Parents more concerned about bad language and online trolls than grooming and child sexual exploitation

A poll found that parents and grandparents are more likely to be worried about their children being exposed to bad language and aggressive online trolls than grooming and child sexual exploitation. The findings come after the UK National Crime Agency has warned that sex offenders are increasingly using live-streaming services as an avenue for grooming.

The poll also found that 28% of parents and grandparents allow children to use online video streaming without supervision despite risks. They are also less comfortable talking to children about live-streaming which has become widely popular in children’s apps and games than about the risks of social networks. The most common worry was that of children being exposed to sexual imagery or pornography online.

Unsupervised internet use by children is widespread because for many parents, it’s the only way they can get anything done during the Summer Holidays. However, it is clear that parents need more information about the risks of live-streaming, and guidance on how to address the issue with their children.

Paul Whitman, general secretary of headteachers’ union NAHT, said that there are clear benefits and risks of easy internet access for pupils so it’s important to find the right balance. He said that “where internet safety is concerned, younger children should not be left to their own devices”. Schools and families need to work together to give young people the tools they need to navigate the internet safely and with confidence.

I definitely agree that children need to be aware of online dangers. This is another avenue that we as parents and educators have to be aware of, apart form the usual bad company that our children may get in contact with in their daily lives.

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