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How we can make internet safer for our children

The internet is a great source of information and a place for children to learn, develop new skills and play fun games.

However, we also know from our report, Digital Dangers, that the increase in internet use and new technologies brings risks for children and young people.

These include cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online grooming and communicating with strangers who may be searching for young victims.

Like other parents I worry about the dangers to children online. With smartphones, webcams, laptops and gaming consoles a part of most children's lives, it's never been easier for someone to contact them - friends as well as potential foes.

To help build awareness and promote safer surfing, the UK Safer Internet Centre launches its Safer Internet Day today - this year the theme is 'play your part for a better internet'.

Hundreds of organisations, including Barnardo's, are getting involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. It's essential that we all strive to make the internet a safer place and it's crucial that parents and professionals understand the technology children are using and who they're talking to online, so we can protect them from abusers pretending to be their friends.

Children and young people are never to blame for the abuse they suffer. Barnardo's strives to help them recognise warning signs of sexual exploitation so they can help to keep themselves safe.

Parents and professionals need to be more aware of technologies children use and talk to them about what they do online.

The Northern Ireland Assembly, industry and voluntary sector need to put in place measures to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation happening online.

And all schools should give children vital sex and healthy relationships lessons, so they're aware of the risks online.


Director, Barnardo's NI

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph