Young people have been born into the ‘digital age’.
They use computers, mobile phones, video games consoles etc. as part of their everyday lives. They often seem ‘expert’ compared to parents, but young people do not have the life experience of adults and need your support. You can provide this by talking to your child about what they are doing.
Here is a ‘Child Friendly’ leaflet for you to share with your child:
Useful e-Safety websites
You may find the following websites useful for helping your children keep safe while ‘surfing the net’.
The Know IT All for Parents is a unique interactive e-safety guide for parents and carers produced by Childnet International. It’s designed to really help you as a parent or carer keep up to date with how children are using the internet, and support them in using these new exciting services safely and responsibly. The Know IT All for Parents site includes video guides for parents in a number of languages.
Childnet have some top tips for online gaming:
- Engage with the gaming environment and begin to understand what makes it is so attractive to young people as well as the types of activities that they enjoy!
- Talk with your children about the types of game(s) they are playing. Ask them to show you or have a go yourself.
- Some games may offer children the chance to chat with other players by voice and text. Ask them who they are playing with and find out if they are talking to other players. If chat is available, look at the type of language that is used by other players.
- Look out for age ratings and familiarise yourself with the PEGI icons on games. The PEGI classification gives you a clear indication of whether a game is suitable for your child.
The childnet website includes a section on hot topics and information on parental controls and gaming.
Think U Know
The ‘thinkuknow’ website, developed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, provides a guide to internet safety and safe surfing for parents and young people. Using videos and top tips this provides you with the information you need to talk to your child about staying safe online. It covers various topics, including: mobiles, gaming, social networking, chatting, podcasts, blogs, P2P TV.
Each of the parents’ topics includes a summary of what’s good, what’s bad and what parents can do to help their children stay safe. In all areas of the site, there are prominent links to the CEOP ‘report abuse’ page where you can make a complaint or report a problem.
If you see something online aimed at children that you believe is inappropriate you can report what you have seen to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
The family learning website covers a wide range of teaching and learning for children of all ages, including a section on e-Safety for ‘Kids and Teens’.
This is a great resource for all things internet safety including parental control for devices.
What are the risks to children?
Accessing the internet and using mobile phones can put children at risk of:
- seeing disturbing information or images
- being the victim of online bullying (also known as cyber-bullying)
- being contacted by an adult that they do not know
- sharing personal and identifying information with strangers
- sending or receiving explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others
Vodaphone Digital Parenting Checklists
Vodaphone produces some useful checklists for parents of different aged children to support them with addressing online safety issues.
Under 5 checklist
- START setting some boundaries now – it’s never too early to do things like set limits for the amount of time they can spend on the computer
- KEEP devices like your mobile out of reach and make sure you have passwords/PINs set up on them for the times you might lend them to your child… or for when they simply get hold of them themselves!
- CHECK the age ratings and descriptions on apps, games, online TV and films before downloading them and allowing your child to play with or watch them
- EXPLAIN your technology rules to grandparents, babysitters and parents of your child’s friends so that they stick to them when they’re looking after your child
- REMEMBER that public Wi-Fi (e.g. in cafés) might not have Parental Controls on it – so, if you hand over your iPad to your child while you’re having a coffee, they might be able to access more than you bargained for
- SET the homepage on your family computer or tablet to an appropriate website like Cbeebies
Age 6-9 Checklist
- CREATE a user account for your child on the family computer with appropriate settings and make the most of Parental Controls and tools like Google SafeSearch
- AGREE a list of websites they’re allowed to visit and the kind of personal information they shouldn’t reveal about themselves online (like the name of their school or their home address)
- DECIDE time limits for things like using the internet and playing on games consoles
- BEAR in mind what older siblings might be showing them on the internet, mobiles, games consoles and other devices and agree some rules as a whole family
- TALK to other parents about their views on things like what age to buy kids a mobile and don’t be pressured by your child into letting them use certain technologies if you don’t think they’re old enough or mature enough… no matter how much they pester you
- FAMILIARISE yourself with age ratings and descriptions on games, and apps etc, so that you can be sure your child is only accessing age-appropriate content
- REMIND them that they shouldn’t do anything online that they wouldn’t do face-to-face
Further tips and information can be found on the Vodafone website.
Keeping your child safe – General Advice
To help keep your child safe online:
- talk to your child about the dangers posed by the internet
- tell them what they should do if they become worried or concerned
- explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone
- understand what your child does online and know which websites they visit
- put the computer where the whole family can see it, not out of sight in a bedroom
- use filtering software to block inappropriate sites
Where to find more advice: