The NSPCC is urging parents to talk to their children about being safe online as Wales marks Safer Internet Day.
The charity says more children have been going online during lockdown, with over a quarter of parents ‘more worried’ about what their child was doing or seeing online during lockdown than they had been before lockdown.
This year’s Safer Internet Day comes amidst coronavirus restrictions that mean families are continuing to spend extended periods of time at home and parents’ concerns about their children’s safety online are likely to intensify, the NSPCC says.
Kate Edwards, NSPCC Senior Online Safety Manager said: “With children spending more time online, learning and staying in touch with friends during lockdown, Safer Internet Day is an important event for us all to help keep kids safe.
“Social networks have been a lifeline for children during the pandemic but use of them does still come with risks.
“It’s important children have support from parents and carers through open and trusting relationship’s and regular conversations about what they are doing online.”
An NSPCC survey of 1,791 parents with children aged 8 – 13 years old found that 67 per cent of parents said their children were spending their time during lockdown gaming on games like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox.
It also saw almost two fifths of parents found their children video chatting on apps like Houseparty, Zoom and WhatsApp, with 43 per cent instant messaging on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
The survey also found that since lockdown was introduced, 72 per cent of parents found their children watching videos on places like YouTube and TikTok.
NSPCC advice on how to keep children safe online:
Talk, Explore, Agree and Manage online safety with your child – work together as a family to help keep your kids safe online;
Be flexible with the normal rules, such as how long your child is spending online, as we’re all going online much more during lockdown – but make sure you talk to your child about any new rules and remind them they can talk to you about anything they see or do online;
Talk to them about who they’re talking to;
Get familiar with video chatting and livestreaming;
Take online safety offline;
Get to know gaming – before you let your child use a new game, agree some rules around who they can play with and when;
Think about age and content ratings.