Safer Internet Day: Contact Group calls for improved web monitoring on kids’ smartphones
As part of Safer Internet Day (7th February 2012), Stephen Clarke, Managing Director, Contact Group (www.the-contactgroup.com) comments on how to ensure children access the internet safely on their smartphones.
“The internet is now a day to day factor in the lives of most children. While this has brought a wealth of benefits, enabled us to learn more effectively and communicate more easily, it has also led to concerns about the safety of children when accessing the internet, especially with the rise of smartphones, which have made it more difficult to monitor children’s internet usage. Safer Internet Day serves as a great way to raise awareness of the issues guardians and educators are currently facing to ensure that children are accessing the internet in a safe and secure way.
“Children are increasingly using mobile devices to access the internet, especially social networking sites which, if not used in the correct way, can pressure children into behaving a certain way or can act as a platform for cyberbullies to reach victims. A recent survey compiled by YouGov has also shown that more than a fifth of children between the ages of eight and 15 have accessed inappropriate content on their smartphones. Whether accessed intentionally or not, these statistics highlight the severity of the situation and the ongoing challenge of implementing the correct measures to ensure that children are safe when they are online, wherever they are.
“Further to this, the survey has also revealed that only 13 per cent of children have security settings installed on their smartphones and that 46 per cent of parents were unaware that security settings for smartphones exist. Parents should be mindful of the communications devices that children are using and explore software packages to install on their child’s phone so they can monitor any incidents, such as cyberbullying via social networking sites, that may be harmful, as children may not always report these.
“With increased internet usage on smartphones there has also been a rise in cyberbullying and a recent study has shown that nearly a fifth of young people in the UK have been victims of cyberbullying. Shockingly, 18 per cent of 15-year-olds admitted to cyber bullying and even more worryingly, 45 percent of pupils would not seek help if they were the victims of bullying for fear of making the situation worse. Schools need to be made aware each time cyberbullying occurs. For that to happen, young people need to be given more opportunities to report incidents in confidence, using the modern technology they are used to.”
“Contact Group’s Text Someone service gives pupils the power to report incidents of bullying in confidence, 24/7 by text message, secure website or phone call. In order to combat the advent of bullying by text, pupils can now forward those text messages on to their schools. They can also securely log onto the Text Someone website to report incidents of cyberbullying by taking a snapshot of the defamatory posting.”
For press information please contact Hannah Riordan, Livewire Public Relations, on 020 8339 7440 or email: .
About Text Someone:
Text Someone is an innovative service which empowers pupils to report incidents of bullying, theft, crime or any unwanted behaviour in the utmost of confidence, 24 hours a day, seven days a week via text message, email or voice message. Text Someone helps schools and local authorities proactively engage with their students and stamp out behaviour associated with bullying.
Schools within a local authority are allocated a mobile phone number, local rate phone number and access to the secure Text Someone website. These can then be promoted in school via posters and ‘Text Someone Cards’ provided to pupils
Text Someone immediately alerts staff by email or text each time a pupil sends a message, providing schools and local authorities with a simple, powerful reporting tool to identify all students at risk and enable intervention before problems impact negatively and affect their learning.
Helping to efficiently and effectively identify students at greatest risk, Text Someone enables teachers to view all messages reported by pupils, reply to messages and record intervention strategies put in place.