The internet is an exciting and fun place for adults and children to use and explore educationally and socially. The challenge for parents, carers and teachers is to make sure our children are aware and understand how to be safe when using the internet and related technologies.
Information about online safety issues and how to ‘Stay Safe’ can be found on the websites below. This is just a sample of websites that can provide parents with support and information. Once parents and carers have the background knowledge and understanding of eSafety they can decide what is right for their family.
- Facebook Magic 13 - Why do you have to be 13 to use Facebook?
- Herts E-Safety - Mind the gap!
- Internet Safety - Parents Guide
- NSPCC - Help keep your children safe online!
- CEOP - News and articles around internet safety
- Think U Know - Great advice to keep children safe whilst using the internet
- KnowITAll - Award-winning resources for teachers and parents.
- Webwise - The BBC Webwise is a beginner’s guide to using the internet. There is a good section on children’s online safety.
- Internet Matters - This website contains lots of information about staying safe online, with tips about games, social networking, mobile technology and more.
- Get Safe Online - A beginners guide to using the Internet safely, including a quiz and some video tutorials about how to ‘stay safe’ on-line.
- Kidsmart - Kidsmart is an award winning internet safety website for parents and those working with children. It has been developed by the children's internet charity Childnet International and has excellent information on many of the technologies used by children, with guidance on how to ‘stay safe’ online
- Childnet - A non-profit making organisation working directly with children, parents and teachers to ensure that the issues of online child protection and children’s safe and positive use of the internet are addressed. Childnet International produce an online CD guide specifically for parents.
Top Tips for when online
The internet and related technologies, including mobile phones, games consoles and social networks are becoming increasingly important in the daily lives of our children and have many positive benefits. They can be used both educationally and socially and are becoming part of a child’s identity. Socially our children often use the internet for entertainment, interaction, and communication with ‘friends’. Access to the internet can take place anywhere and at anytime so we need to make sure our children are able to use the internet safely.
Many children are unaware of the risks for example by having many online friends (who could be strangers), uploading inappropriate images, viewing unsuitable content or sharing too much personal information.
- Talk together and have fun learning together.
- Keep virus and firewall software up to-date.
- Remember that passwords should be kept private and not shared with others. Many eSafety incidents relate back to the sharing of passwords
- Involve everyone and agree your family guidelines and rules. Remember that sometimes what is acceptable for a Year 10 child is not necessarily acceptable for a Year 4 child.
- Regularly discuss online safety and go online with your children. Communication is the key to ‘staying safe’ online.
- Enable your ‘browser safe’ search option and/ or consider using internet filtering software, walled gardens and child-friendly search engines. Critically view all content as some websites are not what they appear.
- Keep the computer in a communal area of the house, where it's easier to monitor what your children are viewing. Do not let children have webcams, or similar, in their bedroom. Remember any image, sound or text can be copied and viewed by everyone.
- Talk to your children about why they should not to give out their personal details. If they want to subscribe to any online service then make up a family email address to receive the mail.
- We all love to chat and children are no different. Encourage your children to use moderated chat rooms and never to meet up with an online ‘friend’ without first telling you.
- Time spent online should be monitored to help prevent obsessive use of the internet. Children need to follow a range of activities many of which will be offline.
- Encourage your children, and in fact all family members, to tell you if they feel uncomfortable, upset or threatened by anything they see online.
- Have proportionate responses if the family guidelines are not followed.