000 campaigners and sign the charity’s letter to Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to put children at the heart of the Online Safety Bill.
Those looking for further support can visit the NSPCC’s Online Safety hub. Parents and carers can visit the hub to find advice and tips to help keep kids safe online. This includes pages for social media, online gaming and parental controls, explaining the risks and steps you can take to help keep your kids safe online.
There’s also information on what parents need to know about topics such as sharing nudes, livestreaming, harmful content and online reporting.
As part of Safer Internet Day websites that publish pornography will be legally required to verify the age of their users under new online safety rules, the UK Government has announced.
Digital Minister Chris Philp announced the Online Safety Bill will be significantly strengthened with a new legal duty requiring all sites that publish pornography to put robust checks in place to ensure their users are 18 years old or over.
This could include adults using secure age verification technology to verify that they possess a credit card and are over 18 or having a third-party service confirm their age against government data.
If sites fail to act, the independent regulator Ofcom will be able fine them up to 10 per cent of their annual worldwide turnover or can block them from being accessible in the UK.
Bosses of these websites could also be held criminally liable if they fail to cooperate with Ofcom.
There are widespread concerns this is impacting the way young people understand healthy relationships, sex and consent.
Half of parents worry that online pornography is giving their kids an unrealistic view of sex and more than half of mums fear it gives their kids a poor portrayal of women.
Age verification controls are one of the technologies websites may use to prove to Ofcom that they can fulfil their duty of care and prevent children accessing pornography.
The new standalone provision ministers are adding to the proposed legislation will require providers who publish or place pornographic content on their services to prevent children from accessing that content.
Digital Minister Chris Philp said: “It is too easy for children to access pornography online. Parents deserve peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see.
“We are now strengthening the Online Safety Bill so it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children.”
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