Online Safety Support for Parents
The Internet is a fantastic resource that our children are already using as a normal part of everyday life. However, in the same way that we do not allow them to wander around the world by themselves or talk to strangers, it is equally important that we protect our children when they are exploring the virtual world. Older children are developing ways of using the internet that can seem baffling even to parents who consider themselves to be proficient users. Establishing ways of discussing internet safety, setting guidelines and strategies for when things go wrong, has never been more important. Below are some tips that can help you to advise your child and support you both in using the Internet safely and securely.
Click to see our latest online safety newsletter – Digital Leaders Newsletter Summer
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 (see link below) has films, games and advice for child from five all the way to 16. We use these in school to support safer internet lessons. They are very useful for stimulating discussions and helping you to find out what your child may already know or be using.
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 is 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. Make sure that children know to never give out personal information as even sites designed for younger children, such as “Moshi Monsters” can allow them to chat with strangers. Discuss what your children do if they see something that is inappropriate or worrying to them. You may have all of the correct parental controls but your children may be accessing the online world from a friend’s house.
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 that you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they do not 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 settings that 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.
Many social network sites, such as “Facebook”, have a minimum age requirement on them of 13, to protect younger children. Social Networking sites are not accessible at school.
This year we have taken part in Safer Internet Day and launched our new ‘Digital Leaders.’
We have joined forces with our local O2 Guru who is also willing to give help and advice.
We have held parent workshops in school – NSPCC ‘Keeping Safe online’ and O2 ‘Apps’
Please check back to see what the Digital Leaders have been up to.
Online gaming advice: www.childnet.com/ufiles/Online-gaming.pdf
Mr Tunn is our Online Safety Lead. If you have and questions or would like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact him.