The internet is a great way to have lots of different kinds of fun, keep in touch with friends, find material for homework or even buy things like music, books or games. However, if we are using the internet it is important we know how to keep ourselves safe when we are online.
In a recent survey conducted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Unit (CEOP) 82% of parents did not know what their children were doing on the internet, who they were talking to or what websites they were accessing.
The risks of the internet have increased with the popularity of internet and chat enabled mobile phones which mean our children can access the internet anywhere, anytime with or without supervision.
By following the advice below we can help our children to become safe and smart cyber citizens.
- Keep the computer in a family room so you can supervise what is going on. This way your children are less likely to put themselves at risk.
- Help your children to understand they should never give out their personal details (mobile number, address, school name, sports club, arrangements for meeting up with friends) to online friends they do not know offline.
- Make sure your children are aware that they need to think carefully about the information and pictures they post online. Remind them that once it is published online, it is there for ever and anyone can change or share these images of them.
- It is easy to forget that the internet is not a private space. Advise our children not to post any pictures, videos or information they would not want a parent or carer to see.
- If your child receives junk emails or texts remind them never to believe their contents, reply to them or use them.
- It is not a good idea for your child to open files from people they do not know.
- Help your children to understand that some people lie online and that it’s better to only add friends they know. They should never meet up with any strangers they have met online without an adult that they trust.
- Always keep communication open for a child to know it’s never too late to tell someone if something online makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Make time to take an interest in what your child is doing online.
Have a look at these sites to find out how your child can enjoy using the internet and be safe at the same time.