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Online safety

The internet is a wonderful thing and can open up a world of possibilities, but it’s important to ensure your child is safe when online.

Children and young people use the internet for a wide variety of reasons, the same as adults do, but often they may not be fully aware of the risks this can present or that not everyone may be who they say they are.

The risks of being online

  • Inappropriate content: Seeing violent or pornographic material or accessing sites which encourage bullying, drug taking, excessive drinking, gambling or unsafe activities

  • Cyberbullying: Being bullied by peers or people they consider to be friends

  • Sexual grooming: Being exploited and abused, often by adults posing as young people

  • Sexting: Being encouraged to send rude or naked photos or videos to someone, which are often then posted on social media sites

  • Radicalisation: Being exposed to racist or hate material or meeting people who may try to negatively influence them

Tips for staying safe online

  • Talk to your child about what they might see online and what is and isn’t appropriate for them to look at.  Encourage them to talk to you, if they see something that makes them feel uncomfortable or worried or if they’re being cyberbullied

  • Discuss the potential dangers together, such as befriending or meeting people they don’t know, as they may not be who they say they are; posting personal information which can identify them (address or phone numbers); posting / sending photos or videos and how the information they share will be available for anyone to access, possibly forever

  • Consider placing parental controls and filters on your devices, social networking sites, search browsers and online games, to stop your child seeing or accessing inappropriate sites and content

National support

The following organisations provide a range of useful information and advice for children, young people, parents / carers and professionals:
BT: A guide on how to set up parental controls on gaming devices
CBBC Lifebabble: Top tips for staying safe online
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection): Advice about online abuse and child sexual exploitation and how to report it
Childnet: Working to help make the internet a safer place for children
Family Lives: Advice for parents / carers to keep young people safe online

GoCompare: Provide advice on broadband parental controls

Internet Matters: Helping parents / carers keep children safe online

My Safety Net: Helps children and young people feel safe and confident if they're worried about things like bullying or friendships

National Cyber Security Centre: Helping families protect themselves online, and protect the technology they use.

Net Aware: Keeping families up to date with today’s digital world and social networks
NSPCC: Provide advice on online safety and tips on bullying and cyberbullying
Thinkuknow: Advice for children, young people and parents / carers to stay safe when using a phone, tablet or computer
UK Safer Internet Centre: Advice for children, young people, parents / carers and professionals

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