The internet is an amazing resource, which can help us to play, learn, create and connect to others. But it can also be a dangerous place and it is important to keep a track of what our young people are doing to keep them safe.
There are things as parents you can do to ensure your child is safe online and using it only in positive ways. The most important thing is to open up communication and encourage your child to share their online behaviour with you.
Here are 3 simple tips to follow:
· Explore together- Talk about what might be OK for children of different ages. Ask your child what sites or apps they like, write a list, and look at them together. Explain to them your concerns or approval over different sites/apps so they feel included.
· Talk about staying safe online – Make sure your child is aware how to keep themselves safe on social networks. The key things for your child to know are: where reporting functions are and how to use them, how to block someone and how they can keep their information private online/what is appropriate to share online. Encourage your child to tell you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable online such as nasty comments or animal cruelty.
· Manage the software and tools your family use - Parental controls are an important way to keep your child safe online. They can be used to block upsetting or harmful content, stop them downloading apps they’re too young for, or manage how long your child spends online. You can install these tools on a range of devices. Your internet provider may offer a free filter so you can control the content that you and your family see and you’ll need to manually set-up any device connected to your home broadband. Lots of mobiles and tablets come with settings that can help you manage what your child can and can’t see or do online.