Share Aware campaign launches

Our new campaign helps parents talk to their children about staying safe on social networks

Keeping children safe online is a great concern for parents. That's why we've launched Share Aware - to provide straightforward, no-nonsense advice for parents of 8 to 12-year-old children1. Working with parents on this campaign revealed the types of concerns they have.

An NSPCC panel of more than 500 parents from Mumsnet reviewed 48 of these sites and said all those aimed at adults and teenagers were too easy for children under 13 to sign-up to. On more than 40 per cent of the sites, the panel struggled to locate privacy, reporting and safety information2. At least three quarters of parents surveyed by us found sexual, violent, or other inappropriate content on Sickipedia, Omegle, Deviant Art, and F my Life within half an hour of logging into the sites.

Those aimed at younger children, like Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Popjam and Bearville, fared better and parents did not find any unsuitable content on them.

We also asked just under 2,000 children and young people which social networking sites they used3. Talking to strangers or sexual content were the main concerns mentioned by children. But they also thought the minimum age limit for signing up to many sites should be higher, despite saying they'd used the sites when they were underage.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said:
"Children are taught from an early age that it is good to share but doing so online can be very dangerous. We must all be Share Aware. This Christmas many children will have been given a smart phone, a tablet computer, or a games console. So it’s the perfect opportunity for parents to have that important conversation with their children about who they are talking to and what they share when they socialise online.

"Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation. Parents have a vital role to play but we want social networking sites to respond to parental concerns about their children’s safety and privacy."
Peter Wanless / CEO

"We know that children do take risks online, sometimes without realising it. And we know some parents feel confused by the internet – out of their depth, and out of control. Our Share Aware campaign gives parents straightforward, no-nonsense advice that will help them to untangle the web and feel confident talking to their children about online safety.

"Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation. Parents have a vital role to play but we want social networking sites to respond to parental concerns about their children's safety and privacy. The NSPCC will continue to challenge and work with internet companies and the Government to make the internet a safer place for children."

The campaign also features two animations to be shown on prime time TV and online. 'I Saw Your Willy' and 'Lucy And The Boy' are engaging films with a serious message that follow the stories of two children who share too much about themselves online. Both films contain the simple message that although children are taught that it's good to share, this is not always the case online.

To find out more about the campaign go to our Share Aware page. You can also join the debate on Twitter using #ShareAware.


  1. 1. The NSPCC is focusing on the parents of 8 to 12-year-olds because that is the age when children start to use different devices to go online, do more online, and start to do it all independently. It covers the transition to secondary school, when children are more likely to want a presence on social media perhaps as a result of peer pressure.

  2. 2. During October 2014 the NSPCC asked 511 Mumsnet members to rate 48 popular social networking sites, apps and games against a range of criteria, including whether unsuitable content could be easily found, how easy it was to find and adjust privacy settings, and how to report concerns.

  3. 3. During September 2014 the NSPCC spoke to 1,854 children aged 11 to 18 at schools across the UK and asked them to talk about which social networking sites, apps, and games they used, what they liked about them and any safety concerns they had.