Online Safety

Why Is It Important?

Your children are online at school, at home and with their friends. Laptops, smartphones, tablets gaming consoles and media players mean they can use the internet wherever they go. Whenever they are online they are at risk from unsuitable content, accidentally disclosing their personal data, illegal downloads, file sharing, spyware, viruses, inappropriate advances and cyber bullying. Children are learning to navigate the world. They tend to be enthusiastic and trusting. The flip side of these wonderful qualities is that they can lack caution and the ability to discern when they might be at risk. When we meet people face to face, they give us multiple cues that help us understand whether their intentions are good or unpleasant. The internet masks these signals and it’s far more difficult to tell whether a person you meet online really is who they say they are. So it’s vital that we teach children how to use the internet safely.

Top Tips

  • Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
  • Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
  • Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
  • Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. 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 discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
  • Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
  • Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses 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 the safety setting you set are being applied.
  • Use 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 they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls

If you have a child who is at, or is due to start, secondary school, read our secondary school advice to find out what you can do to support them.

Twitch-Parents-Guide-November-2018.pdf
7-Conversation-Topics-November-2018.pdf
What-children-need-to-know-about-online-bullying-1.pdf
The-App-Store-Parents-Guide-September-2018-1.pdf
Screen-Addiction-Parents-Guide-091118.pdf
Grooming-Parents-Guide-September-2018-1.pdf

Some other Useful Links