In a shocking and disturbing revelation for many parents, NSPCC said that half of the school children surveyed by the group admitted to seeing sexual, violent and other adult material on social media sites, apps and games. Not only this, almost 80 percent confessed breaching website rules by joining social media sites before reaching the minimum age of 13.
Bosses at National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are now requesting parents to seek out and monitor their children’s online activities. The findings have been revealed in the Net Aware guide, produced by the NSPCC in partnership with phone firm O2. It offers the UKs only parents’ guide to 50 of the most popular social media sites, apps and games young people use and is designed to help parents talk to their children about safe online social networking.
After speaking to 1,725 children and young people and more than 500 parents, the charity has uncovered the top five sites where young people have reported seeing inappropriate content.
Sickipedia tops the list with a staggering 100 percent of the children surveyed having visited the site, followed byChatroulette at 92 percent, Omegle at 89 percent, Ask.fm at 88 percent and Yik Yak at 74 percent.
Other sites where youngsters saw inappropriate content include Bin Weevils, Boom Beach, Deviant Art, Instagram, Facebook, KIK, Meet Me, Minecraft, Moshi Monsters, Pinterest, Skype, Snapchat, Tapped Out, Tinder, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, Whatsapp, and Youtube.
The charity said the figures highlight the shocking scale of exposure of nation’s youngsters to inappropriate content online and that not many parents are aware of it. Shaun Friel, NSPCC Schools Service Head for South West England, said:“In a world where an increasing amount of our time is spent online, it is only right parents should get the chance to learn more about keeping their youngsters safe on the web.”
Since 2011, the NSPCC’s schools service has been speaking directly to primary-age children across the South West about all forms of abuse, including online, teaching them how to stay happy and safe.
“But despite repeated calls for improvements in online safety, the Net Aware results have highlighted the scale with which children and young people are being exposed to inappropriate content on social media,” Friel added.
The society also highlighted the importance of parents opening up with their children about the web surfing and how to get help if they need it.
The NSPCC has called for all social networking accounts for under-18s to:
- alert children to the fact they are interacting with an adult,
- set profiles as private by default on at sign-up, ensuring location details are turned off
- provide suitable safety reminders to children when they communicate with new users, and before they are able to send images,
- be clear about how service providers will report safeguarding concerns to law enforcement or child protection services when necessary.