O2 and NSPCC: helping parents start the conversation

Today, I spoke at the NSPCC How Safe conference about child safety online, hosted by our partners, the NSPCC. While there, I heard from experts, young people and fellow parents about the complex issues they’re facing today when it comes to keeping children safe online.

Technology is naturally shaping how children play, learn, build relationships and express their creativity. And I strongly believe that when harnessed correctly it can be a powerful tool to enable shared learning experiences.

But while it does offer incredible opportunities for our kids, it’s not without risks.

Kids today are online at an age where curiosity and naivety are at their highest. They think they know the apps, games and sites they use inside out. But how can kids be expected to recognise risks on their own without advice and guidance?

As a parent myself, I know that handing the visible problems, like screen time, isn’t always the issue. What can be harder is having conversations with our children that address the more serious risks.

I’m incredibly proud of the support that O2 and the NSPCC have already given to parents since we partnered in 2015. With our tech know-how and the NSPCC’s expertise in protecting children, we’ve created a number of simple, engaging tools and resources

We’ve hosted 54,000 parent workshops in schools and local communities and trained our people working in O2’s in over 400 stores. We’ve provided an advice service and launched Net Aware, a unique website giving advice for parents and kids alike. As a result of this work, parents have already taken over 6 million actions to help kids stay safe online.

We’ve spoken to a lot of parents along the way. What we’ve heard is that there’s no substitute for having regular, honest conversations with your children. But we also know that as a parent, time is rarely on your side.

That’s why we created Parents vs Kids, an online safety quiz designed to get families talking. It covers the exciting possibilities of the internet as well as the dangers involved.

Already, the game has got 2 million families talking. We’ve reached 25% of parents with children aged 8 to 13 across the UK. What’s more, 25% of these have gone on to use another one of our partnership resources.

By playing the game, families are finding out just who knows the most about the online world. Crucially, they’re also learning a bit more about staying safe.

Why not get your family together to play, and start some of those important conversations today?