NSPCC & O2 Join Forces With Initiative To Help Parents

London to trial a major new scheme to help keep children safe online

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A scheme, which forms part of a new online safety partnership announced today between O2 and the NSPCC, will provide free interactive workshops in schools and workplaces from January 2016 to help parents brush up their digital skills and expertise.

Run by O2 tech experts, and NSPCC staff, the workshops will equip and empower parents with the skills they need to have impactful conversations with their children about how to stay safe online.

The partnership between O2 and the NSPCC aims to give parents the tools, support and information they need to help their children explore the internet safely.

Also launching today as part of the partnership is a dedicated new helpline designed to help parents to navigate the digital world safely. The free helpline will be staffed by NSPCC-trained O2 tech-experts who will be able to give parents the technical advice they need to get the most out of the internet, including how to set privacy settings and parental controls. And, importantly for the hundreds of thousands of children that contact ChildLine every year - O2 will also zero-rate ChildLine online, making it free for children and young people to get the help and support they need – even if they don’t have credit on their mobile phones.

The announcement comes as a survey of 2000 parents, including 442 from London, reveals that thousands of children are potentially missing out on vital online advice and support at a crucial time in their development.

The YouGov survey of parents of children aged 8 to 13 suggests a worrying ‘digital delay’ as parents may be postponing conversations with their kids about staying safe online. The findings reveal that although 91 per cent of eight year olds use the internet at least once a week, on average parents think that children should be at least nine before their parents tackle issues of online safety with them.

Ronan Dunne, O2 CEO said:"While the internet is driving economic growth and positively transforming the way we live and work, the simple truth is that, like the ‘offline’ world, the online world comes with risks attached. RAugust 27, 2015 has been made in ensuring young people receive practical online safety advice, our research and experience also suggests that more needs to be done to help parents, particularly those who don’t feel as confident supporting their children in the fast-changing digital world. That’s why today we are launching an ambitious partnership with the NSPCC to give parents free expert personalised advice to build their digital competence to help keep their children safe online. It is our hope that this partnership will help parents and their families to make the most of the wonders of the web, safely.”

NSPCC chief executive, Peter Wanless said: “Sadly we know that children up and down the country are struggling because of difficult experiences online. Thousands of young people contact us about issues such as online grooming, cyber bullying and after viewing sites which encourage eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. We need to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to protect themselves.

He continued:“This is a 21st century problem that will not go away and we need a real focus on teaching young people about staying safe on the internet which, is why we are joining forces with O2. Together we want to help parents recognise that for their children there is often no distinction between the online and offline world. Through our new helpline, workshops and online hub we want to encourage parents to learn more about what they can do to help keep their children safe. We hope that this partnership is just the start and that others will follow suit.”

August 27, 2015

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