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.
Keeping Children Safe Online
- 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
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.
Further Help and Reporting
- 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
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.
You can also visit Think you know – a website for young people and their parents/carers run by CEOP
For further information on parental control software visit
For further information on communicating safely online visit
Social Network Apps
There are so many social network apps designed for young people out there it can be hard to work out which are suitable for your children.
That’s why the NSPCC has been working with Mumsnet to come up with a simple guide to the most popular apps based on the experiences of parents and children.
The parents and children who assessed each app have come up with rating for things like how appropriate the content is, the privacy settings and what the average minimum age should be for children signing up to each one.