Bute parents attend internet safety talk

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Parents of school pupils on Bute heard a thought-provoking talk on keeping their children safe online at an event in Rothesay on Thursday.

The presentation was given by Gerry Geoghegan, an education support officer with Argyll and Bute Council, and Rothesay police constable Graeme Kermath - and included some eyebrow-raising statistics about present-day use of the internet.

For example, nearly half of parents - 48 per cent, to be exact - think their child knows more about the internet than their parents, while nearly one in four 11-16 year-olds who use the internet at home feel more confident on the internet than they do in real life.

In 2012, more than a third of children mostly used the internet on their own, without an adult or other children present, while 13 per cent of 9-16 year-olds in the UK say they have been bothered or upset by something they’ve seen online.

“What we are trying to promote,” Gerry said, “is good digital citizenry. Our mission is not to terrify you. But we know that children today might not be able to access something online at school or at home, but many will be able to go somewhere else and access it on their phone.

“Parents are often quite frightened to talk to their children about internet use, and that’s mostly because a lot of parents are having to learn it like a second language, while today’s children are digital natives.”

The presentation included looks at the dangers of grooming, peer pressure, social media use and online gaming and featured a series of short videos produced by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service (CEOP). Other similar events have been held at schools across Argyll and Bute.