The internet is a fantastic place for children to explore, learn and play. However, it is also ever changing and so keeping children safe online is a growing concern. There has been an increase of concern in the news recently regarding the safety of children online after incidents such as ‘Momo’ and other content that is not desirable for children to be viewing. So it is of increased importance that as parents we are vigilant with internet safety for our children. This can be easier said than done sometimes, so here is a few tips and website links that may help you with keeping your children safe online:
Tips For Parents Of Children Aged 5-12
Your child will want to be on a social network at this age. Spend some time to find an age appropriate one to ensure they are amongst children of similar ages. Once you’ve found one that you like the look of, look into their safety features to make an informed choice.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are very popular social networks. They encourage users who are 13 and over to create accounts. If your child wants to be on one of these sites, explain why they are unsuitable for them.
Some things to consider when considering why some social networks are unsuitable for children under 13.
- Social Media has virtually no boundaries, you will not be able to control what your child reads or sees or comments on.
- All social media platforms use different and sometimes aggressive methods or marketing products. You cannot control what messages, products or pages you child will encounter.
- Most social networks collect your data both online and offline. Your child will be building a digital profile without being aware of it. This can result in information being used by the social network’s affiliates to promote products and services they wish to push on the user, regardless of their age.
Show your child the wonderful resources they can find online. Demonstrate how you use the internet in your daily life by doing the online shop with them or how you find where you’re going on your next holiday. Ask them who their favourite cartoon character is or show them information about the sport or activity they love the most. Show them what an amazing resource the internet can be.
It’s never too early to teach your child good netiquette. Having good manners and behaviour online is just as important as it is offline. If you instil good netiquette from an early age, your child is more likely to be aware of other children’s feelings when posting online.
You home has several devices that connect to the internet, game consoles, TV’s and even fridges are connected to the internet. Be sure to understand which devices your child uses to connect to the World Wide Web.
Agree some basic rules of being online with your child such as:
- How long they can spend on the internet per day.
- Which sites they can and can’t visit.
- That they inform you immediately if they see something they don’t like or they think is inappropriate.
- A promise not to share their personal information like name, age, address and DOB with anyone online and to never meet with anyone off the internet without your consent.
www.childinternetsafety.co.uk This website as advice on all aspects of net safety and gaming safety.
www.commonsensemedia.org This is the ultimate parents’ guide to internet games, films tv programmes and apps. With great advice on keeping children safe.
www.net-aware.org.uk This can be used to check out the content of some of the most popular downloaded apps and social networking sites to enable parents or carers to see what they are. This website also has an app that can be downloaded to check content and ratings easily.
www.askaboutgames.com A parent’s guide to the world of gaming. Information on age ratings and content on games .