● Internet Matters reveals how 2016 is set to be the most shared Christmas ever as it launches a new campaign highlighting the risks of over-sharing online
● 7 billion photos are estimated to be shared on Christmas Day over social media
● Yet only four-in-ten parents have given their children advice, or agreed rules on what content to post online
● The 12 Shares of Christmas – new tips released on how to avoid over-sharing online


Whether it's presents under the tree, mulled wine, mince pies or a favourite family anecdote, Christmas is the best time of year for sharing.

And a campaign launched today by Internet Matters will remind parents to help their children think about the sort of content they share online this Christmas, as record numbers take to social media to post their festive updates.

It comes as new research reveals that only four-in-ten parents (42%), have given their children advice, or agreed rules on what content to post online.*

Researchers have also found that three-out-of-five children (60%) now use the internet alone in their bedrooms, an increase of 18% compared to 2013, meaning it is more important than ever that children understand how to stay safe online.

The number of parents who say they always supervise their children while they're online has gone down in the last three years from 30% to just 19%. Meanwhile, 41% of children now access the internet at a friend's house or on the go, compared to 31% in 2013, which in part may be due to the increasing popularity of tablets with younger children.

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters, said the rise was down to technology becoming more affordable and increasingly more mobile.

She said: "Millions of children in Britain will be unwrapping new smartphones or tablets on Christmas morning and, as our research suggests, many will use them immediately to share their Christmas online.

"While it's fantastic that so many people will be sharing Christmas memories and family moments, it's also crucial that parents are aware of what their children are posting and are getting involved in their kids' digital lives."

Carolyn added: "Parents might be surprised by how much their children will be sharing on Christmas Day, everything from the presents they've received from Santa right down to dad snoring away in front of the TV at the end of the day. So it's important that parents sit down and have regular conversations with them so they can set rules and boundaries.

"We have created some tips to help parents understand the potential risks of over-sharing online, from the amount of personal information they are making available to knowing who they are talking to, and ways to keep it appropriate and fun."

Researchers have estimated that more than 2.5 trillion photos will have been shared or stored online globally throughout the 12 months of 2016 – a 15% increase on the previous year.**

And with this Christmas expected to be the most connected ever, 7 billion images are set to be shared on December 25th on social media.

In the time it takes to cook an average turkey, 1.3bn photos will have been posted online. In the time it takes for the Queen to make her speech, over 5.2 million images will have been sent to Snapchat alone - and if you were to view each one, it would take 600 days.***


12 Shares of Christmas – tips for sharing online safely:


1. Are they sharing inappropriate selfies?

Discuss the reasons why they feel the need to share such images and the potential long-term impact this could have on them if the pictures are used without their consent.
Peer pressure and the desire for attention can be reasons why some children feel the need to share inappropriate photos with their online friends.

2. Do you feel they're spending too much time on social?

Talk together so they understand your concerns. Agree house rules on when and how long they can go online and which sites they should visit.

3. Are they sharing their location through apps?

Make sure geolocation is disabled to keep their whereabouts private. Explain why it's important that they never share personal information with people they don't know online.

4. Have they posted too much personal information?

Talk to them about who they've shared the information with and assess the risk it poses to your child. You can also ask your child to remove the information from their account and help them understand how to share safely.

5. Are they chatting to strangers online?

Make sure your child understands that people may hide behind fake profiles for dishonest reasons and the person they've been chatting to could easily be someone with bad intentions.

6. Are they gaming with strangers online?

Playing games online can be fun and positive but make sure your child understands people may hide behind fake profiles for dishonest reasons and learn how to block and report anything offensive.

7. Do they have hundreds of followers?

Explain that some people may not be who they say they are and tell your child how privacy settings can put them in control of who they talk to.

8. Have they shared embarrassing images?

Remind your child that these images are their personal digital footprint for years to come and advise them to use settings that only let them share with friends they know. If they're not comfortable wearing it on their T-shirt, they shouldn't put it online.

9. Are they at risk of being cyberbullied?

Stay calm, listen without judging and reassure your child that you can help. Discuss any action you may take together. Encourage them not to retaliate and to save any evidence.

10. Do they understand that what they share online can hurt others?

Talk together about peer pressure and how screens and anonymity can lead to behaviour that is hurtful. Remind them there's a fine line between sharing content because it's funny or might get lots of 'likes' versus the potential to cause offence or hurt.

11. Have they been affected by content shared online?

Encourage them to think about why friends may share certain posts. Show them how to gently challenge their friends if they find their content offensive. Remind them they can always talk to you about things happening online.

12. Are they ready to share on social?

Most social media apps have a minimum age rating of 13. If a social network has set an age limit it means that some of the content may not be suitable for a younger child.

Social media use in 2016:
Facebook - 1.9bn pieces of content shared per day, including 400m images
Snapchat - 1.25bn images & videos shared per day
WhatsApp - 1.2bn photos shared per day
Twitter - 500m tweets per day
Facebook Messenger - 350m photos shared per day
Instagram - 100m images shared per day

(sources: KPCB Internet Trends 2016, Feedough 2016, Brandwatch 2016, Statistic Brain Research Institute: 2016)


About Internet Matters:

Internet Matters ( is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which aims to help parents keep their children safe online. It was founded by the UK's four major broadband providers; BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, with the BBC and Google joining as partners in 2016. Internet Matters is an Executive Member of UKCCIS (UK Council for Child Internet Safety) and an industry expert working with The Royal Foundation task force on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, founded by the Duke of Cambridge.


*Research of 1,500 parents of children aged 6 to 16, carried out by Opinion Leader in September 2016.
** Deloitte TMT Predictions 2016
***Snapchat usage figures courtesy of KPCB Internet Trends 2016, based on a 20 pound turkey taking 4.5 hours to cook