Keeping children safe online is an issue all parents need to take seriously due to the increasing access young children have to the digital world.
To mark Safer Internet Day, the Minister is urging parents across Wales to take a greater interest in their children’s online activities and to take action to ensure they cannot and do not access or share inappropriate content.
The Minister’s warning comes after the most recent National Survey for Wales, published in 2017, showed 95% of children aged 7 to 15 in Wales used the internet at home, but only 56% of households with children aged 7-15 used parental control filters on their internet connections to block adult or illegal content.
The latest NSPCC figures show that the police are recording an average of 15 internet-related sex offences against children per day in England and Wales, while figures from Childline show a third of sessions relating to online abuse are about online sexual abuse, with the numbers rising year on year.
Safer Internet Day is a global awareness day to promote good practice in online safety and gives advice and guidance on the risks posed by new technologies such as social media and how to stay safe while using them.
Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies said:
“The first priority for every parent is the safety of their child. Because children are now accessing online content at a very early age, it is essential we equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate the digital world in a safe and responsible way.
“This is especially important these days, because many of our youngest children now have their have their own mobile devices. While many parents buy mobile devices to keep in touch with their children and to know they are safe, the dangers they can potentially pose are significant. The growing number of children being abused online is extremely concerning – and it is something we as a government are determined to tackle.
“We all have a duty to keep our children safe. There cannot be a great priority for us as a society. So my message is clear – in order to keep our children safe, all parents must act and do more to ensure their child’s online safety.
“The Welsh Government is firmly committed to promoting the safe and positive use of technology to our children and young people. But we all need to ensure we play our part in making sure children are kept safe.”