Parents must do more to protect kids online

Remember how much fun we had with a hoop and stick?

Parents must do more to ensure their kids are safe online, the UK internet group ISPA says.

Web-savvy parents insist that their kids use the internet in a communal room, nag their children about being safe online, know who their children are talking to online, surf the net with their little treasures and ensure that their PC is tooled up with the latest online safety software.

However, research conducted by ICM on behalf of ISPA found that fewer than one in ten mums and dads employ these five key measures, raising concerns about the safety of kids online.

Said Jessica Hendrie-Liaño, the chair of the ISPA Council: "Although there is a great deal of awareness about online safety hazards in the UK, this research highlights a worrying lack of action by many parents to help children have a safer online experience. Only eight per cent of parents with children aged five to fifteen have implemented five of the most simple and important child safety guidelines."

And while much has been done by the government and industry to protect children, ISPA reckons parents must not be complacent and instead take an active role in their children's online activities.

Then again, research published earlier this year found that parental fears about the internet mean that children are not being given the information they need to behave safely and sensibly online.

Unfounded fears that children are meeting murderers online and that chatrooms lead to sexual abuse mean that real and more frequent dangers of web use are ignored. While blanket restrictions on internet use leave children unprepared and unable to protect themselves.

Last week the government announced a new radio and web advertising campaign warning kids of the perils of the internet. ®

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