Keeping kids safe online is always top of mind for any parent. With nearly half the world’s population now having access to the internet, it’s important to protect children from cyber perils. Our e-safety tips give you a great starting point for making sure your child is accessing the internet safely.
- Let’s talk – it’s always great to start by having a conversation with your child about which websites you both think are and aren’t safe for them to visit. If they feel involved from the start they’ll feel less like they’re being told what to do and more like part of the decision. Draw up a list of the sites you’re both happy for your child to visit. Make plans to talk about the topic again in the near future so it’s always front of mind.
- Do your research – have a chat to your child’s school and find out what’s in place to keep them safe at school too. There are lots of resources available that can be taught as part of their curriculum which cover how to stay safe online.
- Show and tell – most children are internet savvy these days, but it’s still worth checking they know how to access safety tools including reporting and blocking functions.
- Be aware – take a look at the NSPCC’s NetAware website if you’re unsure what’s suitable for your child’s age. This handy site gives age guidance for popular apps including Facebook, Minecraft and AskFM.
- Keep it personal – between you both, write down a list of information that should never be shared online. Things to include are your address, phone number, school name and email address. Write your completed list on some colourful paper and pin it next to where your child accesses the internet, somewhere they can always see it.
- Location, location, location – speaking of location, it’s always a good idea to have the computer where you can see it. To avoid excessive use, set some rules around when they’re allowed to surf the web. It’s likely they’ll need access for at least an hour every day for homework so why not use your phone’s timer to signal when time’s up?
- Search safely – especially for younger children, it’s worth considering using a search engine’s built-in parental controls. By turning these on, you can limit the results that search engines retrieve, so your child is less likely to stumble across inappropriate content. Most popular search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo have this feature available.
Whatever you do, keep talking about internet safety with your child. If there’s anything they’ve seen online that could be worrying them, it’s important they know what to do – and more importantly that you’re there to help and not to judge.
You can find even more advice and resources on the NSPCC website.