As part of a joint initiative between the NSPCC and O2, parents can now get online safety advice at their local O2 shops in Bath Southgate, Bridgwater, Taunton, Street, Weston Super Mare and Yeovil, from a specially trained advisor – known as an O2 Guru.
During the pre-booked session, the NSPCC-trained O2 Guru can explain how to set up parental controls on phones, tablets and PCs, as well as how to make devices safer for children to use. Appointments can be booked in advance by visiting http://guru.force.com/O2DeskStoreLocator.
Nationally, the NSPCC’s Childline service has seen a 60% year on year increase* in the number of counselling sessions where children have reported feeling worried after seeing adult content online.
The figures were revealed in the NSPCC’s new ‘What Should I Do?’ report, which focuses on adults and children contacting the charity’s helplines about online issues.
Since August 2015 the NSPCC and O2 have been working together to help families enjoy the best of the digital world safely and with confidence. Together the two organisations have launched a range of free resources to help parents get to grips with their child’s online world, including:
Online Safety Helpline – adults can call 0808 800 5002 for advice on technical issues such as privacy settings on apps or personal matters such as online bullying.
Net-Aware.org.uk – an overview of the most popular sites, games and apps used by young people.
Share Aware – includes conversation starter ideas and animated advice about staying safe online.
Jane Houghton, head of the Online Safety Helpline for O2, said: “Parental controls may sound dull, but it is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure your child is accessing appropriate content only.
“One of our helpline advisors spoke to a mum about her nine-year-old daughter making inappropriate searches on Google after someone in school told her to. Our advisor was able to help her set up the appropriate controls and settings on all devices in the home.
“If it feels daunting, our expert advisors are here to help on the phone, through webchat and in our O2 stores.”
Julia Fossi, head of child online safety at the NSPCC, added: “Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation.
“Technology is changing all the time and it can be hard to keep up to date with the latest games, sites and apps but it’s important to take on the challenge and treat it like any other parenting task.
“Thanks to the NSPCC and O2 partnership help is at hand but talking to your child regularly and being part of their online world is the best way to help keep them safe.”
Parents can get online safety advice from the NSPCC’s website at www.nspcc.org.uk, or by calling the free helpline on 0808 800 5002.
Children and young people can contact Childline anytime on 0800 1111 or access help online at www.childline.org.uk.