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Live webchat with Lucinda Fell from Childnet, Tues 9 Feb, 1-2pm

(70 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Feb-10 16:20:24

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.


LeninGrad Mon 08-Feb-10 18:03:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morningpaper Mon 08-Feb-10 20:28:44

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??

FannyWaglour Mon 08-Feb-10 22:50:21

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! smile

JJ Tue 09-Feb-10 07:31:50

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?

ExperimentSixTwoSix Tue 09-Feb-10 08:12:44

Hi there
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??

creditcrunched Tue 09-Feb-10 10:00:27

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.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 10:20:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 10:21:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rhubarb Tue 09-Feb-10 10:31:02

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.

Rhubarb Tue 09-Feb-10 10:31:46

Leningrad - libaries do yes. Our local one doesn't allow access to any social networking sites either.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 10:35:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rhubarb Tue 09-Feb-10 10:41:00

Possibly it goes off keywords like 'social networking', 'adult' and so on.

Quintessential12belowZero Tue 09-Feb-10 10:41:27

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.

Fimblehobbs Tue 09-Feb-10 10:48:50

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?

Rhubarb Tue 09-Feb-10 10:51:57

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.

Fimblehobbs Tue 09-Feb-10 10:59:28

Thanks Rhubarb, thats great.

LucindaFell Tue 09-Feb-10 11:57:53


Rhubarb Tue 09-Feb-10 12:01:05

Yes hello - this isn't a blue thread you know! Take your blue language somewhere else please...

creditcrunched Tue 09-Feb-10 12:01:30

hello test!

Quintessential12belowZero Tue 09-Feb-10 12:03:19

oh rhubs, that is a pretty blue background! smile

isnowsoonenough Tue 09-Feb-10 12:19:13

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.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Feb-10 12:56:10

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.

LucindaFell Tue 09-Feb-10 12:57:13

Hi Everyone, I’m 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 don’t recommend specific services or technical solutions - but can hopefully give you some tips to think about in choosing such services. It’s been great to see some of you sharing your advice and experience too.

LucindaFell Tue 09-Feb-10 13:01:49

Hi Lenin Grad, Thanks for your questions. You might find it useful to look at 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. It’s 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 -

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