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Suffolk’s youngest children have greater online access than ever before

PUBLISHED: 10:51 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:51 07 February 2017

A generic photo of a youngster with a tablet computer lying on the floor. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

A generic photo of a youngster with a tablet computer lying on the floor. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Children in Suffolk have “greater online access than ever before,” according to an annual survey.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council

This year’s results of an annual cyber survey show that 83 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds in Suffolk now have access to either a smartphone or tablet.

This represents a 14pc increase in smartphone ownership, however only 58pc of 10-year-olds asked in the survey said they had been taught to stay safe online by a parent or carer.

Despite the rising number of young people with Internet access, Suffolk is bucking national trends in terms of risk-taking behaviour. There has been a three year downward trend in nearly all forms of online risk taking behaviour across all ages in the county. Since the cyber survey results in 2014, Suffolk has seen a four per cent reduction in cyberbullying, a nine per cent reduction in those spending five or more hours online each day, a 21pc reduction in false solicitation and a 37pc reduction in content seen encouraging self-harm or suicide.

The survey, which gathered more than 3,000 responses from children and young people in Suffolk, found that the number of young people who feel confident in avoiding risky situations online increases with age.

The responses from children and young people show that online safety education and advice is making a real difference in Suffolk. However there is more to be done.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “The results from the annual cyber survey show that younger children have greater online access than ever before.

“It is therefore even more important to ensure that parents are aware of the risks and are taking the necessary steps to educate their children in how to stay safe online. We will continue to work closely with parents, education settings, and other partner organisations to improve online safety in the county.”

■ The full report can be viewed at www.esafersuffolk.org

■ The results released today (Tuesday) coincide with National Safer Internet Day. This year’s theme is ‘Be the change: Unite for a better Internet.’ To find out more visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/

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