It is important that we all take responsibility in ensuring children stay safe while using the internet. The internet is our link to the 'big wide World' and while it contains some very useful information it is also an easy way for individuals to be targeted. Please familiarise your child with internet dangers and ensure that you are aware of the sites your child is using while online.
Your child needs reminding that they cannot trust everyone they meet online. Let them know that some people will lie to them and try to alter their opinions on certain matters. Tell them that they should be careful and let you know if they feel uncomfortable, worried or frightened about any online activity. If a child is at risk, you can report the issue to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) for immediate response at https://www.ceop.police.uk/Ceop-Report/ or call 101 and ask for the Child Online Safeguarding Team.
Mind the Gap has been developed by the HSCB eSafety Multi-agency group. For further advice email or call 01438 843086
Questions you may want to ask your child/ren:
- What do you like to do most online?
- Do you play Club Penguin with friends you know or do you play with anyone?
- What do you write on your MoshiMonsters pinboard? Who can see your pinboard?
- Do you tell your online friends your secrets or things you wouldn’t tell them in the playground?
- What is the age rating of the game you are playing? Can I play/watch the game with you?
- The minimum age to be able to open an account on Facebook and many other social networks is 13 years. If they have an account, ask what age they pretended to be and why?
- Do you know your online friends in the real world? Are you always nice to your online friends?
- If someone online says or does something to frighten or upset you would you know what to do?
- Would you let a stranger in the street ask you personal questions in the real world? Do you let a stranger online ask you personal questions? If yes is it time to change?
- Can you show me how to change Facebook privacy settings? Are your settings correct and have you disabled ‘Facebook Places’?
- Has anyone ever said something nasty to you online?
- Were you frightened or scared?
- Would you know what to do?
- Do you know or can you show me how to report nasty comments, images and videos on (MoshiMonsters/ Star Doll/ Facebook and so on). Are you aware that you can usually do this anonymously?
- Once online – always online. Ask your child/ren if they are happy for those comments, images, videos to be online forever? This online content could have a long term negative impact such as not getting a job interview or generally being unhappy about what was said and done several months/ years ago
Keeping your Children Safe
You keep your child/ren safe in the real world. Here are some things you may want to do to help your child/ren ‘Stay Safe’ in the online world:
- Set ground rules and with younger children agree which websites they can visit. Remember these will vary depending upon the ages of your child/ren.
- Agree time limits and regular breaks. Remember letting children play video games just before bedtime may stop them sleeping and have an impact on their learning.
- Find out how to set the parental controls and safe search. Consider buying parental monitoring/ control software for younger children. Remember none of these are 100% effective and supervision is always needed.
- Check the home page of your child/ren’s favourite social network, game and so on. This will give you an overview of the website and its suitability.
- Spend 30 minutes watching your child/ren play an online game so that you can see the content and be happy that it is suitable for them.
- Check the age ratings of games at PEGI. Remember video games ratings are all about the content and not the difficulty of the game.
- Say NO to your child playing any game that has a rating of 18 years and above or using websites that you think are unsuitable.
- Talk you child/ren about their privacy settings and ask them to show you how to change these settings. Encourage your child/ren to only have online friends that know in the real world.
- Tell your child/ren what to do if they ever feel frightened or scared when online or using their mobile phone. It is important that your child/ren know they can always talk to you and you will help them (you may not know the answer but by talking to the school, other parents, ThinkUknow FAQs, mobile phone provider and so on you will be able to find a solution)
- Visit ThinkUknow and look at the parents’ section. Show your child the ‘Report Abuse’ button and together click to see the advice and links.
- Visit Childnet and have a look at the parents’ section. Towards the bottom of the page, ‘Parents Online’ is an interactive animation specifically developed for parents.