In rapidly expanding world, children are often using the internet on a daily basis. Whilst this is exciting and provides children with the opportunity to be the leaders in their own learning, it also opens up more things to be aware of. And this can be tricky.
We have put together a little guide to help you, as parents and carers, to keep children safe online.
What are the risks?
Knowing the potential risks is the first step in helping to protect your children. The main dangers associated with children’s use of the internet are:
Privacy –Is their social networking profile set to open? Can anyone or friends of friends see everything they share?
Grooming – Are they in contact with someone they have not met before?
Sexual images – 11% of children in the UK have encountered sexual images online and 12% of 11-16 year olds have received them – EU Kids Online II
Cyberbullying – 21% of UK children say they have been bullied and 8% say this occurred on the internet – EU Kids Online II
Harmful content – 19% of UK 11-16 year old internet users have seen one or more type of potentially harmful user-generated content – EU Kids Online II
Fraud – They may think they understand how search engines operate but do they believe all search engine information is truthful? – Ofcom
What can you do to keep them safe?
Having a calm and open conversation is one way for you and your child to explore what is happening in an honest and supportive way. Find out what they enjoy doing online and become involved in their online life. If they know you are supportive, they are more likely to come to you if they have a problem.
Find out which devices allow you to connect to the internet and how. Also, how are they getting online? If it is through a neighbour’s wifi, this might affect your online safety settings.
Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. They are a handy tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows. https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/
When accessing age appropriate sites, the internet is a fantastic tool for children to use. If they have heard of a new website, check it out first. Have set websites they are allowed to visit and ensure your children are confident in what to do if they are ever unhappy with something online.
Do they know about “Zip it, Block it Flag it?”