A recent survey of more than 1600 U.K. kids revealed some fascinating results when it comes to kids’ online behavior, leading the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to make some pretty strong recommendations for parents. Remember that tech talk we’ve spoken about on a frequent basis here on Cool Mom Tech? They want parents to be having it with their kids every two weeks. But really, parents should be talking to their kids about their digital lives every single day.

Related: 8 shocking statistics about kids’ online behavior that parents need to know

Turns out, over 2/3 of kids are using apps while still under the age limit; if you weren’t aware, most apps, like Instagram and Facebook, require kids to be 13 in order to have their own account. But that’s not as disturbing as the fact that 1/3 had seen violence and 1/5 had seen sexual content bullying, with live-streaming sites being the worst offenders. And get this: More than 1/3 of the kids had added a stranger to their contacts in the past six months. Yikes!

Unfortunately, parents are not speaking with their kids about their digital habits, and if they are, they’re not doing it on a regular enough basis. As we’ve always said here on Cool Mom Tech, it’s super important for parents to talk to their kids about their social media use — what’s safe and what’s not — as well as what constitutes appropriate behavior on any apps they’re using (including texting).

Related: The deadly Blue Whale online suicide game. What parents need to know. 

As evidenced by the study, this is a matter of physical safety, as well as mental health. Parents should know what apps their kids are using, and then stay on top of how their kids are using them, whether that means setting restrictions, following their accounts, or even having their updates and/or texts sent to their phones.

We appreciate how the social media and the Internet can be a powerful resource and connector, but we understand that as parents, our kids really need a guide to help navigate it, and a safe place where they can feel comfortable to discuss negative things they might have seen, as well as tools to help arm them with the skills they need to eventually deal with them on their own.

Photo via Tom Sodge, Unsplash

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