Today, the Childrens Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souzza, released a guide for parents and carers on online sexual harassment and how they can support children to stay safe online.
“The things I wish my parents had known” draws together advice from 16 to 21 year olds on how parents should manage tricky conversations around sexual harassment and access to inappropriate content, including pornography.
The Commissioner’s office began a programme of work focussing on peer-on-peer abuse following research that laid bare an epidemic of sexual violence among teens.
A surprising but overriding message from young people is that parents should start these challenging conversations early. They suggest broaching topics before a child is given a phone or a social media account, which is often around the age of 9 or 10.
The Children’s Commissioner hopes that her guide will serve as a useful starting point to raise awareness and understanding of online harassment, and will complement key messages on the new relationships and sex education curriculum that we are delivering within school.