EMBARGOED TO 2230 SATURDAY NOVEMBER 26 File photo dated 26/05/22 of a child using a laptop computer, as the Online Safety Bill is to be updated to criminalise the encouragement of self-harm, the Government has confirmed.

Safer Internet Day: Parents encouraged to plug online knowledge gaps

Parents are being encouraged to take advantage of online resources offering guidance around child online safety as campaigners mark Safer Internet Day.

It comes as new research from Virgin Media O2 and children’s online safety group Internet Matters found that more than half of parents (57%) were unaware that children were able to donate to content creators online.

Amid the rise in popularity of streamers and online content creators in recent years on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, 80% of parents admitted they did not think they knew enough about the industry despite a third saying their child was more likely to watch content from streamers than other forms of entertainment.

It continues a common theme among parents, who are often found to have concerns over keeping up with the latest online trends or how to best use new technology in order to keep their children safe.

Internet Matters and other groups have a wide range of guidance, tips and resources on their websites aimed at helping parents understand all aspects of the online world, as well as practical guides on how to set up parental controls on a range of devices and games consoles.

“Keeping children safe online is at the heart of what we do at Internet Matters, but the digital landscape is always changing and there are constantly new things for parents to learn and be aware of,” chief executive Carolyn Bunting said.

“Through our ongoing partnership with Virgin Media O2, we’re hoping to not just raise awareness around the streamer economy but also equip parents with the tools to ensure their children are protected.

“Our top tips are all straightforward and practical pieces of advice that we hope parents will be able to easily digest and take on board, even if they don’t consider themselves to be especially digitally savvy.”

Mobile operator Vodafone has also launched a new initiative for Safer Internet Day after its own research found that children’s digital skills and knowledge overtake their parents’ by the age of 12.

It has launched its own online parental control and safety setting resource base in response.

US tech giant Apple is also offering free classes to parents through its Today at Apple workshops, which run in Apple Stores and online, offering guidance on how to protect children using the safety features on their iPhone or iPad.

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