Are you a technophobe? Do you try your best to avoid any form of technology and dread using the laptop? But is it having an effect on how you monitor and control your child’s access to the internet?

Many parents are left feeling inadequate in their ability to both teach and protect their children online. To get to grips with the web, parents are calling for help as 72% reveal that they are looking for new interactive ways to help them teach their children about internet safety.

Worried parents believe that their child is ‘leaving them behind’ when it comes to using computers and are ‘scared’ at the rapid rate they use them.

Internet Matters, a leading child internet safety organisation, who carried out the survey also revealed that the age at which children are able to play on the internet is getting younger with the current average being 3 years and five months.

Parents of children over 10 years old said their child didn’t use internet enabled devices before they were at least four years old, but parents who currently have five year olds said their children were accessing internet devices from two and a half years.

Sophie and Janet

With the release of the findings from the survey, Internet Matters have launched a new service to give schools access to a range of child internet safety resources. These resources are intended to help teachers inform parents about the best and most interactive tools available for child internet safety.

With the help of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Janet Ellis, Internet Matters has developed Childnet’s Digiduck book into a brand new interactive bedtime story app which helps parents teach children about how to be a good online friend.

Mother and daughter duo, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Janet Ellis teamed up to bring the Digiduck characters to life, providing the voices for Wise Owl and Digiduck as well as other animals on the farm. The app is available to download from 23rd September via the Apple App Store, or Google Play.

Janet Ellis using the app with the children

Janet Ellis, mother of singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, visited St Clement Danes Primary school in London to launch the new resources designed for schools to help parents.

Internet Matters rounds up some of the best child internet safety resources for parents and schools

1. Digiduck’s Big Decision App – A story about how to be a good online friend produced by Childnet International and developed into an engaging and interactive app for tablets by Internet Matters

2. Disney’s E-safety Board Game – A new easily printable ‘board game’ that teaches children about e-safety. Disney also have some great safety tips on their Club Penguin website.

3. Think u know – Information on how you and your children can enjoy the internet safely together. It includes guidance on how to talk together as well as giving practical and technical advice. Specific sections for 5-7 year olds and 8-10 year olds have age-appropriate games, activities and information that can teach children how to keep safe online.

4. The Adventures of Kara, Winston and the Smart Crew – These cartoons from Childnet illustrate 5 e-safety SMART rules and include a real life SMART Crew of young people, who guide the cartoon characters in their quest, and help them make safe online decisions.

5. CBBC – The BBC have developed a dedicated section of the CBBC website to help children learn about their online safety. It’s packed with videos, quizzes and games all aimed at helping children understand the importance of keeping safe online.

6. Virgin Media Switched on Families – A dedicated site to help families navigate their way through e-safety, It has a playbook area and quizzes for children to complete with parents, all structured by age range.

Matthew Weir, who leads ICT at St Clement Danes Primary School said: “At St Clement Danes our computing curriculum develops pupil's computational thinking and understanding of the world.  Teaching digital literacy is high on our priority list and develops awareness of safe and respectful use of technology and how to report it if concerned. Teachers use a range of resources, including those online, during lessons to engage and send a clear message about e-safety.

“We recognise the need to support parents in this area too, so we provide them with information about how to keep children safe online at home.”

Janet Ellis added: “I feel really strongly about internet safety, today’s parents and grandparents need to deal with issues that didn’t even exist when my children were growing up. I’m proud to be working with Internet Matters to make sure both parents and grandparents have access to the best new resources."

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters commented: "It is fantastic to see generations of children grow up knowing how to use technology because it will make them equipped for the modern world when they are older.

"But with this knowledge comes greater fears over what risks children could be exposed to we want to help parents deal with this properly and safely. Schools are vital in the role they play both in educating children, but also in helping parents stay informed."

Internet Matters was launched in May 2014 by the UK’s four major broadband providers; BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. The independent, not-for-profit organisation aims to help parents keep their children safe online.

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