Call to Suffolk parents to help educate children on cyber safety
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Parents in Suffolk are being urged to help educate their children to be responsible online, with a warning issued that 'online behaviour has offline consequences'.
New national research published by thinktank Demos has revealed that 26 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds surveyed admitted they had bullied or insulted people online.
Remarkably, of those that said they had insulted or bullied someone online, a staggering 93pc confessed they had themselves been on the receiving end of some kind of cyber bullying.
Following the data's publication, services in Suffolk have urged parents to do their bit in educating their children on being safe and responsible online.
Katie Lawson, founder of Suffolk community interest company Huddl, which holds talks giving advice to parents, said: 'Huddl believes that parents need to take action in order to do their bit to make the Internet a safer place, the terrifying stats on cyber bullying cannot be ignored.
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'Children and parents need to be aware that online behaviour has offline consequences.
'Something that starts off as a joke online can easily spiral out of control, young people think that because it is online it gives them anonymity. Parents need to work with their children and schools to create a unified approach based on up to date expert advice, the landscape is constantly changing.'
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Suffolk County Council (SCC) conducts an annual e-Safer Suffolk Cybersurvey in which more than 10,000 children were surveyed on a range of online safety matters, including cyber bullying.
Latest results suggest that cyber bullying has dropped in the county by 4% since 2014, according to the county council, but warned that more continued to be done to keep driving that figure down.
Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills at SCC, added: 'Whilst there has been a downward trend in nearly all forms of online risk taking in Suffolk, it is important to recognise that there is more work to be done and I urge parents to start delivering messages of online safety to children from a younger age and to sustain this support through their teen years.
'We will continue to work with schools, education settings, and other partner organisations to improve online safety in the county.'