The internet is such an integral part of children's lives these days. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences.
Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
As you protect your child in the real world, you will want to make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing. Like learning to cross the road, online safety skills are skills for life. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
Basic Steps to help protect children online
Most important of all, you should feel comfortable talking with your children and create a ‘PACT; to help keep them safe online:
Private Information – teach your child what personal information is and that they shouldn’t share it online with people they don’t know. Talk to them about keeping their information and photos private using privacy settings on sites such as Bebo and Facebook.
A Central Place – keep your PC in an open space where possible, both to allow you to talk to them about who they are chatting with online and the programmes they are using.
Communication – talk to your children about who they are chatting to online in the same way you would talk about their real world friends. Discuss their list of friends and contacts on tools such as Messenger, Facebook and Bebo and check that they actually know all those accepted as friends.
Teach Yourself – consider using the same technology as your children so that you can understand how it works. Use the parental control tools where available.
If you are concerned about e-safety, the following links provide further information: