TOP TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE ONLINE
* HAVE A DISCUSSION & GET INVOLVED: This sounds simple but many parents are fearful of broaching the topic or don’t know where to start, but the reality is for many children there is no longer much distinction between their lives on and offline. Ask your children about what they and their friends are doing online, to try and understand where any risks may be. Have a discussion about what information is and isn’t appropriate for your children to share, and explain why. Discuss which social networks they use and ask them to inform you of any upsetting messages, making it clear you won’t get angry.
* SWITCH ON PARENTAL CONTROL TOOLS: There are now some simple and easy-to-use filtering products available, which can help people make the right decisions for their homes. Different ISPs offer different types of filtering – for example Sky Broadband Shield uses a system of age ratings people will be familiar with - PG, 13, 18 – to decide the level of filtering to apply, and is available for free to their customers.
* GET SAVVY ABOUT TECH: These days it’s not just about the PC in the corner of the room. In many homes there are on average 7 internet-connected devices, with everything from smartphones to TVs and games consoles that connect to the web. Look out for a ‘whole home’ parental control tool that allows you to filter sites across the devices in your home.
* REGULARLY REVIEW YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS: These can control who can view your child’s profile on social networking sites and how much information, like photos and video they can see. Review these regularly on your children’s accounts – and yours too – as technology is continually being updated and settings may not automatically change to keep up.
* SET BOUNDARIES: Parental controls are not just about blocking access to websites, they are a tool to help set boundaries. Some will allow you to easily amend filters at the touch of a button, so you can set filtering during specific timeframes, for example, to prevent your children accessing social networking sites during homework time.
* KEEP TALKING: Young people use the internet to socialise and grow and, just as you guide and support them offline, you should be there for them online too. As they get older keep talking about how they are using the web, who they’re talking to and what they’re sharing. It is important to continue to discuss boundaries and how they are set so that they evolve along with your child’s use of technology.
Here is some feedback from the event:
"I attended the session about online safety delivered by the NSPCC this week.
It was really well presented and gave some great tips and information about understanding and sharing our children's online world in a safe way.
There was also advice about setting up parental controls and privacy settings, setting an online family agreement and a tool called Net Aware which provides "nutshell" information about the different Apps they are likely to encounter. I must admit, many of them were new to me!
The session has given me more confidence to allow the kids to have a little more independent access whilst we manage and monitor their experiences.
One suggestion which would make those early conversations a little easier would be for the children to bring home a worksheet style factsheet or check list to initiate conversation about online safety, using the pitch and language used in school. This would also allow the children to take the lead, which for mine would be most likely to succeed! If they thought they were teaching us something, they would be really chuffed!"
Family Online Agreement
Why not make a family agreement about what you can do online? It's a great way to start a conversation and discuss any worries you may have. An NSPCC template can be found below:
The following rules are what we teach our pupils in school... does your child know how to stay SMART online?
Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information – such as your full name, email address, phone number, home address, photos or school name – to people you are chatting with online.
Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. You can report online abuse to the police at www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages!
Information you find on the internet may not be true, or someone online may be lying about.
Tell your parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.