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Online Safety – Advice for Parents and Carers

internet safety

The internet is such an integral part of children’s lives these days. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences.

Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.

As you would protect your child in the real world, you will want to make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing. Like learning to cross the road, online.

Online safety skills are skills for life. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.

Where to start?

  • One of the easiest – and most effective – things you can do is simply talk to your child.
  • Help your child think about who sees what they share, and compare it to what they would be happy to share offline. Explain how everything they share online – like user names, images and comments – builds up a picture of who they are.
  • Agree on some ground rules together – which sites and apps can be used; when it is okay to use the internet; what parental controls will you use?
  • Remember that you can use technical tools like parental controls and filters. Ensure that your child knows about privacy settings on social media apps.
  • Safety starts with you. You can help your child by simply setting a good example online. It’s important to show them what safe sharing looks like.

Innocent searches sometimes reveal not so innocent results. Parental controls can be used to block this upsetting or harmful content, control in-app purchases or manage how long your child spends online. And the good news is parental controls are really easy to set up.

For more on Parental controls- Visit nspcc.org.uk/controls or call the O2 and NSPCC Online Safety Helpline – 0808 800 5002


Useful resources

There are a number of excellent resources for parents. The NSPCC has recently launched their campaign ‘Share Aware’ to help your child stay safe on social networks, apps and games. Their downloadable ‘A parents’ guide to being Share Aware’ is particular useful for parents of children aged 8-12, who are starting to do more online.

The Parent Zone website is a useful resource for parents and families dealing with many difficulties that are thrown up by the pace of technological change, “providing them with the knowledge to make the most of the digital age, creatively and confidently”.

Internet Matters is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides information, advice and guidance on how to keep your children safe online. The site also includes advice for what to you can do on a range of online safety issues, such as cyberbullying, sexting, coming across inappropriate content, and online reputation.

Other useful sites include:

Think U Know: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/

GetNetWise: www.getnetwise.org/

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre: ceop.police.uk/

Chatdanger: www.chatdanger.com/