Be involved in your child’s online life. For many of today’s young people there is no line between the online and offline worlds. Young people use the internet to socialize and grow and, just as you guide and support them offline, you should be there for them online too. Talk to them about what they’re doing, if they know you understand they are more likely to approach you if they need support.
The Parentsguide has been produced for Thinkuknow, which is an education initiative by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre - the UK's national law enforcement agency that focuses on tackling the sexual abuse of children.
Watch Thinkuknow films to learn more. The Thinkuknow programme has films and advice for children from five all the way to 16. Your child may have seen some of these at school, but they can also be a good tool for you to find out more about what young people do online and some of the potential risks.
Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Be inquisitive and interested in the new gadgets and sites that your child is using. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to continue to discuss boundaries so that they evolve as your child’s use of technology does.
Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Your child will use all sorts of devices and gadgets; make sure you’re aware of which ones can connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection or a neighbour’s Wifi? This will affect whether your safety settings are being applied.
Consider the use of parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls
Emphasise that not everyone is who they say they are. Make sure your child knows never to meet up with someone they only know online. People might not always be who they say they are. Make sure your child understands that they should never meet up with anyone they only know online without taking a trusted adult with them.
Know what to do if something goes wrong. Just as in the offline world, you want to help your child when they need it. Therefore, it is important to know when and how to report any problem. What tools are there to help me keep my child safe?
The NCA’s CEOP Command is here to help children and young people. We are here to help if you are a young person and you or your friend (up to age 18) has been forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity with anyone online, or in the real world. We also have advice and links to support for other online problems young people might face, such as cyberbullying and hacking. Visit our Safety Centre for advice and to report directly to CEOP, by clicking on the Click CEOP button.
Useful websites for further information
The parents section of the Thinkuknow website provides information to support parents and carers to understand and respond to the risks their children may face as they grow. It covers a broad range of online safety issues from nude selfies to what to do if you think your child is being groomed online.
Find it at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lscb
A quick chat about parental controls https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9C7AyX3YGU
A quick chat about game ratings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHLXfn-LTIo
For information and advice regarding e-Safety in school, please contact
Mrs L E Divers – Deputy Headteacher (Safeguarding & e-Safety Officer)