Online safety trial in Leeds

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Parents in the city will be among the first in the country to use a new scheme to help keep their children safe online.

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Leeds has been chosen as one of four areas in the UK to trial the project providing free interactive workshops in schools and workplaces from January to help parents brush up their digital skills.

Run by O2 tech experts, and NSPCC staff, the workshops will equip parents with the skills they need to talk with their children about how to stay safe online. The online safety partnership between O2 and the NSPCC aims to give parents what they need to help their children explore the internet safely.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “Sadly we know that children up and down the country are struggling because of difficult experiences online. Thousands of young people contact us about issues such as online grooming, cyber bullying and after viewing sites which encourage eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. We need to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to protect themselves.”

A new free helpline for parents has been launched offering advice on areas such as privacy settings and parental controls.

O2 will also zero-rate ChildLine online, making it free for children and young people.

The announcement comes as a survey of parents reveals that thousands of children are potentially missing out on vital online advice and support at a crucial time in their development.

The YouGov survey of parents of children aged eight to 13 years old suggests a ‘digital delay’ as parents may be postponing conversations with their children about staying safe online.

MP Rachel Reeves.

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