Facebook creates Parents Portal to help keep children safe online

14 Dec 201652 Shares

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The new portal is designed to empower parents to keep their children safe in the online world. Image: Andrey Popov/Shutterstock

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Social network giant Facebook has developed a Parents Portal to help tackle the spiralling issue of child safety online.

The move comes after the ISPCC painted a damning picture of child safety online in 2016, whereby children are suffering stress and anxiety and all kinds of threats while parents, teachers and the tech industry have no cohesive plan.

Bullying, abuse, porn, sextortion, public humiliation and grooming are just some of the issues that children as young as five are witnessing – mostly unsupervised – in the online world, the ISPCC warned yesterday.

‘In every aspect of development, from learning to cross the road, ride a bike or swim, parents teach, guide and support their children. It should be no different when it comes to their online lives’
– SIMON GREHAN

In schools, teachers aren’t equipped or trained to intervene in the fast-moving digital world where traumas are occurring daily behind locked screens.

Parents don’t understand the technology while the tech companies are sweeping ahead with their own innovation agenda, without considering the consequences.

Legislators have consistently failed to keep up with technology and develop legislation to protect people online and punish perpetrators of crimes.

In a move to help boost parents’ ability to protect their children in the out-of-control online world, Facebook has launched the Parents Portal, which has new resources for parents to help foster conversations with their children about staying safe online. The hub is a new addition to the updated Facebook Safety Centre which was launched in November.

“We take safety on Facebook very seriously,” Julie de Bailliencourt, safety policy manager for Facebook EMEA explained.

“By working with experts to help shape our products, policies and community education programmes, we can create a safe space for everyone to communicate and share.”

“Every day, parents come to Facebook to ask for advice in Groups, share pictures of their kids or just stay connected with family in different places. And for many parents, they also have questions about how Facebook works once their children join. That’s why today we are launching the Parents Portal, a new section of the Facebook Safety Centre.”

Online should be part of life lessons

Simon Grehan from Webwise, the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre, which is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the EU Safer Internet Programme, said that safety in the virtual world should be comparable to the lessons parents teach their children about the physical world.

“In every aspect of development, from learning to cross the road, ride a bike or swim, parents teach, guide and support their children.

“It should be no different when it comes to their online lives. The new Parents Portal from Facebook is a valuable resource for parents to assist them in ensuring their children have a safe, positive online experience,” Grehan said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com