Live webchat with Lucinda Fell from Childnet, Tues 9 Feb, 1-2pm(70 Posts)
Welcome to our new child internet safety forum.
To kick off, we're welcoming Lucinda Fell from Childnet International, who's coming on for a webchat tomorrow, Tues 9 Feb (Safer Internet Day 2010) between 1-2pm.
If you've got any concerns about what your children are up to online, for eg whether they're safe on social networking sites, and what you should be doing to ensure they ARE safe, then please join the discussion.
Lucinda is Childnet's policy and communications manager. She's a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and a member of the European Commission Social Networking Taskforce.
As the chat is tomorrow, Lucinda won't be able to do any advance answers, but she'll do her best to get through as many questions as possible during the chat. Hope you can make it.
Hello, please could you recommend a good web filter to ensure DS1 and I only click on appropriate things for him to view when we're browsing. Thanks.
I don't know anything whatsoever about this topic although I have a 7 year old. I would like to let her browse on the computer by herself. Where do I need to start finding out about this sort of thing and getting something implemented??
webfilter It is also part of a total security solution, which includes antispyware, antivirus, etc.
Should be an interesting one, good on you MN for this!
I have a 12 year old. An ex(ish) friend of his is bullying via mobile a current friend of his. I've told him that if the ex(ish) friend texts anything to him about the current friend, he should either: say something nice about the current friend or not engage at all - most likely the best thing is the first followed by the latter.
The mother of the bully is someone I see occasionally socially and I haven't mentioned this to her; after talking to my friends I think it's just not my business, especially because the current's friend's mother doesn't want to say anything.
Any suggestions? Guidelines for kids when they're not the victim or the perpetrator of the bullying but want to stop it and support the victim?
I know Facebook has a minimum age policy but I can see loads of underage kids that I know are friends with their parents.
I haven't befriended any of them because some of the comments I make on other people's walls etc (which I think come up on newsfeeds etc) wouldn't be appropriate for them to read.
What's best policy with facebook??
Why do kids have to wait until they are 13 to join facebook, bebo and others?
As soon as they move to secondary school they want to be on social networking sites, especially to keep in touch with their old primary school friends and yet to do so they have to lie about their age.
If these sites aren't "safe" for under 13s then why can't they provide one with safer features, less open to all etc?
This drives me mad, I would be happy for my 11 or 12 year old to be on social networking sites but I don't want to tell them that they should LIE to do so.
What age do you think kids should be able have internet-enabled phones and again can they be restricted to suitable sites? I know it'll differ per child but just roughly. Also, do providers still sell them with no data services?
Do libraries prevent access to adult material online? Do internet cafés?
A couple of stories for you.
I was on Twitter as THEDavidTennant and I had loads of kids telling me they loved me, asking me for autographs etc. Obviously I wasn't the real DT and some of the kids were only 9 or 10. Now you aren't allowed on twitter until you are 16 I believe. I saw how easy it was for someone to fool these kids and I suddenly had a greater awareness of the danger out there for children.
I also came across a couple of disturbing Twitter accounts, including one that was set up to be 2 American boys who were famous, as far as I could gather. They were tweeting inappropriate things to girl fans and asking for mobile phone numbers. I was pretty sure upon Googling that these boys were not the real deal and so I reported them and another account involving a child to the people at Twitter. I never heard back and the account, some months later, was still live.
I think that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook do appeal to children. The founders aren't stupid, they know that. The applications they have on facebook capture childrens interest too - such as YoVille (had a look on there, little avatars in bra and knickers, one asked if there was anyone over 16 there and they answered back giving their ages from 9 to 13). They know their market. They lure children in and do nothing to protect them. Surely by now there should be a law in place that puts the burden of responsibility onto the shoulders of these people.
By default the settings of facebook allow your profile, including photos to be public. As an adult I only found that out when someone searched for me and recognised me from photos I had thought were private. As a child how do you know that?
They are failing to safeguard our children. It's all very well saying that it's up to the parents, but very often the parents don't understand social networking sites and they are unaware of the dangers they pose.
The 13yo dd of my boss was a victim of bulling on facebook. They created a false profile for her, used a photo of Meredith Kercher and joined her up to groups such as animal sex and so on. She was devastated when she found out. It's all too easy to set up a fake profile on facebook - I've done it myself for dh.
The government need to take action now to stop our children being exploited by these huge companies.
Leningrad - libaries do yes. Our local one doesn't allow access to any social networking sites either.
Interesting thanks. So is there a 'blacklist' of sites that a router blocks? It must be constantly updated as new sites must pop up all the time.
Possibly it goes off keywords like 'social networking', 'adult' and so on.
My niece was on bebo. A man with dubious intentions was able to trace her and her friends, by lurking on their sites and following their comments to eachother on the chat box. They mentioned local football teams, and a few local sites, and he started hanging around outside their school. Then he started following the girls home, one by one. Luckily the police dealt with it.
He had also left comments on the girls pages, pretending to be another girl in a few years above, thus starting dialogues with them. The girls were 12/13 at the time.
They dont make references to anything they can be recognized by anymore, and they have taken their pictures down.
Hello, thanks very much for coming on.
I know the chat hasn't started yet but someone else might be able to help in the meantime...
I'd like to know the best web filter for children, and do you install it permanently or can I switch it off when I want to go online? Can't imagine I'd be allowed on Mumsnet with a filter!!
Also - is there a 'safe mode' for youtube or childrens equivalent- 5 year old DS loves watching Michael Jackson dance videos. Currently I vet them all first to make sure they really are what they say they are but I would like him to be able to search himself in due course.
And lastly but most importantly - what do you think about the Sparklebox site and why is it still being allowed?
Fimblehobbs. You can set up on your pc a user for your children that is separate from yours. If you go into Start/Control Panel they are in there.
You can then alter the settings on your childrens, so go into internet settings and make sure the filters are on high. Google and YouTube have their own filters I believe that you can save as default.
These DIY measures are often just as good as any you can buy and they don't interfere with your usage.
Thanks Rhubarb, thats great.
Yes hello - this isn't a blue thread you know! Take your blue language somewhere else please...
oh rhubs, that is a pretty blue background!
Rhubarb has some good points. You have to be of a certain age to join these social networks, children just make it up. With mobiles being taken (even if banned) into schools, pictures etc are taken in the school and posted on FB with tags to pupils pictures. I'm always looking over dds shoulder. And I am very concerned, that however much I protect her, her 'mates' online can publish what they like and link it back to her. It makes me uneasy.
Hello everybody, Lucinda will online at 1pm to answer your questions.
Thanks very much to her for joining us, and thanks to everyone who has posted.
Hi Everyone, Im really pleased to be here on Safer Internet Day and to try to answer some of your questions. As an organisation it is our aim to make the Internet a great and safe place for children and young people in the UK by responding to the risks and promoting the positive opportunities that the Internet offers. We dont recommend specific services or technical solutions - but can hopefully give you some tips to think about in choosing such services. Its been great to see some of you sharing your advice and experience too.
Hi Lenin Grad, Thanks for your questions. You might find it useful to look at http://kids.getnetwise.org/tools/. They have a tools for families database which allows you to tailor your search with many variables such as what operating system you are using and the type of content that you might want to filter. Its hard to suggest an age for kids to use internet enabled mobile technology, but a lot of the mobile phone operators provide parental controls which offer a limited amount of websites for kids to browse. We have observed that children that see their parents modeling safe use of these types of technologies tend to follow suit. You can also check out a checklist we wrote for parents, with useful questions to ask when buying a mobile phone for children - http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/downloads/mobilesQ.pdf
Hi JJ, this is an excellent question. Cyberbullying which is what we call bullying through using mobile technologies and computers is sadly an increasing worry for children and young people. The advice youve given your son to not engage in these unpleasant messages is great. In the office here we have lots of conversations about digital citizenship and what it means to be good digital citizen, and it sounds like you are encouraging your son to be a good digital citizen. One indirect way of tackling the problem could be to suggest to your friend that she contacts her sons school to ask if they have done any work on cyberbullying. We produced advice for secondary schools with the DCSF on this topic that the school can access free and maybe a lesson would wake the bully up to what they are doing, and encourage other friends to support the target.
Thank you for sharing your nieces experience Quintessential12belowZero. Sadly there are those who will seek to use the Internet to foster inappropriate relations. The theme of Safer Internet Day this year is Think before you post and that goes for the content you post too such as your photos, and comments and its important for users to think about identifying features and details that they may inadvertently share about themselves. It sounds like they have done just the right thing in being careful with the references they use now. The new digital code as part of the Click Clver, Click Safe strategy is Zip It, Block It, Flag It and this can be helpful for young users to remember with regards to not sharing too much personal information, blocking those who upset them or telling an adult if they are contacted by someone who worries them, or see something that upsets them.
What strategies or policies should schools be implementing to ensure children remain safe online in schools?
I am struggling to come to grips with the world that my son (now only 1!) will live in when he is at primary school. When I was small, the only phone was a landline in a public place in the home, and there was no internet. So my parents were aware of pretty much 100% of the contact I had with anyone outside of school hours. Now that is so unbelievably different. Already DS loves my phone, my blackberry and my computer, just for the bright colours and buttons.
Do you have simple guidelines for small children? I will probably err on the 'draconian' side at first - no personal computer, only a family one in a public place, no personal mobile until - not sure - maybe secondary school. But when it comes to which websites etc I am clueless. Can you give basic pointers?
Totally agree with what's been posted to date, especially Rhubarb. It worries me that in today's time-poor society, too many children are left without adequate supervision at home - I've been guilty of this myself. It's easy to think of the computer in the same way as the TV but children can be exposed to such horrific content at the touch of a button on the internet. I wish there was a way that I could filter content in the same way as on my Sky box e.g. some channels are blocked completely and don't even appear on the list and others can only be accessed by entering a PIN. Having 3 children of different ages, I would like to be able to easily have three different approaches reflecting these ages:
For the 6 yo - strict filtering so some sites don't even appear
For the 9 yo - slightly looser filtering and more use of a PIN allowing case by case discussion
For the 11yo - same as for the 9yo with the extension of having their own PIN to allow them access to certain agreed sites.
Is there a system that would allow me to do this? I do not have time to personally supervise and vet every site my children visit.
Re social networking sites - they are the Devil's own work for the under 21's IMO.
Hi hulababy thank you for your question. All schools should have a range of policies in place including an acceptable user policy in place, that both teachers and pupils are familiar with . Use of technology should also be embedded in other policies such as the bullying policy. Our education team are in schools daily, and they often say that the most effective policies they have seen in schools are the ones where children have been included in the process. We have observed that they are more likely to respect and adhere to these policies. Its also important for staff to now about the sorts of things that children enjoy doing online such as games and social networking services much like we encourage parents to be familiar, so that they can talk to pupils and provide advice if they have questions on these topics.
I am concerned about the number of underage children on sites such as bebo and facebook. Do you think it will ever be possible to restrict accress to children? Obviously a parent can restrict access, but what about the service providers / people behind such websites. Can they ever be held accountable for failing to keep checks on their users?
On the theme of parents and teachers staying up-to-date, there are a wide range of resources that we have produced, and the government has today launched a new website (accessed through Directgov www.direct.gov.uk/clickcleverclicksafe ), supporting the Click Clever, Click Safe code which provides a useful overview to some of the issues
Also, we discovered that despite having the highest level of protection on the kids' profile, they have been able to access a page showing hard core porn where only a few of the pictures had been blocked out due to content. The website address was something like www.sexygirls - I cannot believe that any decent filter would let this through .
And finally (sorry, I know we're only allowed one comment ), is it true that computer manufacturers sell computers with the default safety settings being "off" rather than "on"? Isn't this something that Govt should be looking to change PDQ?
Weve had quite a few questions on Facebook, and you might all be interested to know that my colleague Will blogged about the importance of thinking before you post on the Facebook blog this morning - http://blog.facebook.com/. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are very popular with children even those as young as 8 and 9, and as some of you rightly point out, the minimum age for using these services is 13. We understand the frustration that younger users have but dont condone lying about user age! There are social networking services such as Club Penguin which are aimed at a younger audience and which are more appropriate for younger users. Ive mentioned our work on digital citizenship earlier, and part of being a good digital citizen is respecting the rules and the terms of the services that you are using or in this case want to use! Its also important to encourage children and young people to sign in with their correct ages as they are afforded a greater level of protection this way. However, we have heard of some families who model best practice to their children in their use of these sites, but have a family social networking account which they access, use and update together. As a parent or carer, one of the best things that you can do is to familiarise yourself with the services that your kids are using and the safety tips.
Presumably though, many children are on FB with he permission of their parents. I have seen very young children with FB pages, and I know MNetters have cildren on FB too for various reasons.
I personally don't allow DD on FB. She is 7y and IMo sites like Club Penguin ar far more appropriate.
Can I repeat my question about why it is up to schools and parents to monitor childrens online activities and the creaters of social networking sites like facebook do not take any responsibility whatsoever.
Not every parent is internet savvy - Mumsnet parents probably are because we are all on here, but a lot more parents won't be online. My dh knows almost nothing about the internet and doesn't understand why I refuse to let dd have a facebook or an email address at the age of 9.
Surely if facebook creators are luring children in with gaming applications like FarmVille and YoVille they should take responsibility and ensure that stricter measures are put in place to prevent fake profiles and disturbing facebook groups. I don't believe them that they can't, I think the government needs to take action and stop putting the burden of responsibility onto parents and teachers.
The government have launched a website - again great for parents who already know their way around the internet, not so for those who don't go on the internet. How about making this information more accessible to all?
Our school gave out fully functioning email addresses to the children without telling the parents. I was
Hello flashharriet. Thank you for your comments. You raise some very interesting points about the computer being used as a babysitter sometimes, and also how it can be difficult for parents to apply safety settings and to engage in this area. Filtering is a useful tool, but technology is only part of the solution and it is important for parents to talk to their children about what they are doing online and support them in making safe decisions. However, we know that talking to children and young people about internet safety can be challenging for parents and carers and recent stats released today by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety for Safer Internet Day said that over a quarter 26.8% of young people say their parents dont talk to them about how they are spending their time online. This next bit also answers Rhubarbs question too - with the support of the UK Council for Child Internet safety, weve produced a CD Rom for parents to introduce them to the internet and to help keep their children safe online.
Rhubarb you are so right when you say that it is important that this information is accessible for all users. The Know It All for Parents resource (the CD Rom I just mentioned) is available with a summary in 9 different languages including BSL and the Click Clever, Click Safe strategy has been designed to provide parents with a short and memorable code - Zip It, Block It, Flag It. Both the KIA CD Rom and the code can be used in the offline world and so hopefully support parents who arent yet online.
flashharriet - yes that is true about computer safety settings being off. There was a documentary about this some time ago. It wouldn't take much for computer manufacturers to keep these switched on, it's then up to parents to find out how to switch them off.
I'm all for it.
Thanks for the response, I'll have a read.
Lucinda - yes but again the focus is on the parents doing something about it and it takes away the responsibility from Facebook and other networking sites.
Aren't we just letting them off the hook?
I'd like to see your CD Rom sent to every parent in the country.
It's so difficult though Lucinda - I might have the most internet savvy children and well-protected system but then they go to their friends' houses... Most parents appear to be so laissez-faire about the internet in general and social networking in particular, judging by the amount of kids at our school who already have FB accounts (and have open walls ). I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness most of the time even being bothered about this stuff.
Hi morningpaper, thank you for your question. I think we've covered some of this in my previous post, but we think that the first thing that all parents can do in helping to protect their children online is to be interested in what theyre doing online and to start by asking the type of questions you raised so thats a great start We have a fun and interactive website at www.kidsmart.org.uk with all sorts of advice for children on how to stay safe online. You might like to start by looking at that website together, look at some of the videos of top tips from other young people and think together how they might be relevant to what your daughter will be doing online. Its useful from the start to have simple rules in place about both of your expectations and for her to know that she can come to you if she sees something that upsets or worries her.
And totally agree with Rhubarb - everything to do with the internet for kids appears to be down to me to police. Why can the Govt not meet us halfway on this and make our lives a little easier?
Quick reminder that webchat ends at 2pm. Thanks to everybody who has taken part
My daughter was unlucky to be targeted by some one on line, there are videos of her semi naked doing things to herself on the net still. The police say she enticed these people to do it as they would find it hard to prove she was only 11 when it happened. She was sent some pretty disgusting images and they asked her for more videos/images of herself. I never allowed her to have the laptop out the living room, but she still managed to do it. They asked her where she stayed and if she could go someplce with them. She is now undergoing councelling but wont talk about it. I thought I had protected her from things like this but instad I let them in my house.
Sorry hit post too quick
What could I have done differently? If anything
Hi flashharriet, this is something that we hear a lot. This can be tough for parents, especially when other households have adopted different rules or lack thereof! One of the things that we have recognised is that we cant stop risk but we can equip children and young people to deal with these online risks. The Governments code launched today is a significant step forward. Weve seen the government, internet industry and third-sector partners like ourselves agree this new simple message and it is the collective intention, that much like the green cross code, this will be easy for families to remember and will start to become an ingrained part of thinking. We would also expect to see schools and clubs etc. pick these messages up and share them too. From September 2011, the new primary curriculum will mean that all children from the age of five must be taught about how to use technology safely and responsibly so the pressure on parents will ease as it is incorporated into the curriculum.
lucinda - you can't be saying that Club Penguin is a suitable alternative to Facebook for the 11 and 12 year old secondary school pupil...can you????
OMG that is awful! Why can't you get the content taken down? I'm becoming more and more convinced that the internet is a dark and dangerous place for children and I will never ever leave mine alone with the internet.
It just makes it easier for paedos to target young children - they don't have to hang around outside schools anymore, they just log onto a networking site. It's far too easy to join a site such as Penguin Club and CBBC pretending to be a child. I'm of the view that there shouldn't even BE chatrooms for children.
Again, the pressure needs to be taken off schools and parents and directed towards the web designers who are producing these sites.
Hi somebodiesmum, I'm so sorry to hear that. We've timed out now, but as this is such a personal case, do please feel free to call the Childnet office to talk about it and we can provide you with the other support and advice on this topic that we and other government agencies have issued.
somebodiesmum - you sound like you did all you could to protect her. You have not failed your dd, but the internet and police have. How can an 11yo entice adults into abuse???? I don't care how old she looks - she's 11 ffs and they have a duty of care!
Makes you wonder why you bother paying your council tax.
All you can do is ban the internet and let them join the homework club of the local library if they need internet access.
The p;olice told me that they couldn't have the content removed, I contacted the IWF and they said the site was hosted in America but would be able to block 95% of the UK from seeing it but unfortunaltely it didnt block my area. The police did then phone me and say that the images had been rmoved but when I checked late they were still there. They said they had no case because she looked older than 11 and it ooked like she had inticed them but shr doesnt look older than 11 shes still in age 9-10 clothes
Thank you very much for coming in to talk to us Lucinda - I'm going to go and have a read through all the links you've posted
somebodiesmum - the blocking is done by isps, so if you can still access the images then it means that your isp is not signed up with the IWF.
You should also complain to your isp. Why are they not blocking like the other 95% of the isp market is?
Take your business away from them as well, they are profiting from you paying to get internet access and yet they are not protecting your daughter.
somebodiesmum - that is awful. Your poor DD
I dont really understand why children of 10 or 11 need social networking sites TBH.
My 7y does like Club Penguin, but as a game, not for talking to other people online.
I think introducing children to FB and giving them their own accounts could be a slipperly slope.
Thank you all for taking part in this chat today. Weve ended on quite a dark note, but I would like to encourage you all not to pull the plug on the Internet. It does offer many positive opportunities for children and young people and there are lots of tools available to help you navigate your and your childs internet journey safely and enjoyably. Child Abuse Images can be reported to the IWF as has been pointed out, but their jurisdiction only covers content hosted in the UK. You can also report suspected grooming to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Do check our kidsmart.org.uk and digizen.org.uk sites for more tips about staying safe, and advice for parents too. For more details on the new UKCCIS code launched today go to www.direct.gov.uk/clickcleverclicksafe and remember to Click Clever, Click Safe!
I still do not understand how the police can be aware of pornographic images up online of a child and be unable to have those images removed. No doubt they are being hosted by someone.
I cannot believe that no-one can do anything about this.
If that were my dd I would be beside myself, as you must be. These images are being hosted by a site and that site should be shut down. The bloody internet thinks it's above the law now. They make it so easy for children to be targeted and then so hard for the authorities to track down those paedos and remove offensive and illegal content.
Users downloading illegal musical content have their houses raided and their internet connection removed. Yet images of a naked child are allowed to stay???? This has actually made my blood boil.
Can CEOPS help? Have you reported it to them?
When she started acting suspicious around the laptop her dad bought her I took it off her, I found some shocking stuff on it and contacted the child protection helpline. The police came out but with in a week the case was closed and they said she had done this herself.
Then a month later the police came back because CEOPS had contacted them as you tube had contacted them about the images of my daughter. When they new that the case had been dealt with they left and that was that.
My daughter is now attending Chidren 1st for conselling but she wont talk about it, its like she has blanked it out.
It's heartbreaking because this is something I cant fix for her or make it go away, the images/videos are always gonna be there, whether they are took down from the site or not some one has copies. I feel sick at what shes gone through, but more helpless than anything else.
Sorry to butt in, just wanted to let you know that Lucinda says she'll try to come back and post replies to a few more questions by Friday.
I'm so so sorry for you, what you and your dd must be going through is dreadful. No doubt she feels guilty and ashamed.
It just goes to show how little protection our children have as far as the internet goes. I just read that they have arrested the guy who illegally downloaded the Playstation 3 game or something similar. Yet they are unable to act over illegal pornographic images involving a child? Do the UK police not have any contact with the US child protection dept then?
I am just so for you.
When IWF contacted me they aked for my details and if it was ok to pass it onto the NCMEC who will deal with it on their side, but as of yet I have heard nothing. Its coming up for a year now since this happened and although she may have moved on from it I haven't, I'm more paranoid about things, I check her phone constantly, I read every email she recieves even though the account that was accessed has been closed, she doesn't get on the internet unless I'm in the room, I have parental controls on the main pc and none of them get on my laptop. The laptop that this was done on has been returned to her dads. I dont know what else I can do
This might be useful to you.
I would contact the FBI in the US and inform them of the material that is still online of a minor.
Thanks will look at that properly after, just going out to parents night
somebodiesmum - if I were you I would recontact ncmec and ask for an update. Email the CEO personally and ask what more can be done in the US to get the photos of your daughter removed.
Do you know which company in the USA is hosting the images? you could contact their CEO as well.
Have contacted NCMEC, so hopefully will hear something from them, not sure if it will do any good but I need to do something.
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