What can you do as a parent/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.
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety has recently produced a guide for parents on keeping their children safe on line .
Childnet have created a Family Agreement- a great way to start a conversation with the whole family about the use of the internet.
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. Here's a great step by step guide to setting up parental controls from Internetmatters.org.
- 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.
Useful Internet Safety Websites for Parents/Carers
Guidebooks written by parents that explore the issues associated with popular apps, services and platforms used by young people.
This webpage gives lots of useful information for parents on how to keep your child safe online.
Digital 5 A Day
A guide advising parents and young people on simple steps to a balanced digital diet and better wellbeing.
Get Safe Online
This webpage gives lots of useful information on how to stay safe online.
Know About CSE
This website helps young people, parents/carers, schools and other professionals understand, identify and protect against the risks of child exploitation.
Helpful advice and tools you can use to keep your children safe online:
NSPCC Net Aware
Parent Guide to the Social Networks have access to:
This is a great Parents’ guide to technology, highlighting the safety tools available, empowering you with the knowledge to support your child and enabling them to access technologies safety and responsibly:
Think you Know
Think you know is an education programme from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command. They have many useful tips and advice for parents on keeping children safe. You can visit them at: