Harry Potter and Doctor Who star John Hurt CBE is behind an online safety campaign urging us to be safe online and not to become a social experiment.

To highlight the dangers of the Internet and how easy it is for others to watch our online activities, Harry Potter and Doctor Who star John Hurt CBE has taken part an online safety video created by the Respect Network.

The video concentrates on the highly topical issue of privacy online and what scares us most about the Internet; that our personal information is being tracked, watched and monitored by any number of people we don’t know.

To watch the video and find out what emotion it stirs in you – click here.

The video is deliberately controversial to bring the very real issue of privacy online to front of mind, as in an increasingly digital world it is important to know what your children are up to online and be confident that they’re safe.

Knowing what your kids are up to when they’re online these days can be a real challenge.

With 24/7 access to devices like iPads, smartphones and laptops, our families are much more vulnerable than ever before to privacy pirates and bad guys on the Internet.

Worryingly, online and social media privacy breaches are becoming more frequent, so it’s really up to you, their parents, to make sure your kids understand that no matter how much fun it is – the Internet can also pose a very real threat.

But before you pull your hair out at this daunting task, Respect Network has come up with a few simple tips to help protect your family online, giving you more time to do the things you love doing, with – or without – your kids!

Think before you post.

Encourage your children to think before they post anything online. Is it a piece of information that they’d share with all their school friends?

A good guide for this is if they wouldn’t do something in real life, they shouldn’t do it online.

Be online with them

Spend time looking at things online together.

Let your child see what you’re looking for on the web and discuss the results you’re getting.

For example, if you’re booking a holiday online – show your child the websites you’re using, how the search function works, and let them have a go at searching too.

Establish basic rules around sharing

Next time you feel like sharing an update on one of your social channels, talk your child through your thoughts first.

Make sure they understand that whatever they share exists on the Internet forever and can be altered or shared beyond the people they shared it with.

Have some fun with them too though and let them have a go at posting their own pictures!

Set a time limit on daily Internet use

Kids need structure and guidelines. Whilst they need to develop their online skills it is equally as important to develop socially and physically.

If left to their own devices many kids would spend all day online.

Whilst keeping them out of trouble elsewhere it’s not going to help them grow into well rounded individuals.

Don’t save passwords or money details

Set different passwords for different accounts and make sure you don’t select the ‘remember me’ option. Equally if you use your credit card details online to purchase items, never save your card details to your account.

This way if your child is visiting the same social sites or shops they can’t access your information or purchase anything without specifically asking for your permission.

You don’t want a ute full of toys arriving at your door and a shock credit card bill to boot!

Trust is key

Many children are more tech savvy than their parents and will probably pick up how to use the tools much quicker than you!

Remember to trust them and give them time online alone to play a game or watch a video.

At the same time, make sure they know the difference between an online friend and a real friend and encourage them to never divulge their location, age or any personal details about themselves.

Consider monitoring their activity

Obviously the concern here is the invasion of their privacy.

We’re not suggesting that you snoop through every single one of their interactions online, but for you to keep an eye on their activity and what websites they are using.

The Internet isn’t a private place – everything we post is public. So why should it be OK for everyone else to see your kids online activity but not you?

Technology is inherently part of the world we live in today. We can’t hide children from it, nor can we ban it at home. Instead we need to give kids the knowledge and skills to become tech savvy and ethical digital citizens.

The Cynja
You might also be interested to know that The Cynja, a graphic novel series that uses a new class of superhero to introduce kids to the world of cybersecurity, has become a founding partner of Respect Network. Together they are working towards bringing privacy online. Visit here to find out more.

About John Hurt
John Hurt starred in Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as Mr Ollivander and the War Doctor respectively. He was the voice of the Dragon in the TV series Merlin and Aaragon in Lord of the Rings.
John is also known for his performances in The Elephant Man, Midnight Express, V for Vendetta, Capital Corelli’s Mandolin, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the iconic scene in Alien.
He was also the star of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the iconic film based on George Orwell’s book that depicts a dystopian society, where we are watched and tracked by Governmental authorities – sound familiar?
John has received two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe Award, and four BAFTA Awards.
About Respect Network
Founded in 2011 and now a coalition of 72 Founding Partners, the Respect Network is the world’s first global network for trusted private data sharing. It enables people and businesses to share sensitive private data like medical records, financial records, insurance records, and family records just as easily as they can share data publicly on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ today. Visit www.respectnetwork.com.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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  • Thank you for this article, so important.


  • For the younger ones, you have the computer in an open area where you can see what they are doing. You have security that blocks certain things. When they’re older, tweens and teens, that’s when it becomes more challenging to keep an eye on


  • Thank you for posting this very insightful post. It was very informative and something to think about


  • Rules and time limits on these things are essential. I haven’t let my kids go online yet but as they grow older rules will need to be established.


  • Make sure you know what games your children are playing and make sure they will not cause any anxiety


  • I worry about the safety of being online at times…. trying to keep up with it all is a struggle, which sites are safe etc….




  • Thanks for sharing this important and informative information and link; very helpful! Important to protect our children and their online safety.


  • Some great advice. Mine is too young at the moment for internet, but something to be aware of in the future.


  • it is a hard one especially when they have their own tablets for school although I do try to run it all through their minds all the time thanks


  • This is a work in progress in our house and something we’re constantly talking through. Some great tips too. The video was a little chilling.


  • As a teacher and a parent I couldn’t agree more with absolute vigilance when it comes to on-line safety. Our children are growing up in a different world, where everything is quite literally at their finger tips. It is our duty to equip them with the skills, knowledge and right judgement to make the right choices when on line and to teach them that not everything they read is true.


  • Great tips – thanks for sharing


  • Interesting article. thanx. I am weary about putting certain things on the net even when it comes to the mom site. Photo’s for instance, once they are out there, there is no way to get them back.


  • This is a subject I really worry about with my kids. I frequently talk with them about internet safety.


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