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  1. Published on: 14/03/2017 07:33 AMReported by: roving-eye
    * Most adults in North West don't know age restrictions for using social media
    * 21 % of adults think there are no restrictions
    * The NSPCC and O2's Net Aware guide offers advice to parents/adults about social media


    THE MAJORITY of adults across the North West are oblivious to whether children are old enough to be using social networks like Facebook and Snapchat, new figures suggest.

    The NSPCC is urging social media companies to make age restrictions much clearer on sign-up pages and is offering advice to families to help keep children safe online.

    A survey of adults carried out for the NSPCC found that 52 per cent of respondents were unaware that social media sites like Facebook require users to be over the age of 13. And shockingly 21% of adults in the North West thought there were no age requirements at all.

    Social media can provide important support networks for young people. But the sites can also be a dangerous place for younger children, potentially exposing them to bullying, inappropriate content or grooming.

    Calls to the NSPCC's Childline service calls show that children under the age of 13 are using social networks and are in some cases having negative experiences online.

    One 11-year-old caller told counsellors: "I'm really upset; the other day my friend showed me some horrible pictures that people were posting on Instagram of me. Some people at school have taken pictures of me and put silly tags on the pictures and put funny faces over mine.

    "I've been bullied before and now it's on Instagram and I can't seem get away from it and everyone else can see it too."

    And a 12-year-old girl who contacted Childline said: "I was playing dares with a boy from my school then he dared me to send nudes and I did. I feel ashamed and embarrassed and I don't know why I did it. Now I have fallen out with him he has sent the photo to everyone all over Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat and I keep getting abuse at school and online saying I'm rotten and a slag."

    Claire Lilley, NSPCC Head of Online Safety, said: "We can all do our bit to keep children safe online, and ensure their experience of social media is a positive one."

    "Age restrictions need to reflect the content and conduct possible on each site and be crystal clear to parents and their younger users. And platforms need to work harder to protect children and young people, building in child safety to the design of each site."

    "Parents can be proactive by having conversations with their children about online safety as soon as they start using the internet. The NSPCC's Net Aware service can give practical tips such as how to switch on parental controls, or manage privacy settings."

    The Net Aware website, run in partnership with O2, offers parents useful information about each social network, including the age guidance for users. The service, at www.net-aware.org.uk, works with over 500 parents and carers, and 1,725 young people to review social networks, apps and games that children use.

    Parents seeking face-to-face advice about how to best protect their children online can make an appointment with the NSPCC's O2 gurus in their nearest store or can call the O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002.

    You do not need to be an O2 customer. For more information visit: http://www.o2.co.uk/help/guru
     

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    Your Comments:


  3. rolling-thunder says:14/03/2017 11:28 AM
    My child came out of school late yesterday and when I asked why he said he couldn't tell me. The school had told him not to discuss what he had been told, even with parents.
    It turns out there was a social media problem with one of the girls in his class. While I agree that the incident has nothing to do with me I don't agree with the School telling my child to keep secrets from their parents.
    My Son has been bullied over social media, so now all he has is Facebook for his Hobbies, which I monitor. I didn't agree to him having Instagram or other Media & they came on his phone {which I can't delete}.
    Adults can rarely be trusted with social media so kids have no chance. My Son has Facebook by my choice & with my permission regardless on age limits. I take responsibility & he hasn't been bullied online since.


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