Department for Education
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Hundreds of schools sign up for first ever national safety tool

The government has launched a new online tool for schools to give parents advice and tips on preparing their children for adult life. 

  • 550 schools have already registered for new online service providing unprecedented advice and support for parents in tackling online risks
  • 1 in 5 parents say they currently feel ill-equipped to keep their children safe on the internet
  • Nearly a quarter of girls aged 9 to 16 say they have been bothered by something online

In a ground-breaking move, the government has launched a new online tool for schools across the country to give parents the best possible advice and tips on preparing their children for adult life.

The new online service, called Parent Info, will give parents the information they need to help them navigate the minefield of issues children can now face on everything from spotting the warning signs of self-harm, to having a healthy body image and managing money in a digital world. As well as giving them the confidence and support to speak to their children on such sensitive issues, it will also provide them with pathways for where they can go for more hands on support on specific issues.

Up to 550 schools are already hosting the new government-funded site and the site itself has had 48,000 page views in the past month alone.

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said:

The internet is an incredibly powerful tool, which is changing the way our children learn and stay in touch. But we must also make sure we do everything we can to help them stay safe online.

As a parent myself, I understand how important it is to know your child is safe and that’s why this new online service is so important. I hope all schools take advantage of this new resource, which addresses fundamental issues like cyber bullying and body confidence - so that they can help protect their children in this digital age.

Cyber bullying, which is now more common than face-to-face bullying, is just one of the areas that Parent Info tackles.

Young people spend an average of 12 to 13 hours a week online and yet a survey by Ofcom has shown that 1 in 5 parents admit that they do not know enough about how they can help prepare their children for the risks of the online world.

We already know that:

  • almost a quarter (23%) of girls between the ages of 9 and 16, say they’ve been upset about something that’s happened online
  • girls are less likely to have a wide range of online safety skills
  • among 9 to 12s, girls are less likely to say they can change privacy settings on social networks (25% of boys compared to 15% of girls), or block messages from someone they don’t want to hear from (30% of boys compared to 17% of girls)

100 schools have already tested and praised the Parent Info toolkit in an extended pilot that launched in January 2015, and in the first few weeks alone, the site had more than 30,000 views, with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Geraldine Bedell, Editor of Parent Info and Director of The Parent Zone said yesterday:

This feed for schools’ websites has had overwhelmingly positive responses in testing, with 100% of schools saying they would recommend it and parents rating the content very highly. We now look forward to rolling out across the country this academic year.

Jonathan Baggaley, Head of Education at the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command said yesterday:

Parent Info provides regular, high quality and easily accessible advice to parents through their children’s school - a source that they trust.

The NCA’s Thinkuknow programme is delighted to be working alongside The Parent Zone in developing this unique service that helps parents develop their children’s resilience to the wide-range of challenges young people face today.

Schools can easily integrate the free Parent Info newsfeed in to their websites and host this advice by simply registering at www.parentinfo.org.

Notes to editors

  1. The Parent Info website and newsfeed platform have been developed by The Parent Zone and, the NCA’s CEOP Command.
  2. Parent Info will provide regularly updated articles on a range of topics for parents including spotting the warning signs of self-harm, having a healthy body image and managing money in a digital world
  3. Thinkuknow is an education programme from the NCA, aiming to protect children and young people from the harm of sexual exploitation and abuse, both online and offline. Further information, advice and educational resources are available from www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

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