Staying safe online 1: Steps you can take to help keep your child safer online

Tuesday 06 April 2021

This is the first of five website news posts to help you to make sure your child is safe online. The content from all five posts comes from a Thinkuknow newsletter.

Parental controls: Parental controls have been designed to help you manage your child’s online activities. There are various types, some of which are free but others which can be bought. However, nothing is totally fool proof so they shouldn’t replace the need for you to support and advise your child using the internet. For more information and step by step instructions on setting up parental controls, visit Parental Controls & Privacy Settings Guides – Internet Matters.

Supervise their online activity: Keep the devices your child uses in communal areas of the house such as the living room or kitchen, where an adult is able to supervise. Primary-age children should not access the internet in private spaces alone, such as in a bedroom or bathroom.

Explore together and chat little and often: Ask your child to show you their favourite apps, games and sites and encourage them to teach you how to use these. Ask them if anything ever worries them online. Make sure they know they won’t be in trouble and can get help by talking to you or another adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel worried, sad or scared.

Make sure they know where to go for support: Remind your child they can always speak to you or an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel worried or upset. For a breakdown of report services, visit Supporting your child with reporting unwanted content online.

Take a look at Thinkuknow: Thinkuknow is the national online safety education programme from the National Crime Agency. Thinkuknow offers learning activities, advice and support for children and young people aged 4-18 and their families. The Jessie & Friends animations for 4 to 7s will help you start a conversation about online safety and for 8-10’s, there’s  the Play Like Share animations and the Band Runner game and advice website.

Help your child identify trusted adults who can help them if they are worried: This includes you and other adults at home, as well as adults from wider family, school or other support services who they are able to contact at this time. Encourage them to draw a picture or write a list of their trusted adults.

Talk about how their online actions affect others: If your child is engaging with others online, remind them to consider how someone else might feel before they post or share something. If they are considering sharing a photo/video of somebody else, they should always ask permission first.

Use ‘SafeSearch’:  Most web search engines will have a ‘SafeSearch’ function, which will allow you to limit the content your child can access whilst online. Look out for the ‘Settings’ button on your web browser homepage, which is often shaped like a small cog.

Visit Thinkuknow for more information on keeping your child safer online.