What can you do as a parent or carer to keep your child safe online?
Helping your child to stay safe online is just an extension of parenting in the real world. You need to understand what your child is doing and what the risks are so you can help them navigate a safe path through the virtual world.
Here are some top tips from the excellent ThinkUKnow website created by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
- Be involved in your child’s online life. For many of today’s young people there is no line between the online and offline worlds. Young people use the internet to socialise and grow and, just as you guide and support them offline, you should be there for them online too. Talk to them about what they’re doing, if they know you understand they are more likely to approach you if they need support.
- Watch Thinkuknow films to learn more. The Thinkuknow programme has films and advice for children from five all the way to 16. Your child may have seen these at school, but they can also be a good tool for you to find out more about what young people do online and some of the potential risks.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Be inquisitive and interested in the new gadgets and sites that your child is using. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to continue to discuss boundaries so that they evolve as your child’s use of technology does.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Your child will use all sorts of devices and gadgets; make sure you’re aware of which ones can connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection or a neighbour’s Wifi? This will affect whether your safety settings are being applied.
- Consider the use of parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
- Emphasise that not everyone is who they say they are. Make sure your child knows never to meet up with someone they only know online. People might not always be who they say they are. Make sure your child understands that they should never meet up with anyone they only know online without taking a trusted adult with them.
- Know what to do if something goes wrong. Just as in the offline world, you want to help your child when they need it. Therefore, it is important to know when and how to report any problem.
ThinkUKnow - The Parents' and Carers' Guide to the Internet
A great place to start to find out more about e-safety. This site is run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). The 25 minute video is a good introduction to e-safety for parents and carers.
ThinkUKnow - Parental Advice if your Children are in Secondary School
With sections on:
- What is my child doing online?
- How do I talk to my child about what they're doing online?
- What risks might my child face? and
- What tools are there to help me keep my child safe?
This is a great place for parents and carers to get more information.
Why not explore this site with your child? Watch the videos together and discuss them.
UK Safer Inernet Centre - Parents and Carers
Detailed guidance on:
- How to set up parental controls offered by internet providers
- Parents' guide to technology
- Advice and resources
An interactive guide to help you keep up to date with technology and how to keep children safe online. Created by Childnet Internatinal
If your child is being bullied or worried about other issues and wants to talk it over with another young person then they can do so at this site. They have a section for parents and carers.
Your guide to the social networks your kids use. Stay up to date and keep your child safe in today's digital world
Below is a list of videos with comment that help to explore various e-safety issues
- Caught in the web – Lonely Princess - A Newsround special programme all about staying safe on the internet. The show, which is voiced by David Tennant, tells the story of a girl called Lonely Princess, who gets into danger after meeting someone in a chatroom. It also has lots of tips on how to be safe, and case studies of children with real-life experiences of how things can go wrong.
- Caught in the web - Online Bullying - This clip shows how by taking someone’s mobile phone, which is preloaded with passwords, people can get hold of your details and use them to send messages in your name.
- Block Bullying Online - General cyberbullying video from Newsround, short and impactful. Shows how name calling can affect the recipient but also how they can report it.
- Where's Klaus? - A clip developed to encourage parents to make the internet secure for their children, so that they can enjoy using it.
Online Safety Advice