Help To Keep Your Child Safe Online
The best way to help your child to be safe when using the internet and new technologies is to talk to them and make sure they understand these simple rules:
- You should never give out personal details to online ‘friends’. Use a nickname when logging on and don’t share full name, email address, mobile number, school name and any photos, including photos of family or friends – any picture or video online can be changed or shared without permission.
- Talk to your child about what they are doing online and who they are talking to. Get them to show you how to use things you are not familiar with. Keeping the computer in a family room means that you can share your child’s online experience, they are less likely to act inappropriately (i.e. via webcam) and their online ‘friends’ will see they are in a family room.
- If your child receives a message that upsets them, remind them not to reply, they should save the message and show you or another trusted adult.
- Don’t open files sent from people you don’t know. They could contain a virus, or worse – an inappropriate image or film.
- An online ‘friend’ is anyone you have not met in real life; no matter how long you have been friends with them.
- Help your child to understand that some people lie online and that it’s better to keep online ‘mates’ online. They should never meet up with any online ’friends’ without an adult they trust.
- Make sure they know how to block someone online and report them if they feel uncomfortable.
- People are not always who they claim to be online.
- Make sure your child feels able to talk to you, let them know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable. Don’t blame your child, let them know you trust them.
Keeping Children Safe Online at School
We use Internet filters to protect children from harm online - including cyber bullying, illicit materials and videos and the risk of radicalisation. We teach and promote E-Safety in our curriculum and any concerns are dealt with quickly. We recognise our vital role in keeping children safe from harm online and we encourage all our children to be a 'Good Digital Citizen'.
All our children are taught how to be a 'Good Digital Citizen' and how to stay safe online. Please see Our E-Safety Message page for more details.
With internet safety now part of the primary curriculum, we know that teachers and other educators need reliable resources to use during lessons. We can also help you keep parents informed and ensure they continue the conversation at home.
When it comes to educating primary school children about online safety, as teachers it can be a challenge to keep adapting your teaching materials to evolve with the child’s age and new technologies.
Education about child online safety shouldn’t stop in the classroom. With the right support, there are plenty of ways parents can be involved in the process too.
UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)
New technologies inspire children to be creative, communicate and learn. However, while the internet is a great resource, it is important that children and young people are protected from the risks they may encounter. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is a group of more than 200 organisations drawn from across government, industry, law, academia and charity sectors that work in partnership to help keep children safe online. The Council was established in 2010 following a review by Professor Tanya Byron and discusses and takes action on topical issues concerning children’s use of the internet.
Parent Info Articles
For years, child development experts advised parents that children under the age of two should not have significant exposure to screens and electronic devices. This advice was rooted in the knowledge that very young children need the positive effects of real-world experiences, like a hug from a parent or a trip to the park.
But, in today’s increasingly digital and screen-focused world, the prospect of keeping a child from spending any time looking at screens for two years is daunting and probably unrealistic. Many parents of young children, then, may be relieved to hear that new research is suggesting that the best way to handle screen use for young kids is a pragmatic approach based on the type of screen use and the needs of the individual child. Here are our five commonsensical tips on screens and young children.
Set sensible limits. With babies and toddlers, it’s important to structure and regulate screen time. Young children sleep through quite a lot of the day, so if you do allow some screen use it’s crucial to make sure their waking hours aren’t consumed by staring at screens.
Keep a balance. Setting limits on screen time is a great first step, but the way your young children spend the rest of their time will also be important. Babies and toddlers learn best through real world experiences, and as parents already know, they require lots of interaction and face to face attention. Make sure that young kids still get lots of chances to play, explore and interact in real life, away from screens.
Choose appropriate media. It may seem obvious, but if your toddler or young child is allowed to watch TV, the content should be appropriate for their age group. It’s tempting to assume that very young children might not understand violent or inappropriate imagery, but research has found a correlation between exposure to violent content and sleep problems in children aged between three and five. Even children’s programming aimed at older kids might be too fast-paced or confusing for toddlers who may not yet understand silly plot lines or fantastical characters. If you allow very young children to watch TV, it should ideally be stuff that they can relate to, educational, and not too fast-paced. There’s some good video content for young children online, as well as television programmes aimed at young children, such as cbeebies.
Do digital things together. The more very young children interact with parents, carers and other loved ones, the better – and screen time is no exception. Skyping with other family members and watching a children’s TV show together while chatting about the plot are good examples of helping young children use screens in a productive way.
Try not to worry too much. Just as with any other aspect of parenting, it’s almost impossible to get everything absolutely perfect. In today’s digital world, it can be really hard to prevent children from spending too much time around screens, or to make sure they’re only exposed to age-appropriate media. There are some important guidelines to keep in mind with young children and screen use, but don’t panic if you slip up occasionally.
How old do you have to be to use social media?
Some apps, sites and games online have age restrictions. Getting to grips with all the different age ratings can be a nightmare. Here’s our guide to the main ones.
Our top tip, though, is to check out the terms and conditions for sites your children are using or want to use.
OK for under-13s
Why 13? A lot of very popular sites and apps make 13 the minimum age for users. This is because the United States passed a law in 1998 that said that companies could not collect data from children under the age of 13 without their parents' permission. The expense and work involved led many companies to restrict their services to over-13s.
Some of the best-known sites on the web are for over 13’s only. As we have seen, this is because of American law, which specifies that anyone under 13 is a child, as far as collecting their data is concerned. (They must get their parents' permission). In the UK, under-13s registering for these sites aren't breaking UK law but they are breaching the terms and conditions of the website.
It's also worth remembering that because these sites are designed for over-13’s, they won't necessarily have procedures in place to make them suitable places for younger children. These sites include:
Google To have a Google account and access all their main services including YouTube and Gmail you need to be over 13. That does not mean that an under-13 shouldn't watch videos on YouTube or use Google search, it just means they can’t create an account and upload content.
Facebook You need to be 13 to have a Facebook account. It is a violation of their terms and conditions to create an account for someone under 13.
Instagram You need to be over 13 to use Instagram.
Snapchat You need to be over 13 to have a Snapchat account. However, some features are limited to over-18s and to use those you have to affirm that you are either over 18 or have parental consent. At the moment, those features are only available in the US.
Spotify You cannot use Spotify if you are under 13 and anyone between the ages of 13 and 18 is required to have parental consent (not something Spotify checks).
Very few services set this as the age limit. Once again, the limit is not a legal requirement in the UK but is a matter of the site's terms and conditions.
WhatsApp This app requires all its users to be 16 and over..
What are parental controls and how can they help children stay safe online?
Parental controls are a key part of a parent’s online safety toolkit and a great first step to helping protect your child online, although they're not a one-stop solution to staying safe. Talking to your children and encouraging responsible behaviour is still absolutely vital.
What are parental controls?
Parental controls are software and tools that allow parents to set controls on their children’s internet use. They are a great way of helping prevent children from accessing unsuitable content online.
Internet Matters has developed a web app (link is external) that allows you to create a personalised checklist for setting parental controls in your home and on your family’s devices. This contains help and advice on setting the controls for your home broadband and the mobile devices your family may use, including how-to videos and step-by-step guides.
Types of controls
Talk of ‘controls’ can sometimes be confusing. In essence, there are three types that parents need to be aware of:
- Network level controls are set on the hub or router and apply to all devices connected to that hub or router (covering your whole household).
- Device level controls are set on the device itself, such as a smartphone, and will apply regardless of how and where the device is connected to the internet.
- Application controls are set on the platform or application that is being used. Examples of this would be the settings applied to Google or YouTube. Again, these apply anywhere.
What do they do?
There are many types of controls available, and they allow you to do a number of different things, such as:
- Filter and block content that you don’t want your children to see, such as violence and pornography.
- Restrict what information is shared.
- Set time limits on how long children are online.
- Control the time of day that children can access the internet.
- Set different profiles so that each family member has an access level that is appropriate to them.
- Home broadband controls
Most internet providers like BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media offer free filters (link is external), giving you control over what internet content comes into your home. This means that any device that connects to your home broadband is subject to the controls that you have set on your home router or hub. These are sometimes referred to as ‘whole home filters’.
Smartphones (link is external), computers and tablets (link is external) are shipped with controls that can be set up to restrict access to explicit content, in-app purchasing and other content that you don't want your child to access.
Most games consoles and devices are internet-enabled, allowing users to surf the web, as well as in-game purchasing and chat with other online players. All the major gaming consoles and devices come with controls (link is external) that allow parents to decide what can and cannot be done, both on the console itself and in online gaming platforms such as Xbox Live. Some allow you to set up different profiles with different rights for each family member.
It’s possible that children may sometimes come across things online which are inappropriate for their age and stage of development when they are browsing the internet. The main search engines allow you to set up filters (link is external), such as Google SafeSearch, that can help you block inappropriate or explicit images from your results. These filters are not 100% accurate, but they help you avoid most adult content. You should also consider encouraging the use of child-friendly search engines such as Swiggle and Safe Search UK.
If you and your family access entertainment content via the internet you should also consider setting Controls on the platforms (link is external) you use. YouTube, iTunes, BBC iPlayer and Sky Go all have safety settings available. Each is different and some, such as Netflix, allow you to create individual profiles with different control levels so that each family member only sees content that is appropriate to them.
So what should you do?
Controls are not a single solution to staying safe online; talking to your children and encouraging responsible behaviour is critical. However, controls are a vital first step to helping to protect your child online, and here seven simple things you can do:
- Set up home broadband parental controls: make use of controls on your home broadband.
- Set controls on your search engine: encourage your child always to use child-friendly search engines and activate and lock the safe search settings on the browsers and platforms they use.
- Make sure every device is protected: controls should be installed on every device your child uses: mobile phone, tablet and games consoles (both home and handheld).
- Privacy settings: activate the safety measures offered by different sites; social networking sites like Facebook have privacy settings that will help prevent your child seeing unsuitable advertising.
- Block pop-ups: if you’re worried about your children accessing inappropriate content though accidentally clicking on adverts in pop-ups, BBC Webwise has advice on how to stop these.
- Find good sites and agree on them as a family: by talking to your child about their interests you can help them find suitable sites to visit and apps to use. Review these sites as they get older.
- Manage their use and access: your child may be less likely to let you know they’re distressed by something they’ve seen online if they think you’ll take away their internet access but it may be appropriate to do this in some instances. Be aware of this when talking to them, and let them know they can talk to you or a trusted adult whenever they need to.
- Internet Matters has developed a web app (link is external) that allows you to create a personalised checklist for setting parental controls in your home and on your family’s devices. The app also contains help and advice on setting the controls, including how-to videos and step-by-step guides
6 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S CYBERSECURITY
Children begin using the Internet for both educational and social purposes when they are very young. But when one in four people surveyed has been hacked or know someone who has, parents have reason to be concerned about protecting their children’s information online.
Anyone can be a victim of hacking, and unfortunately there is no guaranteed way to prevent it. However, following safety best practices and implementing security protocols can help keep your children and their information safe from online predators.
Improve Your Computer and Internet Literacy
You need to be familiar with safe computer and Internet practices before you can teach your children how to behave online. Take a computer class, read a guide book or browse online tutorials and resources to learn more about Internet safety, computer viruses and safely downloading and sharing files.
Before allowing your child to download any programs or applications, read the user manual and fine print to learn about the data it may gather from your computer and how it might be stored and used.