WEDNESDAY 29 MAY 2019 10:55 AM


The Corporate Engagement Awards is taking place on 12 June. The NSPCC is shortlisted for the awards

The internet has revolutionised mass communication and made unmistakable changes to our everyday lives. However, the rapid change has in some cases left society racing to catch up with developing web technology. One major example of this is child safety online.

The NSPCC’s goal is to end cruelty and abuse to all children in the UK, and we’re working to ensure there are equal safeguards online and offline – after all, we know that for most young people there is very little distinction between these worlds.

Unfortunately, children face many dangers online, with one in four under the age of 13 receiving messages involving grooming, sexual harassment and bullying. And with 77% of parents concerned about online safety but finding it hard to have a positive conversation with their children about it, we knew we needed to do more to support families and help keep kids safe online.

This required not only financial backing but a long-term strategic partnership. A partnership, that enabled both organisations to utilise their expertise and range of assets to make a social difference.

The NSPCC teamed up with O2 in 2015 because they were keen to embed online safety and behaviour change at the core of the culture of the company, and for us we wanted to better understand tech and fulfil one of our five strategic aims of keeping children safe online.

Setting out to tackle the issue of tech safety would need a bold and different approach, one in which parents and kids could have these conversations in an open, honest and even fun environment.

We created the first ever online safety virtual game – ‘Parents vs Kids’ – which can be played on desktop, mobile, tablet and even Amazon Alexa. Designed to trigger family conversations and help inform about topics such as internet safety, online slang and general online knowledge, we were able to help more families learn from each other in a fun and interactive way.

To launch the quiz, there was a highly successful promotional campaign which utilised celebrity support, the media and employees across both the NSPCC and O2. Spice Girl, Geri Horner and TV presenter, Stacey Solomon both played the game with their children showing other parents how Parents vs Kids can be used to learn more about the online world together, which in turn drove PR and gained traction on social media. What’s more, O2 promoted the game on O2 Priority and through Family Plan, and used their hundreds of stores and online safety Guru network (which has been trained by the NSPCC) to showcase the quiz.

Independent research showed we smashed our target, and Parents vs Kids created a wide society benefit, driving over 2m meaningful conversations about online safety with families as a result of playing the quiz.
We are continuing to build on this strong foundation by expanding Parents vs Kids with new and updated questions and making it even more accessible. And as web technology continues to grow we strive to stay up-to-date with what children are doing online, so we are able to reflect this in our partnership services and keep more children safe.

Tony Stower is the head of child safety online at the NSPCC

To book your place at the Corporate Engagement Awards, click here.