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How do you protect your children online?

Children as young as five are being targeted in a new online safety campaign by the UK body charged with protecting children from abuse. Is this the right approach?

The campaign, which is being launched by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), uses cartoons to show five to seven-year-olds that people are not always what they seem.

Research from Ofcom published last autumn suggests 80% of children in this age group use the web and one-in-five parents of children in this age group worry about who their children contact online.

What do you think of Ceop’s campaign? Do you worry about your children’s safety online? Should more be done to educate young people about online safety?

Online safety push for five-year-olds

Newsround special: Caught in the Web

Visit Ceop’s Thinkuknow website for advice on protecting your children online

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Published: Tuesday, 9 February, 2010, 09:35 GMT 09:35 UK

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:58 GMT 11:58 UK

"Whether it's TV or the net,parents personal monitoring can be the more effective filter tool compared to any other electronic software or hardware in the market.

arun mehta, mumbai, India "

Couldn't agree more. While it's important to explain safe practice to children and help them understand why they're being monitored, parents actually taking an interest and tracking usage is absolutely key to safety.

Alex, London

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:57 GMT 11:57 UK

"This automatic sending of peoples detail by facebook should stop NOW.

Edward Forster, Kalithies,Rhodes,Greece "

There's nothing automatic about it. There are perfectly good security settings which make people unsearchable, etc; I know, because I use them. You can't find me unless you know my friends (it was my choice to allow even that much), and I'm quite capable of saying 'no' to friend requests.

Alex, London

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:54 GMT 11:54 UK

This is a great idea. Get the kids involved with the Internet, but help parents with protecting children. This should be viewed as a blessing.

I am 50, I have a 7 year old neice that emails me regularly. She is not allowed on social networking sites, despite her pleas to her Mum. Her access to what she can do, see is controlled by her parents and backed up by her 20 something brothers. If the dangers can be taught in a cartoon, great.

You never know who's out there.

Martin Smith, Guildford, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:50 GMT 11:50 UK

The internet is safe as long as I steer my children away form some of the hate-filled posts on HYS

Marlin from Ashford, London

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:50 GMT 11:50 UK

How about parents spending the time with their 5yo's when they are online? Or is that a far to radical idea?
Even better, how about having their little darlings go play outside in the fresh air?
Yes it is a good idea to have this safety campaigne but surely first steps are for parents to take NOTICE of what their kids are doing?

Rosemarie Rourke, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:41 GMT 11:41 UK

Old-fashioned, no doubt, but I'd say it's best to encourage kids to play in the street, join sports clubs, learn to play muisical instruments etc? And parents should just spend time with them.

The internet barely existed 10 years ago. It's not indispensible or a human right.

This whole thing just strikes me as another quango-in-search-of-a-mission exercise.

Apple Eater, England

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:38 GMT 11:38 UK

We need to combat the myth of the digital generation - that somehow the kids are more computer savvy. They aren't. They know the sites they use and little more. They don't know how a PC works, and more importantly what stops it working. The best way to keep your children safe online is to speak to them and educate them. I do not use parental control software yet still know what my children do due to my knowledge. As an IT tutor I promise you are all capable of learning the basics.

D Holmes, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:32 GMT 11:32 UK

This is coming at the internet problem from the wrong angle. The right approach is to do more to stop the Child Abusers from getting on the internet in the first place.

If every convicted child abuser was imprisoned for life or better yet, executed; there would be a lot less abusers willing to risk getting caught.

And before the penal reformers and liberals squeal about driving it underground, I am afraid that it is ALREADY underground.

David Horton, England

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:29 GMT 11:29 UK

How do you protect your children from abuse?

Tape their eyes and ear shut, put them into a large sack filled with soft foam padding, place the sack into a steel box, lock the box with toughened anti-pick locks, store in the box in a double locked room with no windows and CCTV cameras covering every angle. Have a trained and vetted professional stand guard over the room 24 hours per day.

Your child may now be safe.

Glen Thomas

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:24 GMT 11:24 UK

I don't worry at all. I pay well for good quality commercial anti virus and parental control (blocking) software (not the run of the mill stuff everyone & thier dog uses as there are ways found round the commonly used stuff simply because it is popular) & I STILL check what she is accessing. I'm not on facebook for example, but I've made a point of learning about it. It's called " parental responsibility" - which is my *first* duty in life before anything else I do! (a radical idea to some!)

John Harworth, North

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 11:14 GMT 11:14 UK

It is the parents who need to be educated first and foremost. I have three children, all of whom use the internet, aged between 2 and 6. But I limit them specifically to one site which I trust. As they grow older, I shall allow them to use more sites, but also making sure I set the parental controls as a precaution.

Sarah, Croydon

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 10:53 GMT 10:53 UK

The problem nowadays is that many children, especially older/teenagers, have their own PCs/laptops, TVs, DVD players etc, kept in the privacy of their bedrooms, so it is impossible to know what they get up to in behind closed doors.

It stems from peer pressure at school - "My mate has their own PC in their bedroom, so why can't I?", so they're off to their mate's room to surf the net together.

Knowing what most kids are like, if they're told NOT to do something, inevitably they will!

Penny Blay, Crawley, W Sussex

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 10:52 GMT 10:52 UK

If parents are stupid enough to let their kids surf online unsupervised without drumming into them the risks then surely we should let Darwinian Selection take its course and get this idiots out of their shallow end of the gene pool? ;)

Where are the CEOP films going to be shown? In schools? On Facebook/Bebo? Ah, here it is:

******** es.aspx

Buried in an obscure corner of the web as a teaching resource.

[dogsolitude_uk], Norwich, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 10:40 GMT 10:40 UK

Online safety of children is a very serious issue that should be taken up and addressed as early as possible and any action towards this end deserves wholehearted support from society and government.But the utmost concern in this regard is how best this can be done in the present world of almost omnipresent internet connectivity through innumerable wireless devices which are available to everybody without any restriction.Even any kind of restriction is practically impossible in present situation

Parameswaran KV

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Added: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 10:35 GMT 10:35 UK

Easy - don't let them online. Stop letting the computer or the TV babysit for you. Parents are waned endlessly about the (supposed) threat of paedophiles on every street corner, yet they allow their unsupervised kids to do what they like online from 5 years and upwards? It's crazy!

Give your kids a childhood, and don't let them use a computer until they're about 8 years old. Don't give them their own computer until their 13th birthday. Don't let them use it unsupervised until they're 16.

Leon Bronstein, The Ghetto, United Kingdom

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