19: Internet safety

Computers are a valuable educational resource giving young people access to a range of activities and a wealth of knowledge. It is important that you encourage quality time spent on activities that will enhance your child’s learning.

Online safety is, of course, an important issue and there are various resources on the internet that will provide you with up-to-date information and advice.

CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection) is a comprehensive site. http://ceop.police.uk/

If you click on ‘Information For…Parents, Carers & Guardians’ you are taken to a part of the site called ‘Think You Know’.

These tips for ensuring the safety of children are taken from there:

  • Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
  • Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from 5- 16.
  • Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
  • Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
  • Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
  • Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
  • Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
  • Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls

Other useful sites are:

http://www.childnet.com/

advice and links about internet safety for young people, parents, carers and teachers

http://www.chatdanger.com/

gives true stories and details about the potential dangers of chat rooms and instant messaging services

https://www.iwf.org.uk/

the Internet Watch Foundation site is the UK’s hotline for reporting illegal online content

http://www.childnet.com/sorted/

this site is produced entirely by young people for young people and adults and gives advice on how to avoiding and protecting yourself from phishing scams, viruses and spyware

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