Mid Ulster MLA Sandra Overend has called on the Executive to develop a local strategy on web safety, in support of the NSPCC’s new Share Aware campaign.
As UUP spokesperson for children and young people, Mrs Overend has welcomed the campaign which aims to advise parents with children between eight and 12-years-old, on the dangers of the net.
And said she will be calling on her colleagues on the hill to take action to protect children online.
“The launch of the NSPCC Share Aware campaign is both welcome and timely,” Mrs Overend said.
“I’m sure many of our children and young people will have received a tablet, smartphone or games console this Christmas, and whilst technology can help to entertain us, threats online continue to be a worry for parents.”
Speaking about the NSPCC’s campaign, which features two animations [‘I Saw Your Willy’ and ‘Lucy And The Boy’] that outline the possible, and somewhat horrific, consequences of sharing too much online, she said: “This campaign is designed to encourage parents to feel confident in talking to their children about online safety and what they share.
“Research conducted by the National Children’s Bureau in Northern Ireland shows that four out of five young people go online every day, many of them spending hours doing so. It is so important they have the protection they need, and empowering parents is vital in doing that,” she added.
“Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO has stated that keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation,” she went on, “and I believe that our local politicians also have a role to play in this area.
“Developing a cross-departmental e-safety strategy for Northern Ireland is vital [and] I will continue to press the Executive to act... as the need for local action remains.”
To find out more about #ShareAware parents can visit the NSPCC Share Aware page: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/share-aware/
For advice on online safety call the NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000.