Children and young people spend a lot of time online – it can be a great way for them to socialise, explore and have fun. But children do also face risks like cyber bullying or seeing content that's inappropriate. Whether you're unsure about what happens online or are up to speed with new technology, it's important that you talk to your child about staying safe. It may feel daunting, but you don't need to be an expert on the internet. Understanding what children do online and the risks they face will help you keep your child safe online.
10 top tips to ensuring your child stays safe on-line
1. “You can always come to me if you need help.” This is the most important thing to let your child know, and a way to give them confidence to speak to you when they need support.
2. “What would you do if this happened...?” Give your child strategies to deal with upsetting experiences online.
3. “Remember that not everyone is who they say they are online.” Remind your child to always tell an adult if anyone they only know online makes them feel uncomfortable, or asks to meet up or share personal information or images.
4. “Keep your personal information safe, and other people’s too.” This includes full names, contact details, and real-time locations.
5. “Be respectful to others online.” Remind them if it’s not okay offline...
6. “Think before you post.” Help your child to be aware that their online actions can have consequences for themselves and others.
7. “Remember to ask if it’s okay.” Asking for, and receiving permission from others online is important before sharing images, adding people into group chats, etc.
8. “Remember not everything is true online.” Help your child to be a critical thinker to find accurate information.
9. “The things other people post online might not always show what their life is really like.” Reassure your child that nobody’s life is as perfect as it may seem online, and judging yourself against other’s online lives isn’t a fair comparison.
10. “Recognise how going online makes you feel and take a break when you need to.” Your child may need support in doing this, such as timers and reminders.
Websites below may give you a start in understanding online safety for your children.