8th February, 2022
Every year we celebrate Safer Internet Day by sharing some of our top tips on keeping children safe from some of the harmful things they may come across on the internet.
What’s the best way to protect your child?
The worldwide web has made a huge impact on our lives since its inception in the 1990s, and it’s safe to say it’s here to stay. Although we might feel we want to, it may be unrealistic to think we can hide children and young people away from the internet forever.
Having conversations with children and young people and making them aware about the dangers of the internet is the best way to help them to be cautious and feel confident and safe online.
There are some steps you can take with parental controls to help protect children and young people from inappropriate content online. Find out more and tips on having a conversation about boundaries here.
How can I ask about what my child does on the internet?
Show interest in what they’re doing online. Spend time with them when they are online to gauge the types of games they are playing or chat rooms they are using for example.
Keep in mind that using the internet is for some children how they socialise with friends and a hobby for them. They may come to you and discuss what they’re doing unprompted. Being open and encouraging this kind of healthy conversation will help ensure that you can do all you can to help keep them safe.
Make sure to let them know that they can always come to you to ask about anything they see on the internet and that you’ll never be angry. It’s very important to let them know that they can talk to you about anything they happen to come across online. If you are approachable, they are more likely to ask for help.
Take the time to educate yourself on any websites or apps that you know or think that they may be using when online.
What should I ask my child about in relation to the internet?
Here’s a couple of examples which may help them open up to you about what they spend their time doing.
“What’s your favourite website/game?”
Asking an open question like this will make it seem like you want to learn more about their interests, rather than monitoring them and could invite a good conversation about what they like to do online.
“What kind of videos do you enjoy watching?”
If a child and/or young person loves Youtube or other streaming sites, asking about what they watch can also be helpful. You could spend time watching a video or two with them ask follow-up questions such as “and what do you enjoy about them” to learn what they think about the video from their perspective.
Here are some more hints and tips on starting conversations.
What should I do if things go wrong?
Recognise that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Go over what went wrong online and how you can avoid it happening again. Although it’s natural to feel overwhelmed when something goes wrong, it’s important to remain as calm as possible to ensure in the future that a child and young person continues to feel comfortable to tell you about an issue.
There are many support structures set up for parents in today’s digital landscape, if you are made aware about worrying behaviour towards children, you can report this to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection command).
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