Portal for parents in East Lothian

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East Lothian’s MP Fiona O’Donnell has welcomed the launch of a new one-stop shop for parents to help them keep children safe when online, watching films and playing video games.

The online media complaints portal ParentPort has brought useful tips and online safety advice and information together, and organised it into a number of easily accessible top tip categories to help parents learn more about setting up online controls, improving mobile safety and keeping children safe on social networking sites.

Ms O’Donnell MP (pictured) said: “Children are using a wider range of technology – and at a younger age – than ever before. This gives them many wonderful opportunities for both learning and leisure. But it also means that keeping children safe can be a challenge particularly if parents are unsure where to go for help and advice.

“I welcome ParentPort’s new information portal which aims to give parents all the tips they need to enable them to protect their children in a way that works for them. It’s a really valuable resource and I hope that parents in East Lothian will find it helpful when considering how best to keep their children safe online.”

The top tips for parents portal can be found at www.parentport.org.uk/top-tips-for-parents.

Information on the new portal includes:

l social networking - children aged eight to 11 estimate that they have not met around one in eight (12 per cent) of their social network friends in person (an average of 11 people per child) while 12-15s say they have not met around one in four (25 per cent) - an average of 72 people per child. ParentPort provides tips on how parents can help protect their children from the risks that this can present.

l parental controls - one in ten (10 per cent) parents say they do not have parental controls installed on the computer or laptop used by their child either because they don’t know how to do this, or are not aware that it is possible, rising to 21 per cent - 25 per cent for fixed/mobile games consoles and 35 per cent for mobile phones. ParentPort provides a number of top tips on parental controls, including a new guide to ‘Protecting your child in the digital world’.

l mobile safety - children’s access to the internet is not restricted to PCs or laptops. Since 2011, there has been a 50 per cent rise in 12 to 15 year olds owning smartphone devices. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of this age group now has one – up from 41 per cent the previous year. This is significantly higher than the UK average for adults of 50 per cent.

They can also use them to take pictures and videos and post them online within seconds, maybe before they’ve even thought through the consequences. ParentPort provides a number of top tips on how children can stay safe when accessing the internet using a mobile.

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