Parents urged to take more action after survey shows children reveal personal details to strangers online

The survey from the NSPCC and O2 showed almost a third of children in the north west reveal personal details online, such as their school or email address
The survey from the NSPCC and O2 showed almost a third of children in the north west reveal personal details online, such as their school or email address
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Almost a third of children in the north west have given their personal details to people they meet online, according to a new survey.

The survey, from children’s charity NSPCC and telecoms firm O2 showed 28.2 per cent of the children in the north west questioned had given out their personal details to people they have met online.

The national survey of 2,000 children also revealed their social media profiles contained potentially sensitive information, with almost a quarter displaying their email address and eight per cent showing their phone number. Some even revealed their home address. Seemingly innocent details such as pets’ names (25 per cent) and the school they attend (24 per cent) were the most frequently revealed.

It was also found that, from a list of 36 apps, children were most likely to say they used YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Roblox regularly. But just 37 per cent of children feel their parents understand YouTube, with that figure dropping below 10 per cent for Snapchat and Roblox.

The news comes as O2 and the NSPCC relaunch Net Aware, a website designed for parents to learn more about the latest apps, sites and games their children are using, along with technical and safeguarding tips.

The survey results also showed that parents are more likely to talk to their children about safety in the real world versus the online world.

While 82 per cent of parents speak to their kids about wearing a seatbelt, and 81 per cent tell children about the importance of saying no when they are asked to do something they’re uncomfortable with in the real world, less than two-thirds (65 per cent) of parents check who their kids talk to online.

When it comes to devices, parents are strictest about phones (40 per cent), followed by tablets and video game consoles. Just eight per cent of children felt their parents were strictest about them using a laptop.

Ann Pickering, Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff at O2, said: “Apps and social media are a brilliant way of keeping in touch with friends and making you feel less alone, but it’s vital that parents understand and talk to their kids about the potential dangers too.”

Laura Randall, Associate Head of Child Safety Online, NSPCC, said: “It is vital parents think of the online world in the same way as the real world. They wouldn’t send their child on a school trip without checking where they are going and who they are going with. The same level of scrutiny should apply to any app or game their child is using.”

Net Aware is free to access at https://www.net-aware.org.uk.