Online Safety - Advice for Parents
Ofcom reported in 2017 that Internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for the UK’s children, with not only most 11-15 year-olds spending over 6 hours a day online, but with almost half of 8-15 year-olds said they preferred to watching YouTube than the TV set.
Recent statistics also show that smartphones are increasingly taking over from laptops and computers for Internet access in the home. The reassurance of being able to contact your child, of them being able to contact you and of missed buses no longer being a worry is more than enough for most of us to justify them having a smartphone, but this convenience itself comes with other problems.
We hear and read about cyberbullying, inappropriate web content, online grooming - and that's without the possibility of hefty mobile phone bill. There’s no avoiding the fact that you do run a risk by giving your child a mobile, but there are things you can do to minimise that risk, such as:
- discuss online dangers with them and encouraging them to tell you whenever something unsettling them comes up.
- remind them that what goes on the Internet now stays on the Internet and may be seen by future employers or universities.
- when they're unsure whether to post a comment or photo, ask them to imagine what mum or dad would say if they saw it.
- make sure you're on their 'Friends' list on social networking sites.
- find out about (and use) parental controls on phones and apps.
We have collected together some useful Internet sites aimed at helping parents feel confident in keeping their children safe online, whether it's on a laptop or a smartphone.
National Online Safety have produced a free parents' guide about the game Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Although rated 18+ due to it's violence and crime-related content, it is nevertheless very popular with teenagers. Please read the free guide on the parent guides page, as well as guides about other games and platforms, and visit National Online Safety's social media sites for more information.
There are also links on the students' online safety page showing them how to find out more and where to go for help which are well worth a visit.