A CAMPAIGN featuring hard-hitting examples of the negative impact and 'vile comments' that can face children who game online has launched in York today.    

The NSPCC is showing the first part of a six-week summer series across York aimed at improving awareness of the threats involved with children’s online activity.

A short video uses examples - from real calls made to Childline - to offer essential information and tips on coping with the unpleasantness put in front of young people who access the internet and social media.

This week the focus turns to online gaming. 

The NSPCC says although the internet breaks down barriers to the shared experience in young people playing games, allowing interaction across the globe, the rise of online gaming has increased the sharing of abusive and potentially harmful messages.

City of York Safeguarding Children Partnership is working alongside the charity and provides links to NSPCC workshops, e-learning and signposting tips.

Helen Westerman, NSPCC’s head of local campaigns said gaming has moved increasingly online in recent years meaning children - including the 14-year-old boy who sent in the anonymous detail in the video - can be connected to the internet when playing.

Helen said that sometimes the connection will be to friends or people they know, but there will be times when they encounter players of all ages online.

She said this won’t always result in a child experiencing harm, but as with the wider internet, there will be occasions when people playing online games will be looking to cause harm to others or to children specifically.

The NSPCC campaign head said: “It is vital that parents and carers have regular and open conversations with children and young people about what they’re doing online, who they’re speaking to, and what to do if they’re upset by anything they experience on the internet.

“If, as a parent or carer, a young person tells you they are worried about this issue, try to remain calm. Reassure them you will support them no matter what and visit the NSPCC website together for more information and advice.”

Childline counsellors are available on 0800 1111 or online, and adults who are supporting young people with this issue can phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.