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Keeping your children safe online can seem quite daunting but it can sometimes be as simple as setting rules or just having a chat

The facts about being online

87% of children go online at home, 51% of teenagers have revealed information online that could be used to identify them, 29% of friends children aged 12 to 15 have online are not personally known to them.  These are just a few of the facts that Ofcom have found in their Children and Parents: Media Use and attitudes Report (Oct 2014 and 2013).

Keeping children safe online is a daunting task and it is important that parents understand the variety of things children can come across:

  • Inappropriate content
  • Cyberbullying
  • Online grooming
  • Sexting
  • Online reputation
  • Privacy and identity theft
  • Online pornography

Technology used by children

There are a variety of ways children use technology, including:

  • Social networking
  • Online gaming
  • Apps
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Chatting using chatrooms, skype, instant messaging

Learning more about these activities and getting advice on how to manage thisis a positive step to keeping children safe online.

Protecting your children

While children and young people fearlessly dive into new apps, games and services, parents tend to be more cautious and stick with what you know and understand. But as parents, you don’t necessarily need to know everything about technology, however it’s vital you do take an interest in what your children are doing online and talk to them about some simple ways they can still have fun, whilst staying safe when they are doing it.

Here are some simple things to get you started:

  • With many games now allowing you to play with strangers and friends from all over the world - Who are they playing with? Friends from school or online friends? Do they understand the difference?
  • Come up with a list together of things they can share about themselves online (Favourite games, films or bands; hobbies) and things which they shouldn’t share (real name, address, age or school)
  • Get them to show you the things they enjoy online. Ask them if they can block people who are horrible and get them to show you how – blocking is a vital digital skill
  • Remember technology can be used in a positive and negative way, and sometimes things can go wrong. Try to be open with technology and encourage your child to be too. If other people are causing upset or if something does go wrong, it’s important that they can talk to someone about it

Internet filters

One big problem found online is that a lot of the content is quite adult. Sometimes, by complete accident you can end up seeing something which we might not want to. This can also happen to children who can misspell things when searching or clicking on the first link they see, it is easily done.

Children tend not to look for inappropriate things but that doesn’t mean that they won’t come across them.

All Lincolnshire schools have a web filter to try to protect children when they are using the internet during lessons, but how well protected are they at home?

Internet filters are mostly free to use at home and there are many options available. To learn more why not visit Internet Matters – a site set up to help parents keep their children safe from inappropriate content.

Tips Tips

  • Always remember that people you don’t know are strangers – they may not be who they say they are
  • Keep personal information private – don’t give away your secrets
  • Always be nice online – block and report people who are mean
  • Always tell an adult if you are worried or scared
  • Never tell anyone your password. Always treat your password like your toothbrush – you’d never share it with your friends!

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Last updated: 30 June 2017

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