Kids safer playing in parks than online, says NSPCC

Children who play out on the street or in the local park are safer than children surfing the internet, warns the NSPCC in a new report.

Sexting and cyberbullying via the internet or mobile phones have become the new emerging threat, replacing the traditional “stranger danger”, according to the report’s authors.

The report ‘How safe are our children?’ investigated risks to children in the UK and found a long-term decline in violence towards children, but a major emerging threat through the internet.


Findings showed that almost three out of ten children aged eleven to 16 have been bullied over the internet or through a smart phone.

More than one in ten children in the same age group have received sexually explicit messages, and the proportion almost doubles among those aged 15 and 16.

Meanwhile nearly a third have had contact with a stranger on the internet and a quarter of nine to 16-year-olds have seen sexual images online in the last year.


Lisa Hawker, author of the report, said: “We are still trying to fully understand the scale of online harm but children are telling us that cyberbullying, sexting and seeing sexual images online are things that many of them are experiencing.

“Parents are perhaps unaware that when your child is using a computer or mobile phone they may be at greater risk of being hurt or harmed in some way than if they are out and about in their local park.

“The changing nature of the way we live our lives means that actually your chances of meeting someone who can harm you is now much greater through the internet or your mobile phone than through a stranger you might come across in the street or the local park.”


In December it was revealed that the Government would be making sure internet service providers prompt parents to install filters to protect their children online.

And David Cameron confirmed that under the system, when people switch on their new computer, they will be asked if there are children in the household.

Those who answer ‘yes’ will automatically be guided through the process of installing anti-porn filters.

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