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Parents warned about online safety issues

09 January 2017 - 11:48 by Simon Crisp

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The Children’s Commissioner for England has this week drawn attention to the fact that many young people are using the internet in a potentially dangerous way, exposing themselves and their parents to exploitation and fraud, according to BBC News.

In particular, Anne Longfield focused on the fact that kids may be handing over personal details without fully understanding the damage that can be done as a result of this type of activity. She argues that it makes sense to create a new body specifically to deal with the rights to privacy and security that young people should expect.

Longfield says that in many instances, children are not given adequate guidance when it comes to using the internet, instead being left to their own devices. So even with all the benefits that web access offers, there are concerns about the pitfalls that many youngsters can fall into so easily.

She argues for a change in the way that IT skills are taught in school, not only empowering students with the skills they need to succeed, but also with information that will help them become true citizens of the digital space.

When it comes to everything from signing up to services to carrying out safe shopping online, consumers of all ages can expect to receive a certain amount of protection in the law from unfair, improper or explicitly malicious activities. Longfield believes that more should be done to uphold these rights, not just through education and awareness but through government action.

Parents certainly have a responsibility to ensure that they monitor which services are used by their children and also explain to them precisely what is involved in their use of such platforms. This encompasses sites offering safe shopping online, social media solutions like Facebook and even online gaming.