Online Safety

Many Children and Young People use the internet for education, social and leisure purposes. Children are naturally trusting, curious and keen to explore the web.

Keeping up with and supervising children’s online activity can be challenging, especially when they have their own computers, smartphones, tablets and game consoles or they are in other people’s homes. Understand the risks yourself and plan ahead before allowing children access to the internet.

The Risks
  • Inappropriate contact: from people who may wish to abuse, exploit or bully them
  • Inappropriate conduct: because of their own or others’ online behaviour, such as the personal information they make public. They may also become either targets or perpetrators of cyberbullying.
  • Inappropriate content: Being able to access sexually explicit, racist, violent, extremist or other harmful material
  • Commercialism: Directing aggressive advertising and marketing material at children
  • Children gaining access to your own personal information stored on your computer
  • Children enabling viruses or spyware by careless or misinformed use of your computer
Keeping Children Safe Online

There are several ways to safeguard children. Undoubtedly the most effective way is to educate them from an early age about the risks they may encounter when online, what these risks are, how to spot them and what action to take.
  • Set ground rules about the use of the internet, email and texts. They should learn to take responsibility for their own actions and develop their own judgement.
  • Make children aware that online contacts may not be who they say they are
  • Children should keep personal details private
  • Ensure that they use a family email when filling in online forms
  • They must never meet someone they have only met online without a trusted adult present
  • Get your children to report concerns about conversations, messages and behaviours to you or another trusted adult. Encourage them to share their internet experience with you.
  • Get children to report bullying online, by text or phone immediately to you
  • Use parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package
  • Block pop-ups and spam emails
  • Always sit with younger children when they are online
  • Watch out for any unusual or secretive behaviour from your child when they are using the internet
Further Help and Reporting

If you are concerned someone may be grooming or trying to befriend your child – or your child is being stalked or harassed – you can contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or your local police.

Digital Parenting magazine - Distributed through schools and youth organisations, this magazine features expert advice on helping your child be confident, happy and safe online. Bringing together organisations at the forefront of digital safety, it covers everything from helping your child find privacy settings on social media apps, body image and screen time, to tips on building digital resilience.

Think you know – a website for young people and their parents/carers run by CEOP

Parental Control Software - This article looks at the best ways to look after the youngest members of the family when they access the internet.

Communicating safely online - This article looks at basic online activities in terms of their potential dangers, what to do to stay safe and the free help and protection available to users.It covers communication, searching online and sharing personal information.

NSPCC Net Aware - NSPCC and Mumsnet have created a simple guide to the most popular apps based on the experiences of parents and children. Each app has been given a rating for things such as how appropriate the content is, the privacy settings and what the average minimum age should be for children signing up to each one.

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