Children as young as eight giving out their personal details to people they meet online Children as young as eight giving out their personal details to people they meet online
Almost a third of children in the UK aged eight to 13 have given out personal details to people they’ve met online, according to... Children as young as eight giving out their personal details to people they meet online

Almost a third of children in the UK aged eight to 13 have given out personal details to people they’ve met online, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 children across the UK, commissioned by O2, also revealed their social media profiles contained potentially sensitive information, with almost a quarter displaying their email address and 8% showing their phone number. Seemingly innocent details such as pets’ names and the school they attend were the most frequently revealed.

In the Scotland, 175 children aged eight to 13 took part in the survey, with 29% revealing they had given out personal details online.

It was also found that children use YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Roblox the most out of social media sites and games. But just 37% of children feel their parents understand YouTube, with that figure dropping below 10% for Snapchat and Roblox.

The news comes as O2 and the NSPCC relaunch Net Aware, a website designed for parents to learn more about the latest apps, sites and games their children are using, along with technical and safeguarding tips.

The survey results also showed that parents are more likely to talk to their children about safety in the real world versus the online world.

While 82% of parents speak to their kids about wearing a seatbelt, and 81% tell children about the importance of saying no when they are asked to do something they’re uncomfortable with, just over a third of parents check who their kids talk to online.

Both, O2 and the NSPCC recognise that keeping children safe online can feel overwhelming for parents. Net Aware takes away the fear factor and encourage parents to have regular conversations with their children about their online lives.

Strictly Come Dancing presenter and mum of two, Tess Daly has teamed up with O2 and NSPCC to launch the Net Aware site.

She said: “I know how difficult the topic of online safety can be between parents and their kids. It’s our job as parents to do all we can to make sure our children know about staying safe online, and to make sure we have open conversations with them so they feel comfortable asking questions they might think seem awkward.

“The new Net Aware site helps you keep up to date on the latest social networks, apps and games children use, letting you know about their safety features and whether they’re age appropriate. It’s really helped me get a better understanding of how to talk to my kids about the online world. You’d talk to your child about not talking to strangers in the real world, and it’s really important to apply that to apps and games too.”

Ann Pickering – chief staff at O2, said: “As a mother, I was surprised to read that more than half of children are putting private information on their social media profiles. Apps and social media are a brilliant way of keeping in touch with friends and making you feel less alone, but it’s vital that as parents we understand the potential dangers and talk to our kids about them.

“We launched the Net Aware website with NSPCC so that parents can learn about the latest social networks, sites and games, and we’re very proud to announce that we’ve now expanded the platform with even more up-to-date advice, information and top tips from our O2 Gurus.”

Laura Randall, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online NSPCC, said:

“It is vital parents think of the online world in the same way as the real world. They wouldn’t send their child on a school trip without checking where they are going and who they are going with. The same level of scrutiny should apply to any app or game their child is using. That’s why we continue to work with O2 to provide the latest information for parents about the most popular apps, sites and games their children are using – all at their fingertips on one website.”

Photo Credit: NSPCC

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