The internet is such an integral part of children's lives these days. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences.
Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
As you would protect your child in the real world, you will want to make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing. Like learning to cross the road, online safety skills are skills for life. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
So, how can you protect your child online?
The answer is simple. If you understand the internet and understand what the risks are, there are a number of things you can do that will make your child safer online...
What are the risks?
The main dangers associated with children’s use of the internet are:
Privacy - Around 25% of 8-15 year olds with a social networking profile have it set to open, either to anyone or to friends and their friends - Ofcom Media Literacy Study 2011
Grooming - 29% of children in the UK have had online contact with people they had not met before - EU Kids Online II
Sexual images - 11% of children in the UK have encountered sexual images online and 12% of 11-16 year olds have received them - EU Kids Online II
Cyberbullying - 21% of UK children say they have been bullied and 8% say this occurred on the internet - EU Kids Online II
Harmful content - 19% of UK 11-16 year old internet users have seen one or more type of potentially harmful user-generated content – EU Kids Online II
Fraud - 45% of 12-15 year olds claim to understand how search engines operate but one third say they think all search engine information is truthful - Ofcom
What can I do to reduce these risks?
Make your home Online Safe by following the 5 Do's and Don'ts for an Online Safe Environment (see download below). Use the websites listed below to support you. They include useful information, helpful advice and games for children to play while they learn about the importance of Online Safety.
If you need any help or advice, please email the Online Safety Lead firstname.lastname@example.org.