Below are resources that parents and carers can look at to ensure that children are safer online. These resources highlight some of the latest app and site that children use, and have helpful information about privacy and safety settings. Remember, it is difficult to ensure that children are kept safe online, if those responsible for their safety don’t understand the potential risks. If you have concerns about online grooming or exploitation, report to CEOP immediately: www.ceop.police.uk/Ceop-Report
Think U Know: www.thinkuknow.co.uk
The Child exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have a website which is suitable for children aged 5-15 and has a section just for parents/carers with advice and information
The NSPCC have produced resources for parents, including Net Aware, a tool which reviews some of the most popular apps. The website covers excellent advice for parents about issues such as online rooming, “sexting” and cyberbullying.
They also provide a helpline for parents over the phone: 0808 8005002
The childline website has a wide range of information and advice on both online and offline safety. There is information about online gaming, grooming, and the Zipit App which helps children feel empowered when confronted with inappropriate chat online. They also provide a helpline for children to get advice over the phone: 0800 1111
UK Safer Internet Centre: www.saferinternet.org.uk
UK Safer Internet Centre provides a wide variety of advice and guidance to help you discuss online safety with your children. There are useful checklists for privacy settings on social networks and suggestions to consider before buying devices for your children
Childnet has resources, including videos and storybooks, to help you discuss onlinesafety with your children. It includes advices on setting up parental controls, cyberbullying and setting up a family agreement for safer internet use
Parent Info: www.parentinfo.org
Parent Info provides information to parents and carers about a wide range of subject matter, from difficult topics about sex, relationships and the internet or body image and peer pressure to broader parenting topics such as “how much sleep do teenager’s needs?”
Golden rules for parents and carers
Discuss and agree as a family how the internet will be used in your house.
Let your children tell you what they think is acceptable and isn’t for them to do online, such as being nasty to people, keeping personal information private and speaking to an adult when they are worried. Then add your own rules like how long they are allowed to spend online and not using cameras in bedrooms.
- Make sure that your child understands that their actions and behaviours online can have offline consequences.
- Agree on sanctions for breaking the rules.
- You might find it helpful to write these ‘ground rules’ down as a visual reminder.
Remember these are whole family rules, so consider your own use of the internet and lead by example.
- Think about how much information you are sharing on your social networks about your children and who can see it.
Make the most of the parental controls on your children’s internet-enabled devices and games consoles.
- Make sure you apply parental controls to all internet devices in your household. They can restrict access to inappropriate content and can help you manage how much time your child spends online.
- Make sure your child understands that parental controls are in place to protect them, not restrict them; some children will actively work around parental controls if they feel constrained without knowing why.
- Set up filters on internet search engines to limit the likelihood of your children accidentally coming across inappropriate content when searching online.
- Be aware that internet history can be hidden and deleted, so make sure you talk to your children.
- Remember that filters will never be 100% effective so you cannot rely on them alone to protect your children. It is important that your children understand that they should tell you straight away if they come across something inappropriate or upsetting online
Take an active interest in your child’s online life and talk openly with them about the things they do.
- Talk to your child about which websites/apps they like to use and why; engage in their online world with them.
- Be aware of any changes in behaviour, language and attitude in your child.
- These behaviour changes can indicate that something is upsetting your child online. Children who are groomed, radicalised or exploited online will often be pressured to withdraw from family and friends.
Don’t panic; talk to your children!
- Try to maintain an open and positive relationship with your child when talking about the internet.
- Make sure your child knows that they can come to you for help if something happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable. Many children won’t disclose incidents of cyberbullying or online grooming because they are worried that adults will blame them and remove their access to the internet.
- Ask your child if they know where to go for help; where to find safety advice; information about privacy settings and how to report or block users on their games and websites.
- Explore their games and website together to ensure your child knows how to block and report who is nasty or inappropriate. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply and to keep evidence.
- If the game/app has a ‘parent section’ it’s a good idea to do your own research and find the parental controls or reporting systems yourself.
- Ensure your child understand that pictures, videos or comments that are posted online can be very difficult to remove and rarely remain private.
- Discuss the pressures for young people to send inappropriate or indecent images to each other (sexting). How might this behaviour affect their relationship? Do they know what they would do?
- Young people need to be aware that images can be copied, saved and shared without their knowledge and if they are under 18, they are also breaking the law by making an indecent image of themselves.