Talking to your child about online safety

Understanding the ways in which your child uses the internet is key to you being able to keep them safe online and to help them recognise the risks that they face. 

What are the risks online?

There are lots of different types of risk that your child may face online including:

 

  • Cyberbullying
  • Inappropriate/explicit content
  • Hidden costs of advertising, apps or games
  • Sharing of personal information
  • Contact with others who seek to groom/abuse children

CEOP have produced this video to raise parent’s awareness of the importance of talking about online safety with their children.

Given the ever-changing nature of the online world, children and young people’s knowledge of the websites and applications that they use may be better than your own – don’t let that put you off.  Getting your child to tell you about the sites and apps they use can be a great way to get the conversation started.  After the initial conversation, you can then do your own research on how those sites/apps work, what the risks may be and what steps to take to keep your child safe.  

You should enter any conversation with your child in an open minded way and avoid being too negative or only focussing on the risks that the internet poses.  Try and recognise the positives that the internet has and think about why your child may like to access particular sites/apps.  It may be that they talk to friends, research their homework or play their favourite games.

Remember that there will usually be steps that you can take to make sites/apps safer for your child without having to ban their access to them altogether.  You can use the conversation with your child to educate them on the potential risks that may be posed and what signs they should look out for, risks to be aware of and where to get advice/help if things do go wrong.

Your child is far more likely to speak to you about their concerns online if you have had regular conversations with them about their use of the internet.  You don’t have to be an expert, one of the great things about the internet is the amount of easily accessible information that you can find if you need it.  You can also use this website to signpost your child to or you could sit and go through the relevant sections with them.  You can find the online safety information for young people here.

 

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