90% of Surrey students flout social media age-restriction rules 


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More than 90 per cent of Year Seven pupils in Surrey are using social media sites they are too young to be on


4:09pm 16th October 2015
(Updated 8:27am 19th October 2015)

Eagle Radio and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner are releasing research for Get Safe Online Week.

It shows that 11 and 12-year-olds are regularly breaking rules designed to protect them.

Holly Powell Jones is a Social Media Law Expert.

She says the worrying trend is that two-thirds are using apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat: “These are private instant messaging services. A lot of parents think as long as I’m on Facebook I can see what my child is doing on social media.

“Actually young people are not necessarily having public social media encounters, they’re preferring to use private social networking services which is harder for parents to keep an eye on.”

Snap Chat restricts under 13s from using the app but more than half of 11 and 12-year-old’s admit socialising on it.

Holy adds: “The idea is that you send a message and then after ten seconds of the person watching it, it will vanish. They think they can say or send things that they would not normally because it is going to disappear.

“There are ways that you can keep track of Snap Chats you have been sent and that is getting young people in trouble with things like sexting and bullying.”

Fewer than 40% of students knew revenge porn is a criminal offence.

In April this year the Government introduced ‘revenge law’ making it illegal to publish explicit material of someone who has not consented for the image or video to be shared.

Similarly 43% of students did not realise that sharing indecent images of under-18’s is against the law.

Follow these top tips to Get Safe Online

  • Talk to your child about what is safe and appropriate to post and share online. Written comments, photos and videos all form part of their ‘digital footprint’ and could be seen by anyone and available on the internet forever, even once deleted.

  • Set up parental controls to the appropriate age and enable access to only appropriate content on children’s devices.

  • Buy or download parental control software, some are free, others can be paid for.

  • Make use of parental controls available for free with the big four Internet Service Providers

  • Know the age restrictions on apps and games.

  • Discuss with older children what they should or should not show younger siblings on the internet, mobile devices, games consoles and other devices.

  • Talk to other parents about online safety and what your children’s friends are using.

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