This Safer Internet Day (8th Feb), UK digital safeguarding specialist, Smoothwall, reveals a significant increase in children “at serious risk” online in 2021, compared to the previous year
The 2022 Safer Internet Day theme focusses on gaming and demonstrating respect and relationships online
Data highlights the top three riskiest gaming platforms used by children on school devices
New data from leading digital safeguarding technology provider, Smoothwall, has seen a 71% increase in 2021* of reports of children being identified as in serious risk online through – as detected by the company’s digital monitoring solution.
The monitoring solution technology, designed to alert safeguarding officers and teachers 24/7, identified a serious risk every five minutes in 2021, with every hour seeing a child facing a “very serious risk to their health or life”.
With this year’s Safer Internet Day (8th Feb), focusing on the importance of children understanding respectful relationships while gaming online, Smoothwall wants to highlight the riskiest gaming platforms used on school devices, along with the threats that come with them, according to their most recent data.
The three gaming platforms which saw the highest graded (levels 4 and 5)** safety alerts in 2021 were:
- Omegle – 64.8% of risks
- Discord – 27.2% of risks
- Roblox – 8% of risks
The data shows that across these three gaming platforms, sexual content was the top risk identified, with nearly 1 in 2 (48%) of the alerts attributing to this category. This was followed by cyberbullying, which caused 18% of alerts, and online grooming which caused 17%.
Across the three gaming platforms however, Omegle was where the safeguarding technology spotted the largest risk for online grooming. The platform which allows users to jump into video chats and forums with strangers around the world saw 26% of risks in the grooming risk category.
The top three risks for each gaming platform in 2021 were:
|Sexual content – 48%||Sexual content – 50%||Sexual content – 49%|
|Grooming – 26%||Cyberbullying – 37%||Cyberbullying – 39%|
|Offensive user – 9%||Offensive user – 8%||Offensive user – 10%|
Smoothwall’s monitoring solution works alongside schools to help prevent serious harm to children.
Gavin Logan, Smoothwall’s Executive Vice President said: “With last year seeing nearly all children aged 5-15 active online, it’s more important than ever for education organisations to have the benefit of a human moderated, digital monitoring solution to help detect students who may have become vulnerable from online gaming – as well as from other school activities.
“Smoothwall’s service works 24/7, 365 days a year, and is a virtual assistant to a school’s designated safeguarding lead, removing false positives and sharing risks they need to know about immediately. This means early intervention and improved student outcomes. We hope our latest data helps safeguarding officers, teachers and parents understand the true risks to children while gaming online and encourages them to ensure their school is protected effectively.”
If you’d like to find out more about Smoothwall’s multi award-winning Monitor solution please click here to book a free walkthrough and Q&A session with one of the monitoring experts.