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Have you had 'the talk' with your children? (no... not that one); WITH YOUNGSTERS SPENDING EVEN MORE TIME ONLINE DURING THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS, INTERNET SAFETY EXPERTS SUGGEST WAYS PARENTS CAN DISCUSS THE RISKS WITH THEM are.

DEEP into the school summer holidays, many children will have chalked up much more time than usual on tablets, mobiles and computers.

Yet despite such a large chunk of children's lives being spent online, a worrying proportion of parents have never bothered to set up parental controls on technology.

More than a third (37%) of parents of four to 18-year-olds have no parental controls in place, according to a survey of 1,000 parents for Get Safe Online, an internet security awareness initiative set up by the Government, the National Crime Agency and Ofcom.

TALKING TECH IN ADDITION to some parents failing to use technology to help protect kids online, only half tell their children to steer clear of pop-ups or links online and a similar proportion tell their child what to do if approached by a stranger online. In addition, less than half (46%) talk to their child about what to do if they're bullied online.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, says: "Technology is now a given for children, but the online world changes so fast - we've seen that over the last few weeks with the mass uptake of Pokemon GO which now brings the online world into physical environments and a whole new set of risks.

"Our children are growing up to be extraordinarily tech-savvy, which does make it difficult for parents to keep control of what they're doing online."

INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT The research found that of the parents who do use parental controls, two thirds (66%) block their children from inappropriate content, almost half (46%) monitor their child's access to devices like smart phones and tablets and 43% use free parental controls offered by the four internet service providers (ISPs).

In addition, four in 10 (42%) will keep devices in places easily seen by the whole family and 40% will agree a list of appropriate websites with their child.

"It's promising to see parents are beginning to use a variety of measures to educate their children about online safety, by having open conversations with them about the potential risks and setting down clear rules - and also using technology controls," says Tony Neate.

"But over a third still aren't using the tools available to monitor usage, and more worryingly, not discussing online stranger danger."

He adds: "For all parents, technology can be a real blessing in keeping their children busy and entertained. But make sure you have clear conversations with children about the risks of being online as well as looking into some of the technology tools you can use to help. These tools are surprisingly easy to use."

TIPS TO STAY SAFE ONLINE GET Safe Online recommends parents take the following steps to protect their children online.

| Talk regularly with your child about their online lives.

| Don't be afraid to set boundaries and rules for your children from a young age.

| Try some of the technologies your child enjoys for yourself. | Talk to friends and family about how they keep their children safe online.

| Use parental controls on computers, mobile devices and games consoles as well as privacy features on social networks and safety options on search engines. Opt in to your ISP's family filters.

| Install reputable parental control software and apps to help ensure age-appropriate online activity and monitor your child's internet usage.

| Stay aware of changes in your child's behaviour or moods, as it may be a sign that your child is being bullied or abused online.

| Try not to rely purely on technology to keep your child safe online, instead use it to support you in setting limits and building a dialogue with your child.

| As your child grows up, make sure they're aware of the basics of online safety, such as not clicking on links in emails and instant messages, not turning off internet security programs/ apps and firewalls, and not revealing personal details.

| Visit getsafeonline.org for more details

CAPTION(S):

Get Safe Online's chief Tony Neate

With so much spare time, the summer holidays mean children are online more often than usual
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2016
Words:674
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