Internet safety

Internet safety is discussed in school to help children to stay safe online, but keeping yourself informed and talking to your child about being safe online, will help you all feel happier and more in control.

Internet safety is taught regularly in primary schools so your child is probably well aware of the dangers, and may well be able to teach you a thing or two.

The online world changes fast though, and it’s still important to understand the risks your child faces by staying (or attempting to stay) one step ahead of them. 

So, if you’re not up on your gaming or social networking, now’s the time to learn. Treat it as an opportunity to spend time with your child, ask them what they like doing online and to explain it to you. You might discover you enjoy it as much as they do!

Other ways of helping your child have a positive online experience include:

  • Find out what they already know. Ask what they’ve learned at school about staying safe online. Delve a little to get a good understanding of where they’re at, but don’t be intrusive or they may look for ways to bend the rules as they get older
  • Check out the age ratings of any games, TV shows or social networks they’re using and discuss and decide if they should be using them
  • Familiarise yourself with and make use of the safety and security features on offer. Set up any new devices yourself and run through the security settings together
  • Agree on your house rules together. Discuss how long devices can be used for, when and where. Strike a deal that you have the right to check what they’re looking at, sharing and commenting on social media from time to time. Then lead by example: encourage the whole family to only use devices in shared living areas and to switch mobile phones off at night
  • Attend an online safety session. Schools often run online safety sessions for parents, so find out what’s on offer and go along. If you have any concerns about content they may have downloaded or been sent by other students, speak to the school

There are some brilliant online resources for parents and children, these are a few of our favourites:

  • Internet matters: A not-for-profit organisation that has a simple purpose – to help keep children safe in the digital world
  • NSPCC online safety: Whether they’re campaigning or counselling, they’re fighting to protect children from online abuse and helping them recover if they’ve experienced it
  • BBC OwnIt: Fun and empowering tips, insight, stories and advice to help 9–12-year olds get the most out of their time online
  • UK Safer Internet Centre: partnership of Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL, they promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people. The website includes social media guides that take you through the safety features available on popular social networks