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February 04, 2013
Too much attention is paid to pornography and bullying on social media, but researchers say children are also upset by violent videos on YouTube that feature animal cruelty or beheadings and by insensitive Facebook messages from divorced parents. The findings from the biggest survey of young British people and their internet use suggest that government policy, spearheaded by David Cameron, to block sexual content and pornography through parental controls and filters via internet service providers only goes part of the way to securing the online safety of children, the Guardian reported.

The survey, conducted for the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) by academics, asked 24,000 children 25 questions about Internet use, including “have you ever seen anything online that has upset you?”

“Upset is caused by a broad range of issues, very varied, and not all sexual content,” said Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, who helped to devise the report, Have Your Say.

“There is no silver bullet to crack child safety online. Government’s obsession with filtering is OK, but too narrow,” he added.

However, the report also finds many positive aspects to the internet.

The survey showed that what under-11s do most is play games on sites such as Moshi Monsters, followed by schoolwork and keeping in touch with friends. For older children, social networking takes over from playing games.

The research will be unveiled on Tuesday – the 10th annual Safer Internet Day – when a charter of rights and responsibilities for children online will also be launched.