Ways of accessing the internet are increasing. Most apps/games/operating systems come with everything switched on, often allowing personal information to be shared unwittingly. Unless a parent modifies the settings, potentially, you are allowing your child unfettered, unrestricted, unsupervised access to the internet and they can be contacted by anyone. Even though it is not the primary use of these devices, the internet can be accessed through technology such as Kindles, games consoles, phones and ipods.
This website below is run by Safer Internet, who promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people.
It offers a wealth of information for parents about keeping your child safe online. It also includes directions to services which can offer parents technical advice (such as how to set up privacy controls on Minecraft, how to disable location tracking so your children are not revealing their location through any images they post) through the helpline run jointly by O2 and the NSPCC on this number :- 0808 800 5002.
If you are worried about something that has happened to yourself or others online
Children and Parents can speak with Teachers, Childline or the Police if they are worried about something that has happened to themselves or others online. Your children and yourselves can report concerns to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
Speaking with your child about e-Safety
The Children’s Commissioner produced a report in 2017 titled ‘Growing Up Digital’ which opens with the line “The internet is an extraordinary force for good but it is not designed with Children in mind.” The report explains that younger children do view parental intervention as positive whereas older children may be more ambivalent, perhaps regarding parents (or other adults) as invading their privacy.
It is essential that parents know what their child is up to online. Research by Ofcom shows that the vast majority of parents of Primary age pupils use at least one of the methods below to meditate their child’s internet use:
• using technical tools
• regularly talking to their children about managing online
• supervising their child
• having rules (about access to the internet and/or behaviours while online)
Although adults may not necessarily have an interest in, or the technical knowledge around, the latest youtube video or computer game, children will always benefit from an adult’s perspective and life experience to help navigate the digital world.
We encourage the children to speak with trusted adults about their activities online. If your child reveals they have seen or done something online they need to know you won’t be angry but, in the long term, will be happy and relieved they have spoken to you and that you can find ways to help.
Today’s children may need help with any online safety issues such as - privacy, online reputation, gaming, grooming, cyberbullying, sexting, fraud, unsolicited content, inappropriate behaviour on social media, extortion, illegal content, online rationalization, eating disorders, self-harm, online harassment and other concerns linked to the internet.
Limiting screen use
Advice on screen time and your child – from the NHS.
Thoughts on ‘Managing Screen Time on Tablets, Phones and Computers’ from Fundamentally Children – an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play.
Social Media Use
For the vast majority of social media sites, the very minimum age for use is 13. Age restrictions matter; some of the many reasons for these restrictions are further elaborated, but not restricted to, points in this article ‘Why Social Media Age Restrictions Matter’
Childnet have published this advice to parents about how to talk to your children about social media.
In School, some of our safety teaching covers how to recognise and to be aware of the risks when online and how to think critically about the content they see and the people they interact with. Children are encouraged to never do anything online that they would not be happy to see on the front page of a newspaper. They are encouraged to THINK before they post.
T = Is it True?
H = Is it Helpful?
I = Is it inspiring?
N = Is it Necessary?
K = Is it Kind?
Further resources (grouped by age appropriateness) for children and parents can be found on this website.www.thinkuknow.co.uk