I was recently contacted by a representative from the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), and asked to take a photo with my children for the campaign, and to give them a statement of why I support the campaign for the press.
This is the photo we sent.
The Share Aware campaign is a campaign that the NSPCC has set up, to make children and parents more aware of what they shouldn’t be sharing online, and of the possible ramifications of this sharing.
On the NSPCC site they say “We tell our children to share but online it’s different. In fact sometimes sharing online can be dangerous. That’s why we’re asking parents to be Share Aware and keep children safe online.”
This is the video below that accompanies their campaign, and please if you have children who use any type of technology, let them watch it. I think its fantastic myself, and I have shown my children already.
I’m always very open with my children about so called ‘adult’ topics within reason, and I really do feel there are some things, such as stranger danger online that they need to know about!
Some parents do though, I know find it hard to know how to broach such a difficult subject, especially in a way that won’t scare your children too much, but the NSPCC video and website, are fantastic for this. Either let them watch it and leave it at that if you feel uncomfortable, or preferably discuss this with them, and let them know that they can tell you anything and discuss anything with them.
When myself and the majority of my readers were younger, our parents had to warn us about ‘stranger danger’ for the occasional stranger we may come across when we were on our own, but in today’s digital age our children who go online, are accessible to millions if not billions of strangers.
This is a scary thought I know, but there are things that you can do to minimize the risks! If they are on things such as xbox live, there are parental settings that you can use to stop them from talking to strangers, and things such as Twitter and Facebook really should be for those old enough to be sensible, and you should monitor who they are talking to. Look on www.nspcc.org.uk for more ideas on how to be more share aware!
The other thing to bear in mind, is that it’s not just stranger danger they need to be aware of! Sharing inappropriate images online, or even being online at too early an age when they may not be sensible about what they write, is opening them right up to the bullies and trolls of this world.
Several times in the press last year, I read about teenagers who had killed themselves due to face to face or social media bullying. I find it disgusting that so many people feel the need to torment others, but we as parents need to be aware of this, and as much as my children berate me for not allowing them a youtube account so that they can make their own videos for the world to see, I am proud to say that I have protected them by risking upsetting them and saying No.
Before taking our photo for the Share Aware campaign, I did of course tell my children to get changed out of their school uniforms with their school badge on.
However, as I told the lovely Sarah at Pirate FM Radio station today when she interviewed me about the campaign (I was very nervous, but she was fab) , a lot of parents don’t seem to realise that their children are putting photos of themselves on social media, with no restrictions over who can view them, WITH their school uniforms on which tells any weirdo who might like to know where they will be at certain times of the day.
Not only do these people then know where your child lives, but they then also have a conversation starter, and possibly a way of convincing these children that it is someone that they know that they are chatting to. We wouldn’t want our children to go up to a stranger in the street and tell them what school they go to, or where they live, or any other personal information, and yet by putting photos up with children in school uniforms, or standing near their homes with identifiable landmarks in the background, this is what is happening.
Please everyone support #ShareAware and if you are on social media, follow, like, share, retweet….anything really just to get more parents and children to see their video, and to look at the site, hopefully it can save a lot of future heartache, and help children to better protect themselves in the very adult digital world. Well done NSPCC!!
We are Share Aware, are you?