Helping children to stay safe online is a vital aspect of their education, which needs to be tackled both in school and at home. Through leading Computing in school, I saw the importance of keeping up to date with online safety as things moved forward quickly with new technology. Here are some tips and resources for helping to protect and educate your child about online safety at home:
1. Set up parental controls through your internet provider
For help activating the free parental controls, watch these short helpful videos for each of the four main internet providers (BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media).
Important note: Check that your child is using your wireless connection (rather than a neighbour’s connection) as these parental controls only apply to your own wireless connection.
2. Set up parental controls on your child’s devices
It is important to set parental controls on all the different devices and services your child has access to. Check out the links below for guides on all the main tablets, smart phones, gaming devices and services.
How to set parental controls on tablets , including iPads and Amazon Fires.
How to set parental controls on smart phones, including iPhones.
How to set parental controls on gaming devices, including Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo.
How to set parental controls on Catch up TV and TV on demand, including iPlayer, 4OD and Netflix.
Advice on Smart TVs.
3. Know the age ratings for games and apps
Use the Common Sense Media website to review the content of the games and apps your child is playing. Use the search option to type in the name of the game or app you are looking for.
Also, be aware that many games can also be played online. For more information on online gaming, please take a look at this guide.
4. Keep the lines of communication open
Talk to your child about how they use the internet and what they would do if they have any issues. Encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult if they are experiencing cyber bullying; if they find inappropriate content or if they are unsure of something online.
If you do need to report inappropriate behaviour, it can be done through this website.
5. Discuss social media with your child
It is important to explain to children that once something is posted online, it can stay there forever. Children are also often surprised to find out that social media is also somewhere employers look for information prior to an interview. This is something your child needs to be aware of for the future.
For more information about young people and social networking, please take a look at this resource.
6. Keep it visible
Try to ensure when children are using devices, laptops and computers that they are in an area of the house where you can walk by and see what your child is doing. This will help to keep you aware of how your child is using the internet and may help to promote further discussions about internet safety and any concerns your child has.
7. Work with your child’s school
Look out for information from your child’s school on online safety and check which set of e-safety rules they promote. Many schools use the SMART rules.
Internet Safety Day in February is acknowledged in many schools. Keep an eye out for parent information sessions and letters, along with opportunities to see what your child is learning about online safety in school. It will really help if you can use the information your child is being taught in school to make it consistent at home.