Technology

According to a study, one in three children has viewed content online that is not appropriate for their age

SEVEN in 10 children believe the internet is not a safe place – but continue to engage in potentially dangerous online situations.

Although 60 percent of teens aged 8 to 13 said they need to be careful when using social media, 29 percent have disclosed personal information and a third have posted pictures of things they own in group chats.

A third of children admit they watch content online that they know may not be appropriate for their age

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A third of children admit they watch content online that they know may not be appropriate for their ageCredit: PA

And nearly four in ten (37 percent) said they play games where they don’t know the players they interact with.

While 32 percent admit they’ve seen content they know may not be appropriate for their age.

Another three in ten use the same password for everything on the web – with 22 percent sharing logins with friends.

The research was conducted by EE who created the PhoneSmart License – a free online program giving young people the tools and confidence to stay safe and friendly online.

Mat Sears, BT and EE’s Corporate Affairs and Communications Director, said: “With internet use more popular than ever, it is not surprising that children who have grown up in a world of technology are unaware of the potential dangers that come with it .

“There needs to be more for children about online safety because parents don’t necessarily have all the tools or knowledge to teach children anything themselves.

“Getting your kids to understand the dangers of being online is the first step in ensuring they have a healthy and safe relationship with you and what they do online.

“Developed in collaboration with experts from Internet Matters, the PhoneSmart License teaches children key components of phone safety, including online hate, digital wellbeing, online safety, and digital and media literacy, through four modules.”

More than half of the 300 parents surveyed with children aged eight to 13 said they were aware their child had accounts on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

But one in ten did not know what age limits these sites have and it might be illegal for their child to use them.

It found that 43 percent make a conscious effort to monitor all of their child’s online activities, from cell phone use to online gaming platforms and social media.

Almost two-thirds say they take steps to protect their child from online dangers (64 percent).

Talking to their kids about the dangers, limiting their use of websites, games and social media, and using safety blockers were the top things parents do to keep their kids safe.

The study also found that 46 percent of children who believe the internet is safe do so because it has never harmed them or anyone they know.

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Another 43 percent consider it normal for children to use the internet and go online.

Of the kids who took part in OnePoll’s poll, 49 percent said they would feel left out if they weren’t allowed to use the internet, 47 percent would be disappointed, and 36 percent would feel “uncool.”

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “Even though the internet has become second nature to us and how we live our everyday lives, there is still a great need for resources like PhoneSmart to educate and engage young people with it they are prepared to manage the risks they might face in the digital world.”

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