Safer Internet Day: Parents encouraged to fill online knowledge gaps

Teenage girl on laptop

Apple also offers free classes for parents that offer guidance on how to protect children using the safety features on their iPhone or iPad (Image: Unsplash)

Parents are being encouraged to take advantage of online resources offering guidance on keeping children safe online as campaigns mark Safer Internet Day.

It comes as new research by Virgin Media O2 and children’s online safety group Internet Matters found that more than half of parents (57%) were unaware that children could donate to content creators online.

Amid the rise in popularity of streamers and online content creators in recent years on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, 80% of parents admitted they didn’t think they knew enough about the industry, even though a third said their child were more likely to watch content from streamers than other forms of entertainment.

It continues a common theme among parents, who are often found worrying about keeping up with the latest internet trends or how to best use new technology to keep their children safe.

Internet Matters and other groups have a wide range of guidance, advice and resources on their websites aimed at helping parents understand all aspects of the online world, as well as practical guides on how to set up parental controls on a range of devices and game consoles .

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: In this photo, a teenage boy looks at the screen of a mobile phone on January 17, 2023 in London, England.  The Internet Safety Bill aims to introduce new rules for companies hosting user-generated content and for search engines, which will have tailored duties focused on minimizing the presentation of harmful search results to vulnerable users.  The content platforms should remove include child sexual abuse material, revenge porn, the sale of illegal drugs or weapons, and terrorism.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

More than half of parents (57%) were unaware that children could donate to content creators online (Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“Keeping children safe online is at the heart of what we do at Internet Matters, but the digital landscape is always changing and there are always new things for parents to learn and be aware of,” said CEO Carolyn Bunting.

“Through our continued partnership with Virgin Media O2, we hope to not only raise awareness of the streamer economy but also equip parents with the tools to ensure their children are protected.

“Our top tips are all simple and practical advice that we hope parents can easily digest and take on board, even if they don’t consider themselves particularly digitally savvy.”

Mobile phone company Vodafone has also launched a new Safer Internet Day initiative after its own research found that children’s digital skills and knowledge outstrip their parents by the age of 12.

In response, it has launched its own online parental control and safety setting resource base.

US tech giant Apple is also offering free classes to parents through its Today at Apple workshops, which run in Apple Stores and online, offering guidance on how to protect children using the safety features on their iPhone or iPad.

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