Currently, we are all spending more time online than usual due to the pandemic situation – and we are so grateful that the internet gives us all the opportunity to stay connected, continue with education, work and entertain ourselves during these complicated times.
We are all working hard to keep each other safe off-line, but what can we do to ensure our children stay safe online?
With the next annual Safer Internet Day just around the corner, we thought we would put together a handy guide for parents, with what we think, are the best ways to keep your kids safe online.
Top tips for keeping your child safe online
1. Parental Controls
Make use of parental controls, filters and tools. These can be configured on devices, software and services to limit what can be accessed by your children. Internet Matters have a great guide to setting these up.
2. Have the conversation
Do this early, before your children start using the internet, and regularly once they are using it. Ensure they know that they can come to you with any concerns they have about something they’ve experienced online.
3. Boundaries and Supervision
Managing screen-time, setting boundaries around where screens can be used, and creating supervision opportunities is the easiest way to ensure your child stays safe online.
4. Spend some time online together
If you can be actively engaged and enjoy spending some time online with your children, you will be able to spot anything that requires attention from you, or awareness from them.
5. Educate yourself
With the online realm in constant flux, make sure you stay in touch with the latest popular social media platforms and websites that your child is likely to be using and know how to use them yourself, even if they are not your thing.
This way, you can advise your child on solving issues such as blocking unwanted contact, offensive content and keeping information private.
Resources that can help you keep your children safe online
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a European Commission funded project that also offers resources for parents, carers, organisations and young people. It provides a helpline that offers individual support and where you can also report online child offences anonymously.
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What is Safer Internet Day?
Safer Internet Day is celebrated every year in February and has been running since 2011, focusing on the potential issues and threats we face online. Each year there is a different theme, explored through a series of activities and campaigns designed to spread awareness and educate children, parents and those within organisations across the nation.
This year (2021) we will celebrate Safer Internet Day on February 9th, and explore the theme: An internet we trust: exploring reliability in the online world.
In a nutshell, the day will centre around issues such as the spread of fake news, misleading adverts, spam mail and the misrepresentation of information in general online.
The day aims to educate us on spotting something dishonest and separating fact from fiction when navigating the online space, whilst celebrating the wealth of information available to us and highlighting some of the more positive impacts online connectivity gives us.