EXPERTS are set to discuss online safety for children and young people at a special event held as part of York’s Festival of Ideas.

The 'Social Media & Today’s Teenagers' panel discussion, and a preliminary 'coffee & croissants' fundraiser for the NSPCC, will take place on Sunday morning at the Mount School.

The panel at 10.30am will be chaired by Tammy Banks, the CEO of re:shape, a sexual harm awareness and prevention charity, and the NSPCC’s Head of Safeguarding in Communities, Helen Westerman, will be a panel member.

A spokeswoman said she will be speaking about 'the positives of our children’s online world, and how we can help ensure our children and young people make the most of their digital experience.'

She added: "Helen will also be outlining the NSPCC’s partnership with O2 which has seen the setting up of an online safety free advice line for parents, and also involves online safety parent workshops."

She sad the panel discussion will explore issues such as online bullying and grooming, the effect social media can have on children’s mental health, helping children and young people understand their digital footprints and as per the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign, the urgent need for tough legislation to force the tech industry to keep our children safe online, including powers to punish social media companies when they fail to do so.

Helen said: “I am looking forward to a really healthy and robust debate about our children’s online lives.

"Wrapping children up in cotton wool isn’t the answer. Children need to learn how to navigate the online world just as they need to learn how to cross the road safely.

"But just as we have measures like speed limits and pedestrian crossings, we also need people designing the online world to build child safety into that environment.”

Principal Adrienne Richmond said the Mount School was delighted to support the NSPCC at the panel discussion.

"Today's teenagers are simultaneously liberated and hamstrung by social media's impact on their lives; their digital footprint will influence how prospective employers view them as a potential candidate," she said. "We are looking forward to a robust and thought-provoking discussion which will be of benefit to any adult with a teenager in their life.”

*The Coffee & Croissants fundraiser runs from 9.30am to 10.30am, with tickets costing £7 on the door, and the free panel discussion is scheduled to get underway from 10.30am.