Children are growing up in an increasingly digital world with a bigger range of online activities on offer than ever before and it is sometimes very hard for both children and adults to know how to stay safe.
All parents want to reduce the risks to their children while online. Some simple steps can be taken to begin to reduce this risk. This includes setting parental controls to only age appropriate content, creating a maximum time that an app, game or device can be used as well as setting passcodes or passwords to prevent in-app purchases, protecting the parent as well as the child. Online safety is not just about protecting children from some of the dangers of the internet – it is also about helping them manage their use of technology.
Internet Matters is a site paid for by many British companies. It has a lot of good advice on adding parental controls as well as on most aspects of online safety. Parental controls will only help keep children safe. The best safety feature that a child has is their parent or carer. Take the time to talk to your child about the apps and games they are using. Devices should ideally be used in a public area, where any interactions can be seen and heard. Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes!
The range of online apps changes on a regular basis and the NSPCC have a site called Net Aware. This provides unbiased up-to-date information on current apps and sites along with advice to parents about dealing with issues. As well as this we will continue to post advice guides for parents on popular devices and apps.
The NSPCC have teamed up with O2 to provide advice to parents and have a free helpline on 0808 800 5002. They will also give support in any O2 shop – you do not have to be an O2 customer.
ThinkUKnow is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues. It also has lots of games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.
For the youngest children being tricked into sharing pictures can be an issue. LGfL have produced a lovely free video which has some great advice and a very catchy song!
Many children will at times suffer from online bullying. It is really important that they have someone they can talk to and know that it is not acceptable. Most apps and sites will have systems in place that allow bullying to be reported. We are always available to help.
Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 for advice on anything that is worrying them.
Since 2015 is has been a criminal offence for an adult to send a message with sexual content to a child (This is Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015). If you are concerned that this might have happened please contact The Police without further using the device. This will help ensure that evidence can be preserved. The Police can be contacted by phone or from the ThinkUKnow website.