Friday, 13 January 2017

Helping Your Child Stay Safe Online

I am teaming up with the NSPCC to help reinforce the important message of keeping children safe online.  Many of us might have had the stranger danger talk with our children, but what about the dangers of using their tablets or laptops in an online world.  Digital stranger danger is a real concern these days, especially with such young children now having access to mobile phones and other devices. 

Access to the Internet means they are more likely to see things that might not be age appropriate or interact with people they don’t really know through social networking sites.  Children can very vulnerable if they haven’t been warned of the dangers.  Some people are adept at gaining a child’s trust and might not be who they claim to be.  It’s important you don’t leave it to chance, get the discussion started about using the Internet, identifying risks and safe usage.  

The NSPCC are collaborating with O2 to be more Share Aware to think about the content, information and images your children share online.  Apparently one in five 8-11 year olds have a social network profile, so far I have managed to dissuade my eldest from getting one even although many of his friends have signed up on various networks.  Part of the campaign also focuses on understanding how innocent searches can lead to not so innocent results. Certain words can bring up quite different images/content than children were expecting.

But even if you have had the safety talk it doesn’t always sink in, so possibly one of the best ways to keep them safe is to lock down the Internet by adding parental controls that stops them accessing some sites completely.  Personally I am not keen on children having access to YouTube unsupervised.  Some of the content on there is quite unsavoury, yet it surprises me how many children have complete freedom to explore it.  It's much safer to be by their side.  


Searching for a particular cartoon doesn’t always work either, many have been altered and include bad language and other improper content – yes I know this first hand as I searched for a Mario video for eldest when he was quite young (say 4) and it seemed fine until Mario weed on Peaches!  Luckily I could quickly turn it off but without an adult present who knows where videos lead too…

You can also add limits to when they can access the Internet.  This is good if they happened to sneak their iPad up to their bedroom and tried to go online whilst they are meant to be sleeping.  I prefer screen time to be done downstairs where I can keep a watchful eye on proceedings.  Eldest goes online to talk to friends through his PS4 but I have made it quite clear he is not to add anyone without asking us first – so far he has followed the rules.

It is important to have guidelines in place so they know what is acceptable and what is not.  Both of mine know they must not give out the finer details of their lives (their names, addresses and school they attend).  I don’t want them adding people they don’t know to social media – if I am honest I am shocked some adults I know actually do this.  

Research by Ofcom found that a significant number of parents believed parental controls were not needed.

You also want children to feel comfortable to come to you if they did see something – you might have strict parental controls in place but when they visit friends it might be a different set up.  If your unsure how to set up parental controls do get help from the NSPCC and O2.  They have free advice and technical support available to keep children safe online. You can call the free dedicated helpline service - 0808 800 5002 - for any internet safety questions.   Additionally parents can get hands-on free assistance in-store with O2 Gurus. You do not need to be an O2 customer to make use of this support.

Please be aware the NSPCC is a charity and can only continue to provide such invaluable support through your donations.

13 comments:

  1. My Daughter is now Four so i totally agree with parental controls. You tube now has a children's app although there are still some scary bits on there!

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  2. My daughter has recently had visits at school from the NSPCC about this. My children's school keep telling the kids they have to go online to access certain maths projects which I think is wrong as you can message other children through these websites!

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  3. I'm a big advocate for how important the internet is for children, but I completely agree that YT is something to be careful of...

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  4. The internet is a scary place and as the mother of two teenage boys, they do tend to find what the want. Thankfully, the little ones are easier to manage

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  5. Child Safety is an Important ISSUE. Parents have Responsibilities, though I believe that we should all be aiming to Protect Children. Therefore those who set up web pages should be Responsible. As well as the Internet being Policed etc. The Public need to be Protected.

    Rachel Craig

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  6. My daughter is 4 and she gets 3hrs screening times on weekends and on weekdays 1 hr. She doesn't know the passwords for our phones and we have the remote for TV on our phones too. i totally agree with you. it is very important to keep an eye on our children and protect them. x

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  7. It really is important to start this as a young age - my teen recently watched Kayleighs love story which is the true story video being circulated by the police force and I think it really shocked her x

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  8. The internet is a weird and wonderful place, but it is both a blessing and a curse, I find it great for finding information quickly, but there is such a lot that is inappropriate for anyone, and we do need to keep everyone safe

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  9. This is something that infuriates me. I have protections and parental controls on our home devices, but when they go to friends they often don't. Maxi was introduced to porn at a sleepover, thankfully he told me, but when I raised it with the parents they were not bothered. They actually dismissed my concerns and said it was the same as finding a top shelf mag. God they were so naive!

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  10. My So and daughter are now at an age where they go off to their rooms and are online. Now having parental controls, means I can relax knowing that they will not stray onto unsuitable sites.

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  11. It's so difficult keeping up with all the new apps and things online. I have linked the younger children's iPods to my iPad where I can see everything that goes on - even so it's very scary online world out there and very hard keeping up with technology!

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  12. It's just terrifying isn't it? I try to keep my kids offline, but I know it won't be long.

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  13. It's a scary world and all parents need to be safe aware. If you're not sure, ask at school, or contact your local council, they will be pleased to help

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