Children have access to a wonderful and extensive range of information, communication and entertainment systems now; far more than we will have been used to when we were their age. Being informed about the risks and how we can avoid them as parents will help to ensure they can enjoy this new technology without exposing them to the dangers it also offers.
Mobile Phone Safety
Mobiles are a great way for children to keep in touch with friends but can leave your child open to someone you don't know getting in touch with them on their mobile or being bullied through their phone. There are some top tips for mobile safety:
- Remember that smart phones connect to the internet so the same advice for keeping safe online applies
- Talk with your children about responsible use: agree a limit to spend on apps, downloads, calls and texts
- Agree whether to switch them off at night or not
- Discuss rules about not meeting up with people only met online
- Encourage your child to discuss any texts or calls that have made them uncomfortable or unhappy
Many young people play games online. These can be simple ones or large multiplayer games. In these games, people play against hundreds of other people who they often do not know. They can also interact with other players like in a social networking site.
- Talk with your child about same and responsible gaming: perhaps you could set limits to how long to play for; how to behave towards other gamers and agree not to meet up with anyone met through online games
- Consider parental controls for your family and which games and site may be suitable and those that are not – www.pegi.info can give you more information and www.saferinternet.org.uk/parent-tech is a guide to setting up parental controls to help protect your child
- Ensure you know how to report inappropriate behaviour from other players online or content to customer support teams
Adults and young people aged 13 and above can use the social networking site to post pictures, videos and chat to friends. Given the age restriction, we do not actively encourage children of primary age to have a social networking account.
- ·'Think before you post’ – once something is posted online someone can copy it
- ·Protect your personal information, use privacy settings so only approved friends can view your full profile and personal details
- ·Know how to block or delete instant messaging and social networking contacts
- ·Make sure you know how to report anything that upsets or worries you or your child; using the administrator or reporting link for that service provider
If you are suspicious about the behaviour of an adult towards a child, you should report it to the police at CEOP https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
Remember downloading or sharing copyrighted files without the permission of the owner is illegal and puts your computer and personal information at risk.
- Talk about what is and isn’t acceptable to download
- Protect your computer and wireless connections with passwords, up to date spyware and antivirus protection
At school we have a strict internet and e-safety policy and ensure that children are monitored at all times in their use of internet and access of online content, use firewalls and restrict access to unsuitable sites to protect them from exposure to possible threats.
If you are a parent/carer and want to know more about keeping your child safe and ensure they are using internet and social networking responsibly at home you can access the Childnet Guide at childnet: parents-and-carers/hot-topics/social-networking
Online Resources for Parents and Carers
A Parent's Guide to Technology: The UK Safer Internet Centre has created this guide to answer commonly asked questions and introduce some of the most popular devices used by children, highlighting the safety tools available and empowering parents with the knowledge they need to support their children to use these technologies safely and responsibly. https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology
Internet Parental Controls: The four big internet providers - BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media - provide their customers with free parental controls that can be activated at any time. Video tutorials on how to download and use these controls are available on the UK Safer Internet Centre website.
Safety Tools on Social Networks and other Online Services: Information and advice on the safety tools, age requirements and terms and conditions for a variety of online services popular with young people. https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/social-media-guides
Online Gaming: Childnet’s guide contains helpful advice and information on supporting children and young people playing games online. https://www.childnet.com/ufiles/online-gaming.pdf
Music, Film, TV and the Internet: Childnet has developed this guide with the music, film and television industries to inform parents, teachers and young people about how to stay safe and legal when enjoying entertainment on the internet or via a mobile device. https://www.childnet.com/resources/downloading/home
Young People and Social Networking Sites: Aims to help parents understand the positive and creative ways young people are using social networking spaces (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). It also points out the potential risks of using these sites and ways to minimise these risks. https://www.childnet.com/resources/young-people-and-social-networking-services
Where to Report and Get Help
Information about what to do if a child comes to you for help and advice about how to report online concerns such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content or illegal behaviour. https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/
Child Exploitation and Online Protection: A police agency tackling child abuse on the internet. This website includes a unique facility that enables parents and young people to make reports of actual or attempted abuse online. https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
CEOP’s Thinkuknow website contains information for children and parents, as well as a link for children to report abuse online. https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Internet Watch Foundation: Part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, the IWF is the UK’s hotline for reporting illegal content found on the internet. It deals specifically with child abuse and criminally obscene images hosted in the UK and internationally. https://www.iwf.org.uk/
NSPCC: If you have concerns about the safety of a child then contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Children can talk to someone for advice and support at any time by contacting ChildLine on 0800 1111 or chatting to a counsellor online at https://www.childline.org.uk/
Family Lives: A national family support charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life. Useful advice and information is available online at https://www.familylives.org.uk/ and they provide a free confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222.