Live webchat with Tanya Byron about internet safety, Wed 24 Feb, 1pm

(136 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Feb-10 12:43:32

We're very pleased that Tanya Byron is our guest again. She'll be online from 1pm - 2pm this Wednesday, 24 Feb.

Tanya is a practising consultant in child and adolescent mental health who has two children of her own. She's the author of three books and a well-known broadcaster.

Ahead of the chat, Tanya has sent us this to post on her behalf:

I really enjoyed my last webchat on Mumsnet and found the the questions and insights really interesting.

I have recently been asked by Gordon Brown to review internet safety since my Safer Children in a Digital World report (the Byron review) in 2008.

To ensure my review takes in parents' views, I'm really keen to get Mumsnetters' perspectives on both the opportunities that you think the internet gives your children and also the risks you've encountered.

I'd like to chat about anything to do with internet safety, but to get your thoughts flowing, a few starting points could be:

Is there enough information which is easily accessible about internet safety?

Where do you get your information and advice on internet safety?

How good are schools at educating children about internet safety?

What do you think about internet safety in the context of videogames, games consoles and mobile phones?

Look forward to chatting to you on the 24th!

LeninGrad Mon 22-Feb-10 13:20:07

Any chance of a summary of the key findings from the 2008 review?

ChristinePrattsDog Mon 22-Feb-10 13:20:41

do you know
i find it hard to care that much about it.

ChristinePrattsDog Mon 22-Feb-10 13:21:48

schools are obsessed by it im(prof) e.
kids are convinced that there are weirdy beardys around every corner and are slightly hysterical about it. ( age 11)

thenn age 14 wiht parental consent post youtube videos of them lipsyncing to camera in skimpy tops

i blame the parents not the interweb

LeninGrad Mon 22-Feb-10 13:48:36

The only thing I'd prefer is if kids didn't use their real names and if teenagers didn't post dodgy pics or videos that they may regret in years to come.

Why have we lost the fashion for nicknames?

Lulumama Mon 22-Feb-10 13:57:21

I adore St Tanya of Byron, me and Schneebly went to hear her speak at Edge Hill University last year. She answered my question . Also had great shoes grin

Anyhoo, to the matter in hand...

I think it is as has been pointed out, incumbent on parents to keep a close eye opn things and bec interenet/ tech savvy themselves

i imagine lots of kids can find a way round parental controls etc as they know more than their parents

I also thikn the hardest thing is to impress upon children, particularly young teens, that they don't know it all, that they don't know best and that posting dodgy pics on facebook/bebo/youtube can very well come back and bite you on the bum

i think mobile phones with camera/video facilities and internet have a lot ot answr for !

DS is 10.5 and has a PS3 with an online facility where you can use a head set to chat to people, it has been drilled into him what he can /can't say and i am usually drifting about keeping an eye and ear out. DD is 4 and has no interest at all in computers yet

Children using PCs unsupervised, in their rooms, with the door closed, is a recpe for disaster. parents have to take responsibility, i think parents and children need taking in hand on this

we had a newsletter home from school about internet safety , first we've had, it is a primary school but i think it needs to start early, as by the time they're at seniors, with their mobile/laptop etc.. they need to know who is out there

canariesfansmum Mon 22-Feb-10 14:18:50

I agree I think we (schools and parents) need to start early to educate children (and parents!) about how we can keep safe online.

I have 2DS, 7 and 5 and one DD, 1, and I'm just starting to feel like I need more information about how best to make sure my children have a safe online experience- like I do for a real life experience. I want them to have fun and get to know what "normal" is like so that when something "bad" happens they will be able to react quickly- but how to do this online? I don't have the experience of growing up with it to draw on?

So far just keeping the computer downstairs, refusing to buy a webcam, and they are too young for mobiles with cameras but I'll have that bridge to cross when we get to it! They have DS Lite consoles but I have no idea if these can be used on line- luckily neither do they!

Lewisfan Mon 22-Feb-10 18:14:00

I also love Dr. Tanya Byron - her Tiny Tearaways programme helped me immensely as a single parent; Rapid Return literally saved my sanity.... although I think 100 returns in 3 hours was rather excessive LOL!

Anyway, to topic:

My son's school had a Safety Week recently and in that they covered everything from the green cross code to internet safety.

The children were shown how to keep safe - using fake names and all the usual about "don't tell anyone your age, location, details" etc and also shown how to use Hector the dolphin (you click Hector and he covers up any scary pages you may find until an adult can come and deal with it).

DS really took it on board, although it seems to have gone awfully deep as he keeps telling me that talking to people on Mumsnet is dangerous because they're strangers!

The parents then had an information evening where we were shown how to use and where to find Hector and all the other usual things you'd expect - stats about how much kids use computers, how many are unsupervised (this was school specific stats though) and how to help children if you think they're getting addicted to sites and games. It was very useful - a council run scheme called something like Know It All - not sure exactly...

The internet is such a good resource for children - from gaming at 3 years old on Cbeebies to homework and even SN support (although not specifically for SN). My son has found it incredibly useful and enjoyable.

I have spoken to DS about his personal safety as he wanted to sign into the Top Gear Turbo Challenge magazine website and needed an ID - he chose something completely random which I was impressed about and understood why.

Now all I need to do is convince him that Mumsnet is safe grin!

Lewisfan Mon 22-Feb-10 18:15:32

oh I forgot to say - DS is 7 and was 6 when he did the Safety Week

fidelma Mon 22-Feb-10 21:07:07

I love the sound of saftey week.We keep the computers downstairs in public areas of the house.

DD1 10 will get a phone after the summer as it helps the school when activities are change.I would not of bothered yet but school seem to like it at this stage.I am not mad on then having acess to the internet on their phones.

I do know of a 6 year old who googled bunny toys shock

Tanya love all you work, you seem very sane and lovely.Keep up the good work.

MagicMountain Mon 22-Feb-10 21:46:04

My son's school gets them to sign an internet contract which gives them dos and don'ts of going online in class with the expectation that these principles also operate within the home. He is eight but I'm sure that in a few years time he might break some of those rules.

I am astounded at how much pornography and violence there is online and especially by the fact that it is so freely and readily available. I might have to have a conversation about these aspects of the net in a few years, but then again, those might be conversations to have regardless of the technology. Perhaps these things need to be talked about in the context of sex and social education rather than just in terms of the internet.

Rhubarb Tue 23-Feb-10 10:59:19

I still think more could and should be done by the owners of sites to keep children safe.

I showed my dd and ds just how easy it was to get into a childrens chat site. It was a free site called MoshiMonsters, for some of it you had to pay but you could chat for free. I chose my monster, put my age in as 5 and gave them my email address. Then all I had to do was click on the validation email and I could chat away as a 9yo girl.

I think that taught them just how easy it was for anyone to get onto these sites aimed at kids.

It should be made more difficult. The BBC insist that you also include your parents email address, they then send a parent an email informing them that their child has signed up to their sites. Not infallible I know, but it's a step in the right direction.

juneybean Tue 23-Feb-10 11:04:09

I run a forum for an old computer game which has long gone out of date in terms of its features. However the members stick around because we've built up a community, the members aged from 13 years upto 60 years.

Do you think it's of any benefit to children to be a part of such communities much in the same way their parents are a part of this community?

Lymond Tue 23-Feb-10 11:06:48

Agree with others that schools are obsessed with it. We've had to sign internet safety contracts with our children for school, though they are only 5 and 7. School has also run events teaching parents about internet safety.

Our main strategy is not letting them be on the internet alone. At the moment this is quite easy, as all they like doing is cbeebies games, or school homework research.

I can imagine as they get older this could be harder, but we plan to continue this. I think some parents (such as my sister, who lets my 10 your old niece go online unsupervised) are too relaxed.

Lewisfan Tue 23-Feb-10 16:24:08

tbh I'm going to be terrified as DS gets older - not enough to stop him using the internet, but enough - because I was "groomed" as they call it and my life took one hell of a turn for the worse...

It's so easy to say "I will watch my kids online" but you can't / won't sit over their shoulder at 16/17 and watch what they're chatting about on MSN and in chatrooms (that you've previously OK'ed)... it's down to the teenager by then and it's mighty easy to fall into traps

mrspoppins Tue 23-Feb-10 20:05:53

I have a 17yr old girl and a 12yr doing a levels and one just in Grammar school.
We have a computer downstairs, one TV, one nintendo and a playstation 2 (which comes out at Christmas for sing star!!!)
The 17 yr old got a lap top with internet access for her bedroom for her 17th birthday.She has no TV nor any computer games and we discussed this with her when she was 12 and said it was going to be that way and gave her the reasons that we wanted her to sleep hard during the week for school and still join us downstairs to watch TV.She used to watch TV from 8-9 then up to bed and lights off at 10 until she turned 17 when she pretty much stays in her room now but that is normal and lights are off at 11.

The 12 yr old can have TV from 7-8 or computer from 7-8 and then gets ready for bed and chats with us and lights off at 9.
We have parental control settings on the computer and if anyting is barred, she asks us to unlock it and we always have done so far as there has been no reason not too...the settings are a little too strict.

We have no computer games through choice as we were concerned as to the effect they would have.

We do have a webcam for the girls to chat to friends and they are NOT allowed to chat to anyone who hasn't a web cam as they are then absolutely guaranteed to be talking to who they think they are.

I would like to see all sites where chat is available insisting this. They are reasonably priced and even I, a complete computer dork, can install it.There would be no way you could have an adult posing as a child then.

Phones for children should not be able to access the internet in my opinion as I wouldn't be able to control that. Both my girls got mobiles when they went to secondary school as they take themselves there and back and look after themselves at home until we return.They werebasic ones. The eldest got a super dooper one for Christmas because of her age.

I cringed this week when I heard a Mother talking about her son playing call of duty...he's 9 and she was complaining about how argumentative he was...give me strength!

RTKangaMummy Wed 24-Feb-10 00:37:40

I have a nearly 15 year old son who goes on FACEBOOK but I am very angry and upset by the changes that FACEBOOK have made to the privacy settings

He used to be invisable to everyone even friends of friends but now he is able to be seen ~ I know it is only part of his profile but I would like it to return to how it was last year

Is there any way you know of that could make FACEBOOK in UK go back to how it was last year? Perhaps Gordon could ask them?

All his settings and notifications come through to my email account and I check his page daily

I would also like the settings for privacy to be returned to how they were before for my facebook account.

He has the laptop with a wired connection in the sitting room plus the settings have been set to only let him log on between 6am and 9pm ~ when there is always someone else around. I am the administrator {password protected} on his laptop so I control all the settings etc.

BelfastBloke Wed 24-Feb-10 07:09:18

I found this article, The Three Facebook settings every user should check now, very useful.

Previous to that, I had had no idea how radically Facebook had lowered our privacy settings. But I had noticed that I was able to view the photos of people I am not friends with.

heQet Wed 24-Feb-10 08:14:27

imo, the ONLY way to keep children safe on the internet is for parents to supervise them while they're on it!

Nothing else is 100% safe. It's not.

If your child has the computer in their bedroom, if they access it on their mobile, then you have little if any real control over what they access.

The internet is too big for it to be made 'safe', that's never going to happen and we have to face the reality of that.

It's not the internet's responsibility. It's not the government's responsibility, it's not teachers' responsibility, it's our responsibility, as parents. Sure we can be supported by the government, by internet 'rules' by re-enforcement in schools but make no mistake - the buck stops here. With us. It's our job, just like teaching our children to cross the road is our job. If I'm walking along the road with them, I don't let them wander off and say well, the government should teach them how to cross the road, their teachers should teach them road safety so if they get knocked over, it's the schools fault... No, that would be insane. The safety of our children is our job, first and foremost.

The only way to make it safe for individual children is for parents / guardians to have the computer in the living room and only allow the kids on it when they're there. Password it! Take control. Teach them how to use the internet safely and don't allow them to use it without you until then.

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 08:36:55

It's all very well if you have started as you mean to go on and been super-strict from the off, but I have trusted my dd(13) with certain levels of privacy and independence- she has a tv in her room, for example. She doesn't have her own computer yet, but given how much schoolwork is web-dependent, how do I make sure she is safe if she is doing research on the internet? I have always had computers in the family room so far, but realistically she will need some peace and quiet to complete GCSE coursework etc. What are your top tips for keeping Teenagers safe online, please, Dr. Byron?

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 08:38:10

A large problem that I find now is the huge amount of work that schools request is done on the computer. Whether it be research or online tests or the neat presentation of work. It is not possible to be able to supervise a child for 2 hours whilst they do their homework and it would also be an impossible situation to expect that the homework was done on the computer in the living room where they may be others reading or chatting or watching TV.Not only could the children not concentrate, hearing the keys bash bash bashing would also drive other family members crazy. Children need to be trusted but that trust can be earned by good computer behaviour.

It would be better though not to have to do so much work on the computer for school work in the first place. Let children learn to write, neaten their writing and speed their writing ability up in addition to learning how to spell words and not rely on spell check and auto change.

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 09:15:22

My DD is only 2yo, so I'm not worrying about these things too much in regard to her at the moment, but last year I attended a child safety training at work that focused on the internet and it was very worrying.

The trainer made the point that adults now remember all of the 'don't go off with strangers', 'don't play on the train tracks' and other safety messages that were drummed into us, but because the internet is still so new, we're not as on board with internet safety messages. It's great to hear that parents and children are being given pointers on how to be internet safe - Tanya is this going to be/could it be standard from now on for all children and parents?

I also worry about mobile phones, with easy access to pornography via the internet, being able to send images and films like 'happyslappings' and the ability to cyberbully - how can we keep our children protected from this kind of thing?

Could/can phone companies still sell basic phone models that don't have cameras/internet access, or be able to adjust settings if parents want to limit what children can use their phones for?

I know eight year olds who were give mobile phones for Christmas 'to keep them safe' - I think it could actually be putting them more at risk if they and their parents aren't savvy.

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 24-Feb-10 10:05:00

I don't have the first clue about internet safety; and, as the parent of a 2 year old, realise that I'm going to have to find out fairly sharpish.

Admittedly it wold be an administrative nightmare, but I would love there to be some sort of rating system for websites in the same way as there is for films, with password access which could be set by the parent. Also with functionality which meant that the sites with adult content did not even pop up on search engines.

Not being particularly youthful anymore, I started out with a natural reluctance to put anythng on tinternet that might identify me to a wider audience. I have somewhat overcome this to be able to post on helpful sites like mumsnet, but still have a strong sense of privacy and discretion which I think probably stands me in fairly good stead, and which I will try to instill into DD.

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 10:14:02

You could also have a list of websites that you are happy with.this for example or this
this is a book with a list

and this too

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 24-Feb-10 10:14:13

Last night DD aged 12 and her friend were making a film on imovie about renewable energy. Some homework project. Within a very short time they had got masses of research, current info, a broad variety of fab images, accessed music via itunes etc etc. The end product is brilliant
<preen on their behalf>

The internet is such an amazing tool - let us never lose sight of that. We surely must agree on that point?

But I do believe that too much access is given when children are too young, but more so by naive parents who really don't know about the products (and their capability) they are giving their children. In an earlier post a parent says they do not know if their child's DS can go online. Surely that is a good example - giving a child a piece of equipment and not knowing its potential? We need to ensure that we know, and that we talk to our children openly.

As parents we spend so much time worrying about so many issues. Maybe because parents aren't so computer savvy, and don't understand the technology involved, they let it go. Plus there is a lot of pressure from their children to have the latest thing. It is a bad combination and the consequences can be dire. We are fortunate that in our family our DC will honestly never know more than we ( actually DH grin) know.

We the parents need to make sure we understand what we are giving to our children and take responsibility for teaching them to be safe online with this supported and backed up by the education system.

SexyDomesticatedDad Wed 24-Feb-10 10:40:24

Dr Tanya is very **, IMHO, and she also has very simple clear and direct messages about how we should be parenting.

I do think that modern technology is a double edged sword - many, many benefits but needs to be used wisely. Do not agree with letting primary school children have a mobile at all. Even at secondary they should be limited as the temptation to abuse using them is too great and probably too disruptive for classrooms.

Computer access - need to ensure filters and safety etc is built in and certainly for younger ones (primary) to have fully supervised access - secondary becomes more of an issue and trust needs to be established with clear guidelines.

Console use - we limit ours and they ask to use them - when cousins come to stay they are [hmmm] as to why they need to ask 'cos they get to use them whenever they want.

There is no magical formula and each family is different but on the whole need to work with schools and hom,e to get a good balance between fun and safety.

Elsewhere Wed 24-Feb-10 10:43:11

For me & my kids internet safety is like learning to cross the road. You need the comprehension to understand the risks and steps to take to avoid them on the information superhighway.

You need to hold their hand in the beginning and watch out but when they're able then let them manage online.

My eldest is 12 and I always ask her about what happened. She's not on facebook or any social sites yet as we're following the age requirements. She watches me on the pc & I talk her through dealing with spam, unwanted adverts, people we don't know, what to do when something she's not expecting comes up.

Interested to read this discussion

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 12:35:20

Personally, I think the Internet Safety campaigns are coming at it from the wrong angle. I worked for ISPs for many many years and understand exactly how it all works and as far as I know there is absolutely no 100% guaranteed way to stop unsuitable content for children......the technology simply does not exist. ( I don't worry about the facebook element - as others have said - that is about education and teaching them about who might be there - as in real life)

But what bothers me immensely is the access to horrific pornograhic images (verging on rape, rape, humiliation of women, 'filling all holes', gang bangs etc) because this seriously warps minds especially of teenagers. So, what I would like to see is more campaigning to stop the absolutely vile and essentially illegal material on the internet. And people say there are not anyways to do this, but that is absolutely not true. One of my very good friends is the head of Internet Abuse at one of the very big ISPs and he works 20 hours a day, because they won't employ enough people to do it, because essentially they don't care because they don't have to, because no-one is campaigning effectively to control this content.

It CAN be controlled, but at the moment, there is very little effort put into it, and the Internet Watch Foundation, which is responsible for controlling content is a BLOODY CHARITY ! This is not a charitable purpose - it is a LEGAL requirement!

Rant over ! To summarise - I think Facebook etc are fine for the youngies - that is what is good about the internet. However, the content that is available to young people (which can never be 100% blocked) is unacceptable and needs tackling with vigour !

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 12:44:18


BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 12:54:13

Ooh exciting! Welcome Dr Tanya smile

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 12:57:22

I must clarify my point after re-reading - it is not 100% possible to block content to their PCs, however it is possible to block content further up the chain at ISP level. And more should be done to do this - IWF is just not enough !

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Feb-10 12:58:29

We're very pleased to introduce Tanya for her third visit to mumsnet - welcome Tanya ...

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 12:59:10

Hope you realise I am missing the House of tiny tearaways for this!!!grin
hmmMust get a lap top!

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:02:30

Hello everybody, it's really good to be here, thank you so much for agreeing to have this discussion with me. Sorry you're missing House of Tiny Tearaways for this!

I'm currently looking at the way we manage risk and opportunity for kids on the internet and will be publishing a paper to Government at the end of March and want the views of parents to form a key part of my recommendations - that would mean you all!

RTKangaMummy Wed 24-Feb-10 13:02:45

My DS is nearly 15 and has a mobile that does have the mobile internet function BUT it is on PayandGo and the internet has not been activated cos I set it up and didn't want him having internet on his mobile

So if you have a child with a mobile that has the internet function on DON'T ACTIVATE IT

He understands why he doesn't have internet on his phone and is ok with that


Thanks for the link to the FACEBOOK stuff but I have done all those settings on his profile and mine but they are still not invisible

He has a nickname as his profile name and mine is set as a nick name for my first name and then my maiden name so we are quite annonymous.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:03:32

Lulumama, thank you for you really great question about helping kids understand the long-term implications of what they post online. This is called a “digital footprint” and as we know, there have been some reports of employers looking at social networking sites etc in order to see people’s general conduct and behaviour. When it comes to kids, who are clearly not thinking about the long term implications, we need to help them understand that what they post could form people’s opinions about them in a way that they might one day regret. In addition, particularly for our kids who are on social networking sites, we need to ensure that their safety settings are set to “privacy” so that photos of them with their mates having fun won’t be seen by anyone unless they want them to see it.

My ds(3) and dd(6) both use the internet to play games either on nickjr, cbeebies or our facebook. The computer is in the living room so we can always see what they are doing , but we have no idea about how to set parental controls. I know I would not allow them to have their own FB page until they are at least at secondary school and the computer is staying in the living room where we can keep an eye on them.
My dd has no social awareness in RL I definately wouldn't trust her on-line, but I appreciate that every childs different and some are more sensible / aware than others.

What is the best way for us as parents to start discussing internet safety with her?

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:04:13

Lulumama, I agree with you that online safety should be discussed with children as soon as they start to use computers/gaming consoles/mobile phones and this definitely needs to begin in primary school. However, I think that the safety messaging needs to be embedded within a broader thinking about what it is to be a digital citizen, which includes all the positive opportunities and benefits of the online world as well as understanding and managing risks.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:04:40

Canariesfansmum, you are very honest when you point out that we as adults are often clueless about the technology our kids are using because we didn’t grow up with it. However, we need to clue ourselves up if we are giving our children technology to use. The DS Lite console can be used online but you can lock that off and it’s probably best that you do before your kids start to go online and play with people that you don’t know about. For more general information search “Click Clever Click Safe” where you will receive information about key safety messages you should be discussing with your kids. I also recommend Childnet International’s educational CD-ROM “Know It All” – there is a version for parents and also a version for schools. Why don’t you encourage your school to order it in to have sessions with parents and children about these important issues?

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:05:14

Lewisfan, thank you for highlighting how important it is for children to be given internet safety information from a young age – your DS was 6 when he did safety week, and it sounds like he left being extremely knowledgeable. It also sounds like he might have been a little bit scared by some of the messages as you say that he now advises you that talking to people on Mumsnet is dangerous! Joking aside though, I think it is very important that when we educate our children about internet safety we balance the messages so that we don’t leave them too afraid to enjoy the incredible benefits and opportunities of the online space.

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 13:05:25

That is why what is actually available on the internet is such a problem, RT - they can access horrific porn very quickly nd there is no way of blocking it personally 100%!

What is being done to stop this sort of content on the web? It is not about freedom of information etc. it is about legalities - surely it is not legal to show rapes etc?

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:05:40

What about schools via the Dept of Education giving each family a web safe book with all the info we need?

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:07:58

Elsewhere, your analogy with crossing the road is a really good one. We now have the SCREEN CROSS CODE which is "Zip it, Block it, Flag it" which you can find by searching on "Click Clever Click Safe" and this will give you a similar approach to teaching kids the fundamentals about online safety in the same way as the Green Cross Code taught us the fundamentals of offline safety.

Do you think more effective/ workable to have a team 'demonstrating' safety? ie a team that deliberately pretends to be some one else and then at the end of the excercise is out to see how easy it is to be reeled in. Experience is far more effective than speach?

speech even!

Spidermama Wed 24-Feb-10 13:10:16

Hi Tanya,

I think we really need a social networking site which caters for those between Club Penguin and Facebook ages. It needs to be ultra safe and heavily moderated.

I would be very happy to pay a subscription for just such a service and I'm frankly quite surprised that I haven't found one.

Is there such a thing?

If not, how can we make it come about?

Social networking is a fantastic tool.

should read 'at the end of the exercise is exposed to show how easy it is to be reeled in. My poor dyslexic brain!

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:13:25

LadyBlahBlah, you come from a position of experience. I really appreciate your candour. I think you are right to make the point that there is no 100% technological solution to keeping children safe and away from adult material online. As you point out, the Internet Watch Foundation works with ISPs to block child abuse images and is very effective at doing so. The other content you refer to e.g. pornographic content, if not illegal then would not be blocked and there are very powerful arguments for why this should be that belong within the censorship/freedom of speech debates. However, as a parent myself, I agree that this material is entirely inappropriate for young people to view and we need to take all the steps we can to manage this. This would be robust filters + clear rules about going online + PCs for younger children in communal areas + setting individual profiles etc etc. At the end of the day however, it comes down to how we parent our children and this is about understanding risk, managing risk and knowing who to talk to if something goes wrong.

donnie Wed 24-Feb-10 13:13:26

Tanya, I have two daughters aged 8 and 5. Neither of them are really into using computers yet but I assume their interest will grow as they get older. I am interested in whether you feel there are different types of risks more specific to each gender and if so, what they are and at what age they start to become problematic? thanks.

Saltire Wed 24-Feb-10 13:13:28

My 2 Dses 9aged 10 and 12) haven't got facebook, despite their protestaions. I was very shocked though when I discovered that friends of theirs and neighbours children had FB pages, open to everyone which listed schools, mobile numbers etc.
I am lucky in that DH has done a lot of computer security as part of his work so ahs made the DSes very aware of things.
However their friends, we can't be sure they have. For example one 11 year old (one of the children whose FB pages I saw) last summer showed all the children on the street hard core porn images on his phone, which he had downloaded from the itnernet, or his older brother had sent him. he was offering to send them to DS1 via bluetooth. When I confronted his aprents they said "well what can we do, we can't stop him on the internet".

I think all aprents should take care to regulate what their children can or can't see, and I think that schools should offer advice/training to parents to help some of them out

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:14:18

My daughters go to a school where they are given their homework via Education City - I have always said nothing beats pen and paper but I guess its easier/cheaper/more convenient for schools to send homework out this way....if a child doesn't have internet access at home they are given something different so the pressure is on for all kids to have internet access at home....

It is all too easy for kids to fall out with their friends on the internet too - MSN for word can be so easily misunderstood and that's it, world war 3 has broken out at school the following day.

I watch my kids when they're on the internet - fortunately we have a laptop and I insist they use it at the kitchen table and I hover....I don't allow them to download anything, add anyone to MSN conversations or play any games on the computer without my prior knowledge.

The biggest danger lies with kids who have access to the internet and are shut away, in their own rooms, with no parental guidance...

donnie Wed 24-Feb-10 13:14:48

btw spidermama I agree with you about a networking site for that age group.

ButterPie Wed 24-Feb-10 13:16:20

My children are both under three, and I would like to introduce to the internet gently. Up to now, the two year old uses the cbeebies website and the webcam, both under supervision, but, as she gets more independent, what is the best way of keeping her safe?

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:18:55

Spidermama, you are right to highlight the lack of social networking provision for 8-12 year olds which means that many children of this age group are on established social networking sites despite the fact that they are under 13 years old - the age within the SNS acceptable use policy that they should be. Many parents are not aware of the 13 year age limit and also may not be aware that their children are social networking which means that they are not talking to them about issues such as not giving out personal details, setting privacy settings etc and this is where problems can arise for a child who may be targeted by someone older. There are some school systems that work on the basis of communication between kids, teachers and parents, although many children would be reluctant I expect to freely social network in a space that is heavily populated/moderated by adults. You raise a difficult issue and it's something that is being debated within the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and at a European level.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:20:18

Can I ask you all a question? Are you aware of the child internet safety issue becoming more thought about and talked about in recent years. And if so, why do you think this is?

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 13:21:57

Thanks for the reply.

I'm afraid I only agree to a point. I don't agree that parents are solely responsible for what is accessible on-line. I have had the unfortunate experience to see the way porn is organised on the web, and currently parents have no hope in blocking access to porn FULLSTOP. That is unless every under-16 has no internet access at all, because there will always be a friend with the access (a bit like the dirty magazine found in the woods and then passed around analogy)

I think (and know)there is a lot of material that verges on illegal - and if it isn't then there is a huge debate there (at what point is gratuitous rape not a problem for us?).

If you have the government's ear, this is the main problem. Porn is a massive industry for the web and has huge influence but ultimately if we are talking about web safety - there is nothing parents can practically do about this - the argument starts much further up the chain.
It is

donnie Wed 24-Feb-10 13:23:29

I am certainly more aware of it; there are quite a few incidents I can recall over the last 2 or 3 years where terrible things have happened as a result of children being targetted by adults posing as someone else on networking sites.

I am also worried about the availability of Jihadist material and the grooming of vulnerable children into religious fanaticism.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:24:52

whispywhisp, you make some really great points. I particularly like your comment about instant messaging and how this can cause real problems in friendship groups - this is particularly prevalent in primary schools. When we were kids, a cross word at the end of the day was usually forgotten the next day, however nowadays it gets inflated and blown out of all proportion by IM'ing. As parents we need to be aware of this and help our children understand how to communicate online especially helping them see how easy it is to be mean to someone when you're not face to face with them. I also think schools need to do assemblies about this. The organisation Beatbullying has their Cybermentoring scheme (I am president of this scheme) and they go into schools to help children think about and manage cyberbullying. Why don't you suggest this to your children's school?

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 13:24:55

It is talked about more, because access is now so freely available. 3G has only been useable for 2 years max, same goes for wireless. And ditto for broadband - it brought about an internet that was fast and accessible - this has all been in the past 3-4 years in any grand scale.

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:26:31

Us parents are faced with a bit of a dilema situation with the social networking sites's the 'done thing' to be on these sites, chatting to friends after school, during the eldest DD is 11yrs old so right within that age group where its deemed 'uncool' to not be on these sites...and whilst I do restrict how long I allow her on the computer I do also want her to be 'in' with her mates, iykwim!

MagicMountain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:28:08

I think I am more aware but a lot of the discussion/media attention relates to a wider and sometimes not altogether helpful reponse to paedophiles/grooming etc. We need to protect children from these risks, of course, by giving them a sense of responsibility, ensuring these safeguards but I still think there needs to be a wider discussion about the very dark side of the web, about other forms of sexual exploitation and violence which are not solely related to child protection. It doesn't have to be about pornography and the old censorship debate necessarily but certainly about sexuality/objectification etc.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:28:24

LadyBlahBlah, to continue our discussion, I agree that there needs to be robust debate in this area especially about the boundary between legal and illegal content. This is not an issue specific to child internet safety and it ties into a number of different obscenity laws. However, making this point is not a way of evading the important of tackling this issue and don't underestimate your own ability to influence debate either as an individual or as a collective voice.

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 13:30:28

Dr Tanya, how do you suggest we manage the ssue of older children and homework?

My daughter will be starting GCSEs soon, and there is a heavy reliance on typed homework and Internet research. It's just not realistic to expect her to work n a busy family area, and I want to get her her own laptop-do you have any advice?

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:30:38

re needing a place for children aged 8-12. I don't have a facebook account but have just signed up in a very basic way to put a suggestion in their suggestions section that they need to look into the problem of under 13yrs pretending they are older due to the peer pressure they experience once at secondary school when they are 11 to be able to communicate in this way.

I have asked them if a pre facebook site would be a viable project.

Why don't you get as many parents as you can to do the same...lots of voices shouting louder etc...etc...

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:31:44

As a general point it is interesting to me how quickly the discussion can turn to the darker side of the internet. I am not dismissing this for one minute and as a parent share those anxieties however I do feel that there are many constructive approaches we can take that will enable our children to become resilient and responsible online in the way that we do so in relation to how they live in the offline world. If we put our thinking in a place of risk and fear we are in danger of losing a proportionate and balanced approach to educating and empowering our children for their future citizenship in a digital world.

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:34:19

Cyber-bullying is a subject I feel particularly strong DD (11yo) moved schools a year ago due to being bullied at school, which all started with a text message from a friend...

The bullying escalated and ended up with Police involvement due to a boy in her year sexually harrassing her.

At their new school the Headteacher is currently putting a paper together about cyber-bullying...I last spoke to her about this only a few weeks ago because one of DD's friend's had put on MSN 'I am going to kill myself' due to some of her friends not talking to her on there....

I immediately notified the school and whilst this had nothing to do with my daughter I felt the school should be aware.

It takes one word, just ONE word to cause major problems between friends at school, which is precisely why I watch and listen when DD is on the laptop chatting to her friends. I have even told her 'don't type that, that could be misunderstood' but at just 11yrs old they can't see beyond the keyboard. I then explain why I don't think what she was about to type was suitable and she'll then reply..'oh yes, I can see why you told me not to do that, I never thought of it like that'.

We have been on the receiving end of bullying via computers/mobile phones etc's all too easy to type something that you wouldn't normally say/have the nerve to say face to face and its wrong, so very wrong.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:35:40

BitOfFun, I think we have daughters of the same age, have you just gone through the process of helping her choose her options? Anyway, I think you are right to consider that she has her own laptop and a private space to work. There need to be clear rules within the family about usage and you need to build a level of trust so that you aren't constantly monitoring her. It would be useful to talk about reliability of source when she does her homework research - what this means is that she cross checks thoroughly sites that she takes information from and does not just rely on the big Wikis for example. Also help her understand plagiarism and how copying and pasting is, in effect, illegal - she is stealing someone else's work. Also most schools have a system where they can filter out essays written by young people using cheatnotes or essay purchasing sites. I wish her well in her GCSEs!

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Wed 24-Feb-10 13:35:43

I know that my son's school put great emphasis on internet safety. They ask children how they can be safe, about how they use the internet (with adult permission), the sort of sites they are allowed to visit, and why it is important not to stray from those that parents/teachers allow (because they might see things they would not like to see). They are not allowed to perform google searches at the moment (explained as being because sometimes searches can bring up the things we shouldn't see or might scare us), although the school has a blocking facility. If they DO accidentally hit on something that they find scary or upsets them (or they think is so), there is a button they can click which brings up a cover page (until an adult sorts it out). They are also reminded not share passwords etc. SO I think the school is taking a very sensible and positive approach.
At home we limit their internet access to the sites we are happy for them to use (and it won't open sites linked to either). As they get older we hope to do as you say and remind them of internet safety. I feel it IS more difficult with older children tho, particularly those who can get round the blocking methods.

MagicMountain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:36:08

But to follow on from that discussion with LadyBlahBlah, doesn't the fact that the technology is there and enables access to this material mean that we should use the debate about internet safety to kickstart another broader conversation. Protecting your 8 year old is one thing but what happens when the child learns to navigate out of controlled areas, when they are 10 or 13 and become more curious about those fenced off areas?

A Penthouse magazine that is passed around in the playground is one thing but this is a whole new ball game.

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 13:38:21

Thanks DrTanya- they do sound the same age (what a joy that can be grin)

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:39:06

Can any of you tell me whether you have been aware of the recent Government campaign around internet safety CLICK CLEVER CLICK SAFE with the ZIP IT, BLOCK IT, FLAG IT icons and the posters featuring Uri and Lexi?

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:40:08

Let's not forget parents are also somewhat to blame for our kids being on computers so much...we set examples only have to watch tv to see that most disagreements in relationships (who has dumped who, you're not the father to my child, i slept with so and so) are all done via the internet/texts....and it is all too easy for parents to enjoy some peace and quiet with their kids happily on their computers....what worries me is those kids who are sat in their rooms, with their own laptops, not being supervised...some of DD's friends are still on their laptops at almost midnight - why? Do the parents know? I know they're on them because DD and I share the same email address so I can see who is still on and sending messages to her...sharing the same email address ensures I have full view of what she is doing and who is contacting her...

Saltire Wed 24-Feb-10 13:40:23

I hadn't heard of that campaign, but have googled it now that you have mentioned it

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:40:46

Dr Tanya...13:39 - my reply is no.

MagicMountain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:41:06

Only in media reports.

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 13:41:20

I agree - I think the internet is a fantastic resource and have absolutely no problem with social networking sites, think grooming is vastly over estimated and so long as you are communicating with your children, then you will very probably be fine.

The dark side I am talking about is currently an inevitable part of the internet that affects child /teenager mental safety, which is not spoken about quite enough. The risk of grooming / problems with the digital footprint is minute compared to the risk of your 12 year old accessing horrific sexual content that could significantly affect their mental well being. I am sure the research is in agreement that sexualisation at a young age is a threat to well being and future relationships.

I am in danger of sounding evangelistic about this, but having boys, this really really is a problem, and I don't think most parents have a clue what their children have accessed - they probably are not going to tell you this, even if your communication skills are proficient !

Amongst my techie friends who would know how to check properly (even with deleted histories), this has been shown to be a problem amongst almost all their teenagers.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:42:13

When I write this, I want to populate it with quotations that will make Ministers take notice and inspire the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to press on with good policy work. It can be within the realm of the larger debate around pornography etc or other less dark or even humorous thoughts. Please free associate now!

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 13:42:26

I'd never heard of that campaign either.

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:42:31

13.39 Not never heard of it

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:43:37

LadyBlahBlah, you make such important points, how can I quote you succinctly in my report (that's if you're comfortable with me doing so)?

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Wed 24-Feb-10 13:43:47

I have only heard the campaign on the radio, so haven't seen any images etc. I found the Click part more difficult to recall, but the Zip it, Block it, Flag it, part is very catchy and I think it would be likely to stay in people's minds. I think particularly useful for teenagers who are being cyber bullied and are unsure what to do. I still think tho that some would be scared to block people in case it made things worse (same with flagging it). Does your group help support people in this situation (i.e anonymously)?

MagicMountain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:44:00

I agree too, the internet is a fantastic resource, although I have been dwelling on the 'dark side' like LadyBlahBlah.

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 13:45:18

I've not heard of the click clever click safe or other campaign. I've heard of CEOPS thogh from my training course at work and have looked at some of their stuff - I've also directed a few other Mumsnetters to it as well when they've talked about a related subject. I think there needs to be more awareness raising of it and similar information sites.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:45:22

If any of you can just search on "Click Clever Click Safe" and have a look at the information, will you tell me what you think? Thanks!

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:45:34

I once banned DD1 from using the computer - her attitude at home was getting quite unbelievable and I could see how being on MSN every night was affecting I banned her for one week.

During that one week she went back to being a young girl again...her attitude towards the rest of us in this house changed, she became much more calm and even started to read, do puzzles, play with her sister, help around the house and she was never bored.

I'm glad I did it because it showed me just how damaging being on the internet can be but I also know how lovely it is for her to keep in touch with friends (from her old school especially) and also play games etc...hence why I restrict she knows if she steps out of line at home I
will pull the plug out the wall again...

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:45:44

Regarding pornography,boys bought the beautifully named ^dirty mags^ when I was 13. They bought them into school!!! It has always been done and still is though shop keepers are now less likely to sell them.

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:47:42

Do any of you have concerns about videogames?

Yes I've heard of it but would like to know much more.

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 13:48:24

It would be great if the Government helped us to help ourselves - give us a basic understanding of what the dangers are and how we can mitigate them where possible.

I think that people often know that something is worrying - but don't know how to block webpages or disable internet phone access and so on.

RTKangaMummy Wed 24-Feb-10 13:49:23

I think maybe there is a gap for protecting the 14 - 16 year age gap

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:49:27

whispywhisp I think your point very helpfully reminds us all that our kids time engaging with the digital world either via computer or videogame etc needs to be balanced against other activities. In effect we need to create a balanced media diet for our kids and also make sure outdoor play is at the very least equal to the amount of time playing indoors, especially in front of screens.

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Wed 24-Feb-10 13:49:35

Looks good and makes sense. It IS what I have heard on the radio, and also seems to be the kind of approach the school is taking (particularly flagging stuff). I sort of assumed all schools were doing this now. Is this not the case? i.e, is it not something that forms a recommended part of the curriculum in IT?

Bella32 Wed 24-Feb-10 13:50:02

I was just about to chime in and say that I would be far more concerned by my ds playing very violent video games than his reading mainstream pornography (of the type sold in newsagents).

I find the heavily edited TV adverts for video games distresssing enough.

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:51:21

Just seen booklet..will be printing that off for my daughter but wonder why she hasn't already got it from should have been compulsory!

Video games...we don't have them at all. Mine are 17 and 12. I don't know where they would find time to be playing the games unless they stopped talking to us and so that's why we don't have them.

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 13:51:24

I think that in the case of videogames, parents should know which are suitable for their children by using the classification system, and should also make sure that they are being used in a supervised atmosphere for a set period of time.

It comes down to firm parenting on this one -or lack of in many cases. A bit like children who are allowed to watch DVDs that are 15 rated when they're 10 - it's up to you to sort that one out.

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:51:25

If DD 'blocks' someone on MSN it causes even further problems at school because that person who is blocked knows they've been she doesn't bother but she just makes sure she doesn't get into a conversation with that person....

If I see anything being typed that I feel is over-stepping the mark and, yes, boys can be very crude on MSN, I make sure she doesn't chat to them.

One boy was extremely keen on DD1 just a few weeks ago - she rec'd 72 texts on her phone from him over the course of about a month. He gave up texting her because she didn't reply and started texting me. It was at this point that I spoke to the boy's Mum, who wasn't even aware that it had gone on, and it stopped.

Again a case of a parent not knowing what they're child is doing.

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 13:51:51

There are lots of very high profile campaigns which are terrifying our kids about eating cake etc, but I haven't noticed anything like the same emphasis gven to mental health in children, which an Internet awareness campaign should really include. I agree that grooming is not as big an issue as peer-to-peer 'bullying' (or just upsetting each other- they often give as good as they get!), and the ever-present deluge of quite misogynistic sexual imagery. I honestly worry that children's sexuality is being quite profoundly damaged by seeing quite extreme sex acts long before they have had do much as their first kiss: how on earth are they meant to put sex in the context of loving intimate relationships when this is all formng the mental apparatus of their subconscious?

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 13:52:20

cakeywakey there are a number of information portals that can give you the type of advice you are looking for eg search around the mobile phone operators, the internet service providers or even the search engines and you will find family information with lots of tips and advice. Currently the UK Council for Child Internet Safety are designing a "One Stop Shop" which would in effect be one site that the council would recommend people to visit for comprehensive information around child internet safety, with links to other reputable sites. Do you think this would be useful?

MagicMountain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:53:05

But mrspoppins, this is more than about those dirty mags, it is about a million and one images and videos which can be easily accessed and encompass the kinds of inappropriate material LadyBlahBlah alluded to earlier.

The campaign material looks good.

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 13:54:08

You can misquote me if you like to get the point across! I am not very succinct.

The key theme is that parents cannot control the pornography that their children access. It is unfair to say that it is their responsibility. The pressure needs to come from the top and IMO, the IWF is not a sufficient organisation to deal with the sheer amount of porn (and probably illegal porn) that is accessible. This is a real issue and IMO will affect children's relationships in the future.

There was a programme on a while ago on Channel 4 which explored teenager attitudes to sex and inevitably rape, and it was so biased by the porn they had seen it was scary (they wanted threesomes, anal, would not think too much about raping girls) , and these attitudes do not come from the wind - they were coming directly from porn. I don't thin they were unusual in their attitudes. I would firmly recommend a large gin and surfing the porn sites for an hour or two.

LeninGrad Wed 24-Feb-10 13:54:15

You asked how we're aware of internet safety issues - stories in the media of young girls being lured off by older men after having communicated via the internet spring to mind. Wonder if this is more prevalent nowadays.

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 13:54:26

I agree BitofFun - flicked onto MTV the other day by accident and got all cat's bum mouthed at what I was seeing. And the lyrics to a lot of songs are rather close to the bone now as well. <channels David Cameron on Woman's Hour talking abot Lily Allen> grin

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:55:05

Dr Tanya...but I think the majority of kids, in this society nowadays, are living a childhood surrounded by technology....the days of 'going out to play' have disappeared...why should they go out if they have computers, phones, DS's, videogames etc etc....most have a tv/Sky in their rooms so they can watch what they want....I'm sure if you were to take everything out of their rooms they wouldn't be able to cope. Only yesterday I watched 'Honey, we're killing the kids' whereby two children watched tv for 5hrs per day...the parents couldn't control this so put a timer on the tv's so they switched off after 2hrs. The kids went loopy and showed such aggression towards their parents for doing so.

We've fallen into a trap, I think, of giving in too easily to our kids simply for the peace and quiet it brings when they're happy whether that be with the help of a laptop or a football.

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 13:56:14

so much, not 'do much'- banana fingers on my iPhone!

If you mean the violent content of videogames then yes. We brought a Wii for christmas and ever since our 3year old found the sword fighting game his behaviour instantly changed. It took weeks to explain to him that you couldn't copy what you did on screen in real life. I don't know if he was too young or if it just coincided with typical 3 year old boy behaviour but was a nightmare and we were black and blue! He's better now though as long as he doesn't play it for too long.

Bella32 Wed 24-Feb-10 13:57:50

whispy - my children have none of the things you mention. We have one family tv which is rarely used. Ditto computer.

My children play outside in all weathers - imaginative play using anything they can find.

My ds has asked for a laptop but I said no. Children can cope without all those things.

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 13:58:06

Oh I agree absolutely but I am just saying that children have always done things like this. Looked things up in books, bought magazines.
There are parental can ban web sites..they don't need to be able to see you tube or be on facebook or be able to look at inappropriate sites.
Like another poster said, it is about being firm.That won't help you if they are in someone else's home but it never has done.

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 13:59:47

Bella - yes kids CAN cope without this electronic wizardry but CAN THE PARENTS cope with their kids if they don't have it? In a lot of cases I'm sure they can't which is very sad....

cakeywakey Wed 24-Feb-10 14:00:10

Hi Tanya, yes a onestop shop would be very useful as it would limit the amount of conflicting and potentially out of date advice out there - that's one thing that would worry me, information being out of date as technology moves so quickly.

I've just taken a look at the click clever, click safe info and it's very useful. It's also linked me to CEOP (which I've not been on for a while) and their homepage menu is very useful, giving guidance from cyberbullying and mobile problems to harmful content. Will be bookmarking both sites and getting more clued up.

Elsewhere Wed 24-Feb-10 14:00:18

Dr. TByron - Thanks for the search terms "Click Clever Click Safe" Will check this out & go through it with dd. Best wishes

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 14:00:30 is the unpaid babysittersad

LeninGrad Wed 24-Feb-10 14:00:33

Good post BoF: Wed 24-Feb-10 13:51:51

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Feb-10 14:00:46

The hour is up and it's time to say goodbye to Dr Tanya. Thanks so much, Tanya for joining us again and many thanks to all those who took part in the chat.

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 14:01:32

Mumsnet...perhaps a permanent link to click safe..?

whispywhisp Wed 24-Feb-10 14:02:07

Thank you always you've been lovely and very helpful. Best wishes. xx

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 14:02:10

Bye [waves]

BitOfFun Wed 24-Feb-10 14:02:14

Thankyou Dr Tanya smile

DrTanyaByron Wed 24-Feb-10 14:02:31

Ladies and gentlemen, sadly I have to leave you now. Thank you so much for your time and your candour. Please let MNHQ know if you are not happy for me to use anything you have said today as a quote (I would never quote your name, by the way!) I am off to have more meetings than I wish to and would love to carry on chatting to you, maybe again sometime soon.

Bella32 Wed 24-Feb-10 14:02:42

whispy - I am a great believer (perhaps Dr Tanya will disillusion me!) that if you do not allow your children the opportunity to learn how to amuse themselves, then they never will. We cram our children's lives full of activities - give them some time and space to spend an hour making a fortress out of old cardboard boxes!

Bella32 Wed 24-Feb-10 14:03:19

x post - goodbye & thank you. wink

LeninGrad Wed 24-Feb-10 14:03:21

The Click Clever Click Safe site does look good at first glance. Hadn't heard of it before.

KeithTalent Wed 24-Feb-10 14:03:54

Y'know, I really think that it is not the Government's job to regulate what children are accessing.

It is absolutely the parent's responsibility.

I think a lot of parent's are sadly failing their children by giving them too much screentime, little short of child abuse in lots of cases.

LadyBlaBlah Wed 24-Feb-10 14:05:43

Thanks Dr T (is it not Prof now?) . Good luck with the report.

Thats what they want you to believe Keith !

mrspoppins Wed 24-Feb-10 14:10:05

I am going to suggest that my daughter's school put a link on the website to the click site. Will email them now...lots of schools could do this.

Lulumaam Wed 24-Feb-10 16:11:03

the click clever click safe was not something i had heard of, and i shall take a look at it shortly..

some really interesing stuff on this webchat , will read it back properly later

thanks MNHQ and Saint Tanya !

Carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Feb-10 17:33:13

Just found that I started this post and didn't finish it - had to dash off. One thing I wanted to share that we've discussed at MNHQ is the legal age requirement for having a facebook account and the fact that it's so widely ignored, and how schools could help. Some schools are obviously better than others at discussing it, but the big thing for my eldest dd (age 11) is who is on facebook and twitter etc, can she have an account because x, y and z have one. The fact that I could tell her that it's illegal and there may be repercussions for her friends who have underage accounts has given her a reason to stand up to peer pressure. Such a simple thing. Surely if schools made it more clear/ a punishable offence to have a facebook account before the age of 13, it would help parents and children alike to delay this until children are a bit older and hopefully more able to cope

Sorry... personal rant over....

cakeywakey Thu 25-Feb-10 20:02:06

Spotted a full-page ad in ^The Times^ today for Click Clever, Click Safe, so momentum seems to be gathering behind it - which can only be good. Will be dropping it into conversation with friends as well as something worthwhile looking at.

cakeywakey Thu 25-Feb-10 20:03:13

<wonders why the ^s for italics never seem to ruddy work>

mrspoppins Thu 25-Feb-10 23:26:12

^sometimes they do!^

mrspoppins Thu 25-Feb-10 23:26:36

^that time they didn't!^

heQet Fri 26-Feb-10 07:31:15

It's because you have to wrap them around each word individually

so ^sometimes they do^ won't work but
^ sometimes ^ ^ they ^ ^ do ^
would work - if I removed the gaps between the ^ and the word.

sometimes they do

cakeywakey Fri 26-Feb-10 09:24:03

I see. Looks mad when you're typing. Cheers heQet grin

mrspoppins Fri 26-Feb-10 13:52:44

^ giving it a go ^

mrspoppins Fri 26-Feb-10 13:53:13

^giving it a go^

mrspoppins Fri 26-Feb-10 13:53:57

God what a dork!!!

giving it another go !!!!!

mrstrusting Thu 11-Mar-10 22:25:19


We have just experienced every parents worst nightmare. Our eldest daughter turned 16 just 2 weeks ago and last week we got up to find her gone leaving just a letter full of made up journey she was taking. By luck one of her siblings told us she had been parading in states of undress on the webcam when we were not in the house so we reported her missing. Police located her quickly but she was already on a plane to UK. By good fortune the police got her at Heathrow and arrested the man she was meeting. She hates us at the moment and now social workers are trying to unravel the mess.
It seems she had been chatting to him for 2 years. I had caught her in the beginning and had explained about the dangers, had then checked emails and kept reminding her about a man some 20 years older than her and it seemed to sink in and she assured me that she had not contacted him again. As parents we feel we failed her but these people are so clever that they know how to hide their tracks and it is scary. So to any parent out there be extra vigilant don't be too trusting of your child as we were.We hope we can salvage her back onto the right track but if this blog helps protect just one other child then some good has come and if anyone else can give us advice asto how we can help her get through this then please let us know.

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