The digital world creates all kinds of exciting possibilities but, just as in the real world, it also presents challenges that we’ve got to tackle head on. We launched a campaign to speak to thousands of Virgin Media staff about keeping kids safe online – one of the most complex and widely debated issues at the moment.
We know we don’t have all the answers, so keeping up with the ever-changing views and opinions of parents is essential – it’s only by listening to people’s concerns that we can ensure we’re providing the kind of support that’s really needed. And where better to start listening than right here within Virgin Media? After all, our staff are sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and parents too. And with over 15,000 customer facing staff, we have a great understanding of the concerns of the great British public.
First, we invited Virgin Media staff from all over the country to contribute their views to a film, and we’ were inundated with volunteers. Some even travelled from Swansea to Hook on their day off to take part! However, some child protection issues and experiences can be sensitive, so we had to come up with a way of helping to ensure that everyone felt comfortable talking openly and honestly. The answer… puppets!
We recorded some really frank conversations with employees, including both those who are parents and those who aren’t, along with a Virgin Media spokesperson and an independent expert. They told us all about their experiences, concerns and how they try to keep their kids safe, and some key issues emerged, such as online parental controls, protecting children from access to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, grooming, and the importance of talking about the digital world as a family. We then transplanted their voices to some brilliant puppet characters.
We launched the film on our intranet and encouraged staff to join in the conversation – the article is one of our most widely read stories to date and it triggered a big discussion. We asked out staff the following questions and it was great to see them learning from and talking with each other:
- If you’re a parent, is this an issue you talk about with your children, or with other parents?
- What do you think is the most important child protection issue?
- Do you think it’s a problem that kids often know more about technology than their parents?
We don’t pretend to have all the answers – It’s a complex issue with lots of differing views. We’re interested in what best works for parents to help them keep kids safe in the home. We hope you find this an insightful, touching film and we hope it sparks an even bigger conversation about this very important subject. For more information visit www.virginmedia.com/parentalcontrols