Kids’ funny mistakes can have serious consequences online

A UK safetytech companies is on a mission to make the internet a safer place for children, so that they can explore, socialise and play online without the risk of predation or encountering inappropriate content. SafeToNet believes it is vital that kids are able to express themselves, be creative and learn online by trial and error.

To celebrate the curiosity and creativity of our kids, and remind us that we all make mistakes sometimes, SafeToNet asked parents across the UK about the hilarious mistakes that their children have made. One respondent answered: ‘my son just does normal silly things like eat plastic and mud’, which say it all: silliness is a rite of passage. Here are our top 10 mistakes children have made:

  • Drawn on walls / furniture – “[my son] drew on a friend’s wall – claiming it wasn’t him, but he’d written his name next to the drawing
  • Tried on make-up – “They got into my makeup bag and applied a full face in the time it took me to load the washing machine and tumble dryer
  • Made an embarrassing comment to a stranger in public – “Called a lady “very very round like a circle” on the tube!
  • Accidentally destroyed tech – “[My son] dropped his father’s smartphone down the toilet. Drying it in a bag of rice did not work
  • Said a swear word / profanity in public[He] swore at a tree when it got caught in his jacket
  • Repeated a private conversation overheard at home “He told his grandparents a really embarrassing story which was said in private at home. I had to hush him up very quickly!”
  • Cut their own hair – ‘my daughter cut the front of her hair off because of a Tik Tok video. [The video] was fake but hers wasn’t. It’s slowly growing back, 3 months later. Luckily, we’ve been in lockdown!
  • Got chewing gum or slime stuck in their hair “[He] got tons of chewing gum stuck in his hair, which I had to cut out with scissors”
  • Played with things they shouldn’t “They put sudocrem all over the TV!”
  • Used something as a toilet that is not a toilet “My child used her dolls toilet as a toilet to use herself…[we] didn’t realise for a few days when the room started to smell”

As the part technology plays in our lives increases, so does the opportunity for tech-related mishaps. Children destroying tech sits fourth on our list, with respondents recalling their children putting phones in washing machine and throwing them into canals.

But the stories don’t stop there. One respondent recalls: ‘my 7-year-old daughter used my account details to subscribe to online games without me knowing… until Google play sent me a bill of £170. To make matters worse, it happened on my birthday!

If you thought £170 was bad, spare a thought for the respondent whose child ‘spent £400 on [their] debit card on Fortnite without [them] knowing’!

And it’s not just the children… Almost a third (30%) of respondents have thought they’d lost their phone, whilst holding it, and 29% have been texting about someone and accidentally sent it to them.

Whilst we can laugh, these stories highlight how easy it is for children to make mistakes without being aware of the consequences, especially in a digital world. That is where SafeToNet comes in.

The SafeToNet safeguarding software is a real-time buddy which advises and guides children in the moment they use their device and steers them away from risk, so that they can explore freely and become safer digital citizens– that way mistakes remain just that.

The SafeToNet mission is to help children become safer digital citizens, whilst respecting their rights to privacy and independence. By safeguarding our children from online threats, we give them the freedom to explore, learn, and make mistakes, whilst minimising risk.

SafeToNet’s software uses an AI powered keyboard to guide and advice children as they type messages and use their device and alerts parents to potential risks, whilst keeping interference to a minimum. , SafeToNet will never share the contents of a message, what the child is seeing or who it is talking to with anyone, not even the parents. SafeToNet merely provides parents with a risk analysis and relevant tools to discuss these online risks with their children in a constructive manner. The safeguarding keyboard can differentiate between banter and serious threats, steering children away from trouble by filtering outgoing messages before they can be sent and damage is done. It also provides children with wellbeing support, by recognising signs of low self-esteem, fear and anxiety, and offering guidance on how to deal with the issues of living in a digital world.

Research conducted by Censuswide of 1,000 UK Parents with Children Aged 5-15 on 12.08.2020 – 14.08.2020, Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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