Parents go back to school to learn about internet safety

The workshops will teach pupils and their parents about staying safe on the internet

More than four out of 10 teachers (41%) have given advice to parents about internet safety, as new research by BT and Unicef UK reveals that almost all teachers (97%) questioned in the survey said that internet safety is an issue facing children in schools today. 

Teachers’ biggest concern for their pupils is cyberbullying (79%), this is also the most frequent internet safety discussion parents have with teachers (71%).

The research found that whilst the majority of parents worry about their children accessing inappropriate content online (61%), more than half of parents (51%) allow their children to play on their computers unsupervised. Most parents (87%) have discussed internet safety with their children and of those that haven’t, 31% say they haven’t because they trust them, but more than one in ten (12%) say it’s because their child knows more about the internet than they do. 

BT and Unicef UK have partnered for a three year programme, ‘The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters’, where they host workshops on internet safety in schools. The programme is designed to help children, their families and teachers to use the internet safely and create a forum for open conversations about why and how.

Technology is changing every day, and teachers play a big part in educating children on the internet. It can be a scary place if children and parents don’t know how to protect themselves – JB Gill, former JLS member

Former JLS member, now farmer and The Right Click supporter, JB Gill, said: “It’s not surprising that teachers play a pivotal role for both parents and children when learning about staying safe online. Technology is changing every day, and teachers play a big part in educating children on the internet. It can be a scary place if children and parents don’t know how to protect themselves, and I’m in full support of the Right Click workshops.

“As a parent myself, I’m glad to hear the results of the research show that teachers are already talking to parents and children about internet safety and, if we can encourage everyone to talk more and be even more open through these workshops, then the internet world will be a safer place for children.”

Pete Oliver, commercial and marketing director, BT Consumer, said: “The internet is a powerful tool, especially for children. The time children are spending online is continuing to grow, particularly with children aged 8-11. This can be daunting for parents that aren’t necessarily digital savvy and most parents (94%) have worries about their children online. However, with the right knowledge, communication and parental controls in place, we can all ensure that the internet can be a safe place.”

So far, 9,866 children, parents and teachers have taken part in the workshops at Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting Schools, which put the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of their policies and practice. As a result, nine out of ten parents (90%) say they will talk to their child more about online safety. Almost all parents that attended the workshops now feel knowledgeable about the internet (96%) and are aware of the risks their children may face (98%). Nine out of ten parents (91%) are now also confident that their children are safer online.

The workshops are also valued by children, with three quarters (75%) saying they would talk to a trusted adult about staying safe online and around 90% saying they would now tell an adult they trusted if something upset them online.

Catherine Cottrell, Unicef UK Deputy Executive Director, said: “We’re working with schools across the country to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected and their rights are protected. The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters workshops empower children to become confident and responsible digital citizens, enabling them to enjoy the enormous benefits that the internet has to offer, with the help of parents and teachers.” 

The workshops also work to equip teachers and parents with the skills needed to help children to use the internet safely. They are encouraged to discuss online safety openly with children.

Since the launch of the BT and Unicef UK partnership in March 2014, 80 schools in disadvantaged areas have also been invited to join Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting School programme, as a direct result of BT funding. These schools – selected from areas across the UK including Liverpool, Glasgow, East Kent and Merthyr Tydfil – are provided with training, support visits and teaching resources, to help them embed children’s rights into their schools’ ethos and culture.    

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