Online safety information for parents
Understanding online safety is tricky for all ages. The COVID-19 pandemic means children are online more than ever. Our aim is to share with you advice to help you learn about staying safe online as a family.
Social media and online content is hugely popular and a really valuable resource. However, like everything else, accessing this comes with risks. Whilst not every risk turns out to be a problem, it is our job as parents and carers to help our young people understand the risks and learn how to deal with them, hopefully thereby reducing the likelihood of it turning into a problem.
There is lots of useful information available to help us make sure it’s safe for every child to go online. The information below has been taken from www.gov.uk website.
Understand the risks children may need to deal with:
What they might see or do:
- Seeing or sharing of violent, sexual and pornographic content
- Inaccurate or false information and extreme views
- Promotion of harmful behaviours including self-harm, anorexia and suicide
- Over-sharing of personal information
- Actively or unintentionally getting involved in bullying or hurtful behaviour
Who they might meet:
- People who might bully, intimidate or frighten
- People posing behind fake profiles for:
- Sexual grooming and stalking
- Blackmail and extortion
- Identity theft and hacking
How this could affect them:
- Fear of missing out leading to excessive use or exaggeration
- Getting upset by things they have seen and being uncertain about what to do
- Engaging, or being pressured into engaging in more risky behaviour either by accident or by design
- Developing unrealistic, and perhaps depressing ideals of body image and gender
- Becoming subject to peer pressure or interactions that are intense or too difficult to handle
- Creating an online reputation that may create problems for them in the future
Practical tips to help minimise the risks your child might face
- Ask them to show you which social media apps they use and what they like about them. Talk about how they use them and what makes them so engaging
- Explain how you can use privacy settings to make sure only approved friends can see posts & images
- Check if any of their apps have ‘geo-location’ enabled, sharing their location unintentionally
- Show them how to report offensive comments or block people who upset them
- Check ‘tagging’ settings so that when others are posting or sharing photos online, your child’s identity is not revealed. Also, get people‘s consent before sharing photos
- Encourage your child to come and talk to you if they see anything that upsets them
Keep talking and stay involved
Encourage your child to think carefully about the way they, and others behave online, and how they might deal with difficult situations.
- People may not always be who they say they are online: how can this create problems?
- Why is it unwise to meet anyone in the real world that you’ve only ever met online?
- Even if you think your messages are private, remember that words and images can always be captured and broadcast.
- People present themselves differently online - do they really look like that? Are they always having that good a time?
- Be aware that screens, and especially being anonymous, can lead people to say things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
- What does being a good friend and a likeable person online look like?
- There can be pressure to be part of a particular group online or to be seen to be following a certain set of ideas
- How can you take a step back and make your own decisions?
You can find out more about how children use social media, the apps they use, the risks they face, how to use privacy settings, and advice and tips about how to talk to your children at:
Concerned about online grooming or sexual behaviour online?
Contact CEOP: www.ceop.police.uk
If you stumble across criminal sexual or obscene content on the internet you should report it to the Internet Watch Foundation: www.iwf.org.uk