The Internet is an amazing resource and has certainly made the world a much smaller place, especially as we can now access the internet any time and any place. Through social networking sites like Facebook, and ‘chat’ programs such as ‘Snapchat’ it has become possible to communicate, share pictures and files and even video with people all around the globe – at the touch of a button. Whilst this is extremely powerful in terms of communication and information it also posses significant risks to children.
In a recent survey conducted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection unit (CEOP), 82% of parents did not know what they children were doing on the Internet, who they were talking to or what websites they were accessing.
Every year, children take part in Internet Safety lessons through ICT and PSHE so that they can learn to be safe and smart cyber citizens. We also offer a parents’ Internet Safety Seminar in school each year during the autumn term. However it is vital that parents monitor their child’s internet use and act as a role model and voice of reason for them. We offer some advice and further links below
Most importantly always keep communication open for a child to know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Keep the computer in a family room so that you can passively supervise what is going on.
- Make your children understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends they do not know offline.
- Explain to your children what information about them is personal: i.e. email address, mobile number, school name, sports club, arrangements for meeting up with friends and any pictures or videos of themselves, their family or friends. Small pieces of information can easily be pieced together to form a comprehensive insight in to their lives and daily activities.
- Make your children aware that they need to think carefully about the information and pictures they post on their profiles. Remind them that once published online, it is there for ever and anyone can change or share these images of them.
- It can be easy to forget that the internet is not a private space, and as result sometimes young people engage in risky behaviour online. Advise your children not to post any pictures, videos or information on their profiles, or in chat rooms, that they would not want a parent or carer to see.
- If your child receives spam or junk email and texts, remind them never to believe their contents, reply to them or use them.
- It’s not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don’t know. They won’t know what they contain—it could be a virus, or worse – an inappropriate image or film.
- Help your child to understand that some people lie online and that it’s better to only add mates that they know. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust.
- Make time to take an interest in what they are doing online.
It is also very important to remember that it is inappropriate for adults to be talking about children in a derogatory manner on social media, a matter which both school and the police take very seriously.