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
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