The Internet can be an extremely useful tool and provide your child with access to a whole new library of information. When online, children and young people can learn new things, get help with homework, express themselves creatively and connect with friends and family.
There are also risks, but by understanding and talking about the dangers you can help keep your child safe online.
It is really important to chat with your children on an ongoing basis about staying safe online.
Not sure where to begin? These conversation starter suggestions can help.
1 Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online.
2 Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
3 Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
4 Encourage them to help someone! Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
5 Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?
The NSPCC have produced a number of useful leaflets which cover topics such as keeping your child safe on line; cyber bullying and there are a number of websites that will provide you with helpful tips to keep your child safe on line.
Internet Matters.org is a new not-for-profit website which acts as a portal for parents to find important information about online safety for their children, helping protect them against online dangers in the process.
Working with experts in online safety such as Childnet, CEOP and FOSI, they have created a number of advisory pages, apps, tools and informative resources within a framework of ‘Learn about it, Talk about it, Deal with it’, such as:
- E-safety advice for parents of children of all ages
- Information on a range of topics including cyberbullying, avoiding inappropriate content and protecting a child’s online reputation
- Advice on how children can stay safe when chatting, gaming and using social networks online
The BBC have launched an interactive resource ‘BBC i-wonder – How Can I Keep My Kids Safe On-line’ which provides tips and strategies to raise parental awareness to help keep children safe.
Other websites also provide valuable information for parents and carers to keep children safe on-line
This video (available on You Tube and CEOP Think U Know website) explains why it is important.
West Yorkshire Police Campaign December 2014
West Yorkshire Police have produced a guide for parents or carers who are buying gadgets such as tablets, mobile phones, games consoles, etc for young people for Christmas 2014 to set the privacy settings on the apps that they will be using before they give the gifts. While using these gadgets is second nature for many children and young people, they can seem quite daunting for parents or carers who may not be as technologically savvy.
The guides provide simple step-by-step instructions on how to set the privacy settings on the most popular applications and games consoles used by children and young people.
Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board
Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board has produced E safety Guidance which highlights some of the risks associated with misuse of the internet, what can be done to safeguard children and young people and includes links to useful websites.
‘Sexting’ is an increasingly common activity among children and young people, where they share inappropriate or explicit images online or through mobile phones. It can also refer to written messages.
As a parent, it is important to understand the risks so that you can talk to your child about how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable.
What is sexting?
‘Sexting’ is the exchange of self-generated sexually explicit images, through mobile picture messages or webcams over the internet.
Young people may also call it:
- Sending a nudie, picture or selfie
‘Sexting’ is often seen as flirting by children and young people who feel that it’s a part of normal life.
Sexting is illegal and can cause emotional and psychological harm.
The NSPCC have produced guidelines for parents
The National Crime Agency have produced a short video and information to help parents/carers recognise when a young person is getting involved in cyber crime. Cyber crime means any crime committed using a computer, computer networks or other form of information communications technology (ICT) and is taken seriously by law enforcement agencies.