It’s Safer Internet Day and mums across the country are thinking twice about their kids’ internet usage and making sure they’re clued up about online safety.
And Young Blood singer, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who is also an ambassador for Disney’s Club Penguin internet safety campaign ‘It Starts With You,’ is no different.
The celebrity mum to nine-year-old Sonny, five-year-old Kit and 22-month-year-old Ray, revealed that she and her husband Richard Jones (The Feeling’s bassist), limit the time their sons spend watching TV each day and only let Sonny use the internet at weekends as they fear what he and his younger brothers might see.
The 34-year-old singer said, ‘We are quite controlled with Sonny’s internet use and therefore he is only allowed to use the internet at the weekends. Because otherwise he would be on it all the time – like some of his friends are. He loves gadgets and technology, and is obsessed with it so if we let him on it all the time we would lose days to it.’
She also went on to say, ‘My children don’t have Facebook – they have one [account] in Sonny’s name which we use more as a family thing. It’s locked down and private.
‘I think even as an adult when I first got the internet I was too trusting and you do share information you perhaps wouldn’t tell a stranger in the street or meeting them in a room.’
The singer also worries about her younger sons using gadgets and seeing things they shouldn’t, ‘It may sound silly but even my baby who is nearly two can touch screens and swipe through pictures, so of course I fear what he could stumble across.
‘My five-year-old is constantly asking questions, he sees things on TV or hears things on the radio and he has a question to ask. As a parent on some topics you find ways of scooting around them because they are too adult and you answer them appropriately. Online it doesn’t work like that, that ‘do I want them to know that’ filter isn’t in place.
‘If Kit was left to his own devices and could write and type then he could find a series of images he finds disturbing. I don’t want him to be looking up anything and not being able to control the result.
‘I want them learn about adult subjects in a healthy, controlled manner. If you were walking your children into school, you want them to walk into a class with children in the same age group – rather than going straight to the sixth form.
‘[The internet] should be used to educate children or allow them to play – it shouldn’t be a tool which distresses them or cause them to think differently about themselves.’
To increase awareness of kids’ safety, we’re getting involved in Safer
Internet Day today (Tuesday 11 February 2014) and we want you to tell us
when you allow your children to partake in certain activities by answering some quick questions – go on, you could win £50 worth of M&S vouchers!
If you have any more questions about how you can keep your kids safe
online or if you have any stories of your own, let us know in our
comments section below.
Where to next?
- How to keep kids safe online
- ‘Online bullies told me to go and kill myself,’ says 16-year-old
- A parent’s guide to the internet