Staying safe online
- Explore together: Ask your child to show you their favourite websites and apps and what they do on them. Listen, show interest and encourage them to teach you the basics of the site or app. Seek out opportunities to use the power of social media for good, such as sharing positive messages.
- Talking. As always, the best thing you can do to help your child is to talk to them little and often about how they use technology, which apps and sites they use and who their online friends are. Check in on their technology use regularly – find out about what they are doing online, who they are talking to and what new tools and apps they might be using. For guidance and quick guides to any app visit https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ which explains the risks and the benefits of their use.
- Trusted adults. Explain that you would never blame them for anything that might happen online, and you will always give them calm, loving support.
- Supervise their online activity: Keep the devices your child uses in communal areas of the house such as in the living room or kitchen where an adult is able to supervise. Children should not access the internet unsupervised in private spaces, such as alone in a bedroom or bathroom.
- Others. Talk about how their online actions affect others: If your child is engaging with others online, remind them to consider how someone else might feel before they post or share something. If they are considering sharing a photo/video of somebody else, they should always ask permission first.
- Safesearch. When researching or looking for new sites, use ‘SafeSearch’: Most web search engines will have a ‘SafeSearch’ function, which will allow you to limit the content your child can access whilst online. Look out for the ‘Settings’ button on your web browser homepage, which is often shaped like a small cog.
- Parental controls: Use the parental controls available on your home broadband and all internet enabled devices in your home. You can find out more about how to use parental controls by visiting your broadband provider’s website. They can, stop children putting new apps on a device until the parents approve them, reduce the chance of a child accidentally spending money on virtual goods and limit the time that children use a device without having a break
Apps and Sites
The list of apps and websites children are using grows by the minute so printed advice is likely to be out of date. The NSPCC have a site called Net-Aware https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ which explains many current apps, the risks and the benefits of their use. It is constantly being updated and includes guidance on Zoom, Houseparty and other apps growing in popularity.
Activities for Children
https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues. It also has games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.