The internet is an inspiring and positive place. It is an amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices. However, the internet is always changing and being able to keep up to date with your child’s use of technology can be a challenge. Children and young people need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online.
Issues that your child may encounter on the internet will vary depending on their age and online activities.
Conduct: Children need to be aware of the impact that their online activity can have on both themselves and other people. It’s easy to feel anonymous online and it’s important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, the information that they may have posted. When using the internet, it’s important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours and how this can be done - zip it, block it, flag it.
Content: Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. Children may need your help as they begin to assess content in this way. Familiarise yourself with the age ratings for games and apps as these can help to indicate the level and suitability of the content.
Contact: It is important for children to realise that new friends made online may not be who they say they are and that once a friend is added to an online account, they may be sharing their personal information with them. Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approached by another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (www.ceop.police.uk). If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, this can also be reported online and offline. Reinforce with your child the importance of telling you, their carer or trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, worried, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.
There are real advantages in maintaining an open dialogue with your child about their internet use. Not sure where to begin? These conversation starter suggestions can help.
Ask your children to tell you about the websites and apps they like to use and what they enjoy doing online.
Ask them about how they stay safe online.
What tips do they have for you and where did they learn them?
What is OK and not OK to share?
REMEMBER - ZIP IT, BLOCK IT, FLAG IT
Please watch the PowerPoint below for more information