A COUPLE of weeks ago, it was Safer Internet Day. It was an opportunity for parents, schools and anyone working with children and young people to reinforce the importance of being safe on social media and on the Internet.

The BBC published a survey with some fairly alarming results. It confirmed that more than three-quarters of children aged 10 to 12 had accounts with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram, despite the legal minimum age for most social media sites being 13 and above.

Whatsapp is unusual in that it sets its minimum age at 16. The 13 year old age limit for most of the sites is to do with American copyright laws.

The survey of 1,200 children found that 78 per cent had used at least one social media site, despite legally not being allowed to. The figure for children aged 13 to 18 years increased to 96 per cent.

The survey found that Facebook was the most popular social media site with 49per cent of of those surveyed under 13 using it, with Instagram attracting 41 per cent of the under 13 year olds questioned.

So should we be worried about this?

Among those questioned, in the 16 to 18 year old age range, two in five had used social media to spread gossip, and a quarter questioned had used it to say something "unkind" or "rude" about someone else. More than half had seen online bullying.

Safer Internet Day was backed by technology companies and the government.

The theme this year is to encourage everyone to "play your part for a better internet" and work has taken place in schools across the country to focus on the good and bad aspects.

To find out more, especially about what has been happening in schools this week, follow this link saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2016

The government has also announced the outcome of its review into Special Guardianship Orders or "SGO's", and the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations come into affect for any new application after Monday, February 29.

This means that any SGO assessment report ordered after that date needs to take into account the additional checks and requirements that the new regulations require.

To recap, a relative or connected person who is seeking to look after a child, can acquire parental responsibility for that child in one of the following ways; adoption, SGO, or through a Child Arrangements Order (formerly a residence order).

Alternatively, the relative may be entitled to foster the child if there are care proceedings, and if the local authority have approved them as foster carers, and although the local authority may delegate the exercise of parental responsibility for the child to the carer, they would not actually hold PR, as this would be held by the local authority and the parents.

The key difference between SGO and child arrangements order, is that the SGO is designed to last for the child's minority, and gives the special guardian enhanced PR over and above the parents', allowing them to make key decisions even if the parents don't agree.

SGOs were introduced in December 2005 by an amendment to the Children Act 1989, and are seen as a mid point between adoption when the natural parents lose PR, and the then residence orders, which would put the carer on the same basis as the natural parents.

There has been some concern over recent years that SGOs were being granted too freely by the courts and in circumstances not foreseen by the government when they were introduced.

The new regulations mean that the local authority who undertake the assessments for the court in SGO applications, or within existing care proceeding, are now expected to ask the same sort of questions of the prospective carer as they would for prospective Adopters.

In itself, this may not be a bad thing. If a carer is being expected for a child until he or she is 18, it is right to make sure the assessment does cover every issue.

The only concern I would have is that this might be yet another barrier to keeping children within their natural families, and is another attempt to socially engineer more children into adoption, which appears to be this current government's agenda.