Tuesday, 11 February 2014



New research from Disney’s Club Penguin reveals parents believe that inteRnet safety should be  the fourth R

·       1 in 4 kids aged between six and 12 confess to sharing personal information online with strangers
·       Around 30% of parents cite a compulsory log in for all internet users if they could make one change to the internet
·       Club Penguin launches online safety sessions in Disney Stores on Safer Internet Day to tackle e-safety concerns head on
·       Strictly star, and mother of three, Sophie Ellis-Bextor encourages kids and parents to pledge to make the web a better place, as a part of Disney’s Club Penguin's online safety campaign, It Starts with You

New research reveals that 80% of mums and dads feel so concerned about online safety that they believe it should become the fourth educational R, and join reading, writing and arithmetic as one of the basic schooling skills taught in the classroom, as reported by a new study from Disney’s Club Penguin.

The report, conducted by the virtual world as part as its ongoing safety initiative, It Starts with You, polled 1,000 parents with children aged six to 12 year olds and their kids, about internet safety, what they think is acceptable behaviour online, and the changes that they would most like to make to the internet, in keeping with Safer Internet Day’s 2014’s theme of “let’s create a better internet together”.

Not speaking to strangers is the number one life lesson children are taught in the real world, however, when it comes to the digital world, one in four (25%) young people aged six to 12 years old confessed that they think it is acceptable to share personal information online, including their full name and address, passwords and images, with people they don't know. Yet despite mums and dads calling for internet safety to become a matter of course in the classroom, worryingly,  almost one in six (15%) also admitted they think the sharing of such personal information with strangers is appropriate.

The report unveiled that more than a third (36%) of mums and dads admit to not regularly monitoring their children's use of the web, and found that families aren't aware of the rules of the road when it comes to online safety.  Those parents who did admit to overseeing their kids’ online use, cite making sure that they are not speaking to strangers online (43%), or not spending too much time online (24%) as the top two reasons. 

Almost a third (27%) of parents stated that they don't think that there is enough being done to help educate children about online safety, with half calling for more to be done by schools, internet providers and third parties to teach kids e-safety.  Furthermore, whilst some parents (9%) believe the safety features on their children's device will keep them safe, more than one in three (36%) confess to feeling baffled by over-complicated user manuals when it comes to setting them up. One in five (20%) admit to only bothering putting them in place on devices that belong to their children. 

This call for education, coupled with parent's lack of knowledge when it comes to internet-enabled devices, has led to the world’s largest virtual world Disney’s Club Penguin taking steps to tackle these issues head on.  To help parents and kids, learn the rules of the online road, Disney’s Club Penguin will be holding free online safety sessions for parents and children across the UK on 15th February, in addition to hosting  a special session with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on Safer Internet Day. Fully trained ambassadors from Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP) will be on hand in store providing help and advice for young people on how to navigate safely in the digital world. The Geek Squad will be available to teach mums and dads how to set up those all-important parental controls, so children can surf the web worry free.

Lucy Woodward, Interactive Live Services Director at Club Penguin comments: “‘As a mum, I know how hard it can be to feel 100% confident having conversations with your children about online safety, especially when it feels like your kids are more comfortable with the internet and technology than you are! That's why we seek to give parents the tools to support, and educate them, as well as empowering kids to take the lead in making the internet a better place. We want parents and kids to make their pledge to making the web a safer place this Safer Internet Day – it really does start with you!

As well as a host of handy tools and resources made available for mums and dads, including a special online safety e-hotline*, parents and children will also be encouraged to make their pledge for a better internet on the Disney Club Penguin website here: [link]. Kids will also be able to take the lead in making the online world a safer place by completing a specially designed e-safety quiz online, here [link].

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Disney’s Club Penguin ambassador comments: “My children are all different ages but have all grown up with the web, so it’s important that I know how to make sure that they are safe online, like I do in the real world. It’s great that Club Penguin is helping parents and kids learn the rules of the online road. The internet is an amazing place for learning and discovery, but the potential threats to kids are real, so we need to make sure that parents and children know how to navigate the internet safely.”

Disney’s Club Penguin’s study also revealed that:

·       Close to 30% of children (26.8%) would put “internet police” in power if given the tools to create the internet, with parents citing “appropriate content” for kids (32%), “filters and safety technology” (24.9%) and” internet police” on their top internet wish-list (18.2%) 
·       Children’s mot preferred single change to the internet would be safe sites that are checked (27%). Meanwhile parents’ more popular change was online log-ins for users (27%)

It Starts with You, sees Disney’s  Club Penguin partner with Childnet and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and aims to empower kids to take the lead in spreading positive behaviour online, and give their parents the tools to better support them.  Disney’s Club Penguin has seen 200 million penguins created since launch and spans 190 countries from the UK to Chile across computer and iPad, with more multiplatform launches set to be announced.  Parents and young people can visit www.clubpenguin.com/safety to discover how to make the online world a better place. It Starts with You!