Despite repeated e-safety lessons and assemblies about safe online friends it is alarming to see that many children at school still have online friends, on networks such as Instagram or Moshi Monsters, who they have never met in real life. It is often forgotten by children that people not know to them online are strangers just as people not know to them in ‘real life’ are.
Children are regularly reminded of the dangers of making online friendships with strangers. It is very easy to lie about your identity when hidden behind a computer screen and it is easy to forget this.
As much as we remind children in school about only making online connections with people they know the identity of, most use of social networks and messaging apps by our children is in their own time on personal smart phones, tablets and home computers – areas we have no ability to police.
It is recommended that parents talk to their children about who their online friends are. They may have excellent security settings in place but if they accept friends requests from anyone who asks they are still in danger.