As a parent you'll know how important the internet is to children - they use it to learn, play, socialise and express themselves. It's a highly creative place of amazing opportunities. But the technology children use every day can seem a bit daunting and you might worry about the risks your child can face online - such as bullying, contact from strangers or the possibility of them seeing illegal or inappropriate content. We appreciate parents can have a difficult job keeping up with their children on the fast changing technology available to them, let alone knowing the dangers they face. The issues of safety, privacy, online predators or grooming and cyberbullying are sometimes complex, both technically and psychologically.
To try and help parents with the fast moving and changing world of internet and social media we've shared some key advice below. We have also suggested a few resources which contain information on different types of technology and social media and give advice on how to help keep your children safe.
Key E-Safety Tips for Parents and Carers
1. Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them. If they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems
2. Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
3. Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
4. Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep Internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
5. Use parental controls on devices that link to the Internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.