Julia Bradbury is a familiar face on all of our TV screens and she is now throwing her supporting behind AVG Technologies work on the Child Internet Safety Summit, which looks to improve child safety while they are online.

Julia Bradbury

Julia Bradbury

We caught up with Julia to chat about the campaign, how she is getting herself ready to protect her own children online, and the television projects that she has in the pipeline.

- You are throwing your support behind the Child Internet Safety Summit, so what was it about this issue that really stuck a chord with you?

I think the research that AVG conducted in the lead up to this conference was just very interesting. This is a time that parents need to be very aware of what is going on in the big wide world and certainly on the world wide web. I think a lot of us have a tendency of burying our head and not learning the information that we really need to.

There were just some statistics on what children had come across online that I found interesting; one in eight children have accidentally looking at unsuitable or disturbing content online, one in six have looked at adult content deliberately, and one in nine have faced online bullying. These are the facts right now and I think, as parents, we have a duty and an obligation to be aware of what is happening in the online world and then to start up that dialogue with our children very freely.

- You are a mother of three so how much is internet security for your children something you are thinking about - your oldest with have just turned four?

That's right. Obviously, my little girls are quite a way off as they are only five months old. It is something that you have to be aware of because the use the internet - in all of our lives - is growing, the impact of it is growing, and our exposure to online content and the world wide web is growing on a daily and annual basis. It is something that I think parents have to be very aware of and I have a personal and vested interest to make sure that my children are safe online.

Really, it is about instilling confidence in parents to help them see that the internet is a good place - there are dangerous things to be aware of - but, overall, it is a remarkable took that we do need to embrace. The open dialogue that we have with our children is incredibly important because if you don't know what your child is doing in the home or on their smartphone, then they are going to run the risk of getting into trouble.

- How internet savvy were you before you got on board this campaign and how much have you learnt while working on it?

I think our generation has taken everything step by step and have learnt as we have gone along. What has become apparent to me, is that I need to take active steps to know more and to be more computer and internet savvy than I was in the past. You have to lead by example as well; you really do have to increase your own knowledge base. I have learnt that Steve Jobs famously limited how much technology was used at home and if the inventor of Apple had that rule, I think that it's a good rule that we can all implement.

- What tips would give to parents who are perhaps not computer savvy but want to protect their kids while they are online?

I think you have got to use the information that is available to you and go to as many websites as you can. Go to the AVG website as it is just an information tool - they are not selling you anything - it is all about helping you and giving you tips. Also, if your kids are using Smartphones, using apps and doing things on the computer, do what they are doing. If they are playing a particular game, play that game on their smartphone and learn exactly what it is they are being asked to do. A result of that is that you will then know some of the pitfalls that may or may not be waiting for them.

Many child-friendly apps ask for a lot of your personal data to be given up before you agree to play the game. You then need to have that conversation with your children and ask if they happy with a particular app taking all of their personal data - which includes their photos and their contacts from their phone? Are they really happy that they are giving away that information to play whatever game it might be? You need to have that discussion with them.

The important thing about the internet is, whatever you do online stays online. It is quite a difficult concept to grasp - especially when you are younger. If your kids are sending photographs - maybe inappropriate photographs - those images are going to stay there forever.

- This is an ever-growing problem that we are hearing about every day, so what more would like to see done to protect children when they are using the internet? Do you think enough is being done?

We are pretty good in this country as we do have public safety filters, which do help to a degree. However, if your kids are very internet savvy then they can get around those. The most important thing - I have spoken to a lot of experts in this area know - is to keep that dialogue and discussion open at home and for it not to be something that the kids do in secret and can't come to you about.

If your child was being bullied at school, you would hope that you have a good enough relationship that they could come and discuss that with you. There's no reason whatsoever why they shouldn't be able to do that if it is happening online; that's all about your relationship with your kids. The most important thing that we can promote is that you are open with your children and they can come to you if they need you.

- Away from this campaign, what are you up to at the moment?

I am on the road at the moment and heading to Anglesey this week. I am filming a new series of walks for ITV; we are filming eight walks all across the country. For the next seven weeks, I am on the road from the beautiful Cotswolds to Anglesey and all the way up to Cumbria in the Lakes District. It is a busy time, working with the crew and spending a lot of time in the great outdoors getting wet. I am also enjoying the sunshine when it is with us - I am hoping for more sunny days than we have had so far.

- Walking has been a big part of your career in recent years and I wondered what was the major draw for you?

My first series of walks, which was Wainwright Walks series, I did more than ten years ago now. I was presenting Watchdog at that time and the series appealed to me because it was very very different to anything that I had done before; it was also very different to Watchdog. The one thing that I have always said about my career is that it is the diversity that is always very attractive and no two days are the same. Doing something that was very different to Watchdog really was very appealing.

I have also grown up with a dad who is in love with the outdoors - he is a massive outdoor enthusiast - and brought me up to have that same passion and appreciation for the outdoors. It started as a little diversion and we thought the series would be fun to make, but it has been the audience that have kept it going. They responded so well to that first Wainwright Walks and people really have given the walks such a warm response that they have lived on.

- You have walked all over the country, so is there anywhere else that you would like to explore?

Oh gosh, I don't know if there is a corner that I haven't explored yet. I think I am going around the country on my third loop at the moment. Sometimes I go back to place and go 'oh, I have been here.' My favourite places are the Scilly Isles, The Lake District and the Peak District - we are very lucky in this country as we have some outstanding countryside.

We also have some great outdoor enthusiasts who love our countryside in all of its forms. It is just lovely to get out there and meet them. In fact, I have started working on a website called The Outdoor Guide, which is a culmination of all of my years of working and spending time in the great outdoors. I am creating an information portal for anyone who is interested in any of the walks that I have gone on.

- You became a mother again earlier this year with the birth of your twin daughters, I imagine you have your hands very busy at the moment?

There's a lot of juggling going on. This is the first work commitment that I have had since the girls were born. They are just coming up to six months and it was incredibly hard to leave them in the morning, but I am trying to limit the number of days that I am away. It is two or three days away at the most and so I don't miss too many bath times. I am then back with them for a two or three-day spell.

So, I just have to do this for the next seven weeks and there is an end in sight. It is incredibly hard, but working mums out there will completely understand the juggling act that we have to do. People have to get on, head down and get on with what you have to do. I do feel incredibly lucky and I am a very happy mummy at the moment.

- So how tricky for you is it to find the work/home-life balance? As you say, so many working mothers out there will be going through the same thing.

Yeah. I think it is very hard. You can't give yourself a hard time and I think it's important that you don't feel too guilty and you do try to get that balance right. My little boy is four now and he understands when mummy is going to work. We sit down to have breakfast together and we have a little chat about where I am going and how long I am going to be.

It is about them feeling loved and you feeling happy that they are secure in what you are doing. It has got to be done and you have to be quite pragmatic about it. As long as you give them lots of love and explain that you are coming back - that is the most important thing.

- You have talked very openly about your own experience with IVF earlier this year in a bid to help women who are going through this same situation, so have you had a positive response from sharing your story?

That is why I did it actually, as there are thousands of women going through IVF in this country. It is a fairly new science that there was a little bit of uncertainty around people wanting to talk about it. People contacted me, emailed me about their very personal stories, asked me for advice, and asked me how I got through it. I think, having gone through five rounds, I have pretty much gone through every range of emotions that you can and do when you are going through something like IVF.

That is why I was as open as I was and I have had a very positive response with women just being very kind but also very curious. On a personal level, I have responded to every email and every tweet that I have got. I have got a lot of ladies who are asking me to wish them good luck, which I am sending them - with positive thoughts - all of the time.

- There does seem to still be a stigma surrounding this topic, which is quite sad.

I think it is quite sad. I understand, of course, that everyone doesn't want to reveal their deepest personal moments and quite dark moments. I felt that I could and I hope that it is a stigma that slowly fades away the more that it is in the public domain.

- Finally, what's next for you going through the rest of this year?

We want to complete this series and get this series in the bag - it will be on air next year. Once I have completed work on this, I will be concentrating on the publicity for the walks when they come on air next year. I will also be promoting the Outdoor Guide and spending as much time with my babies as possible.

Dedicated mum Julia Bradbury recently supported AVG Technologies (www.now.avg.com) in their work around the annual Child Internet Safety Summit, speaking out about her own experience as a parent and why being digitally savvy is now a big part of every parents' job.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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