Computers and the internet are now a part of everyday life in our modern society. Many children use computers and mobile devices to play games, learn and explore, as well as the significant role this can play in delivering their learning in school – never more so than during times of home learning.
Whilst the internet can be a great resource and tool for education, fun, communication, and curiosity, it is important to be aware that online activity also contains potential risks such as inappropriate or harmful content, sharing/exposure of personal information and online bullying.
Understanding and discussing with your child what they are doing online is an important role for parents and carers to play. We believe that it is not only important to teach children about online safety at school, but also to support good online practices at home This guide is intended to help you with this. Working together, we aspire to teach our children how to be safe and responsible digital citizens, who make sensible and informed decisions about their actions online.
8 steps to keep your child safe online [from thinkuknow.co.uk]
1. Explore together:
Ask your child to show you their favourite websites and apps and what they do on them. Listen, show interest and encourage them to teach you the basics of the site or app.
2. Chat little and often about online safety:
If you’re introducing them to new learning websites and apps while school is closed, take the opportunity to talk to them about how to stay safe on these services and in general. Ask if anything ever worries them while they’re online. Make sure they know that if they ever feel worried, they can get help by talking to you or another adult they trust.
3. Help your child identify trusted adults who can help them if they are worried:
This includes you and other adults at home, as well as adults from wider family, school, or other support services who they are able to contact at this time. Encourage them to draw a picture or write a list of their trusted adults.
4. Be non-judgemental:
Explain that you would never blame them for anything that might happen online, and you will always give them calm, loving support.
5. Supervise their online activity:
Keep the devices your child uses in communal areas of the house such as in the living room or kitchen where an adult is able to supervise. Children of this age should not access the internet unsupervised in private spaces, such as alone in a bedroom or bathroom.
6. Talk about how their online actions affect others:
If your child is engaging with others online, remind them to consider how someone else might feel before they post or share something. If they are considering sharing a photo/video of somebody else, they should always ask permission first.
7. Use ‘SafeSearch’:
Most web search engines will have a ‘SafeSearch’ function, which will allow you to limit the content your child can access whilst online. Look out for the ‘Settings’ button on your web browser homepage, which is often shaped like a small cog.
8. Parental controls:
Use the parental controls available on your home broadband and all internet enabled devices in your home.
You can find out more about how to use parental controls by visiting your broadband provider’s website.
Download the SMART Rules poster here:
Controlling the settings on your child’s device can be a useful tool as part of your strategy to keep them safe.
Methods for doing this can vary from device to device. However, if you visit this website, you will find pull-down menus for you to select the particular device being used, and in each case a step-by-step guide to applying parental controls is provided, with pictures/screenshots and simple instructions to guide you through the process:
Internet Matters: Parental Controls
An information sheet about setting up new devices for children is supplied here:
Online safety tips for children with devices.pdf
Social media resources
Most social media resources have a minimum age for users to sign up – which is almost always above the age range of primary school children (13+). However, it is important to be aware of the following:
Some of the most commonly used social media resources are as follows:
A more comprehensive guide to apps, games and social media sites can be found here:
Online video calls
Recommendations or restrictions relating to age limits exist with most resources for online video calls, so you are encouraged to take the time to read the terms for each provider that you use. Summary information about the most commonly used resources of this type is provided at the link below:
Information sheets are provided here to inform and to help you have conversations with your children about specific areas of using social media. Sharing images, playing games online, cyber bullying, livestreaming, and watching videos are included.