Many children and young people use the internet every day for things including education, social media and playing online.
The internet can an amazing tool if used safely and appropriately. Unfortunately, not everyone respects this and so it is imperative that children understand how to keep safe.
What are the risks online?
There are many risks to children and young people on the internet including, cyber bullying, access to pornography, sending, receiving and viewing indent images and videos, online grooming, illegal downloading and file sharing, information sharing and posting on social media.
How do I keep my child safe online?
- Maintain an open dialogue with your child and encourage them to talk to you about their internet use: for example who they’re talking to, services they’re using, and any issues they may be experiencing.
- Create a family agreement to establish your children’s boundaries, and your expectations, when on the internet
- Give your child strategies to deal with any online content that they are not comfortable with – such as turning off the screen, telling an adult they trust and using online reporting facilities
- Consider using filtering software to block unwanted content. In addition to filtering, remember that discussion with your child, and involvement in their internet use, are both effective ways to educate them about the internet
- Encourage your children to ‘think before you post.’ Online actions can impact not only yourself but the lives of others. Content posted privately online can be publicly shared by others, and may remain online forever
- Understand the law. Some online behaviour may break the law, for example when downloading or sharing content with others.
- Familiarise yourself with the privacy settings and reporting features available on popular sites and services
- If your child is being bullied online, save all available evidence and know where to report the incident, for example to the school, service provider, or the police if the law has been broken
- Familiarise yourself with the age ratings for games and apps which can help to indicate the level and suitability of the content. Also see if online reviews are available from other parents as these may be helpful
- Set up a family email address that your children can use when signing up to new games and websites online
- Encourage your children to use nicknames (where possible) instead of their full name online, to protect their personal information, and create strong passwords for every account
- Set up a PIN or password on devices to help protect personal information
Where can I get help and advice?
Internet Matters – What issues could be affecting your children? Get to grips with what they may come
across on the internet and how to get help if you need it. Find out what to do if you’re worried about anything you or your child has seen online.
ThinkUknow – ThinkUknow has launched #Liveskills – a popular online activities for children and young people. Apps such as Musical.ly, Live.me, Periscope and YouNow are all soaring in popularity, which has seen other well established apps such as Facebook adding live streaming functions.#LiveSkills explores the nuanced features of live streaming and the specpackage of resources focusing on live streaming. Live streaming is increasingly becoming one of the most ific risks children and young people can face.
Childnet – A non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
CEOP – Has someone acted inappropriately towards your child online? It may be sexual chat, being asked to do something that made them feel uncomfortable or someone being insistent on meeting up. You can report it to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
Revenge Porn Helpline – Call the Revenge Porn Helpline for free, confidential advice and support. Whilst they cannot guarantee removal of all images online, their exceptional partnerships with internet industry partners allows them to minimise the reach, and some of the harm caused by revenge porn.