Parents and carers across North Yorkshire are being urged to consider the risks of the online world in the excitement of receiving new games and gadgets this Christmas.
With technology gifts high on wish lists, North Yorkshire’s Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) is making sure children can navigate the internet safely.
The online world is an exciting resource which gives children and young people the opportunities to safely play, learn, be creative and socialise.
The amount of time families have spent online for work, school, socialising and just for fun has increased significantly during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
We have made significant progress in the roll-out of superfast broadband across the county, which has been vital for those working and spending an increased time at home.
However, the increase in usage has uncovered more risks, and parents and carers need to know how to protect their children.
Dr Maggie Atkinson, Chair of the NYSCP Executive and Independent Scrutineer, said: “The world is so very different from the one in which parents and carers grew up. We may feel our children are safe at home playing on their PC, tablet, phone or game consoles, but we may be unaware of the hidden harm they are suffering online.
“The ‘always online, instant access’ lifestyle many children and young people have today can make it difficult for us to know how to ensure their safety. Many of us worry we won’t understand modern technology as it is too technical or we may be unaware of the potential risks that our children face. That’s why I endorse the County Council’s efforts to help and guide families to keep children and young people safe online – at Christmas, and all year through.”
Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for the Children and Young People’s Service said: “Games consoles and smart devices can provide hours of family entertainment, but many people think they are free from harm. However, video game systems, social media and other platforms bring risks such as cyberbullying, scams, privacy problems and seeing age inappropriate content.
“As a parent or carer you play a key role in helping your child to stay safe online. That’s why we are encouraging you to access tips, advice, guides and resources for ensuring your loved ones can enjoy any new games and gadgets safely and responsibly.”
The partnership – led by North Yorkshire’s three safeguarding bodies; North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and holding all other bodies that work with children and young people to account on safeguarding - has a website which includes accessible, useful information for parents or carers.