I was asked to go to an online safety meeting at my children’s school. I would consider myself fairly internet savvy but within two minutes was completely blown away by information that I didn’t know. Lucy Scott, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist, shares some things she learnt…

I have some questions for you. Do you think that internet safety doesn’t apply to you because your children are too young? Do you have computers downstairs and in easily accessible areas of your quarter? Does your child or your children’s friends have smartphones? Do they have social networking accounts to keep in touch with friends from several postings ago? Do they actually know all the people on their friend list?

Have you ever played the computer game that they are currently playing? Do you trust pink dragons in online games?

This is not supposed to worry you unnecessarily but it should make you think about how your family uses the internet. There are some excellent websites available to help you with online safety.

Here are some things for you to consider:

  • Try out the game yourself
  • Look at their search history
  • Use parental and privacy control settings
  • Be a friend of your children on social networking sites
  • Highlight to older siblings that some websites are not suitable for younger ones
  • Don’t be afraid to set digital technology rules early as these can be habits formed for life
  • Ask your friends how they manage their digital world in their family
  • Encourage your children to talk about their digital world with you, and teach your children that what goes online will stay online forever.

Some useful tips to pass on to your children:

  • Zip it – keep your personal stuff private
  • Block it – delete emails from people you don’t know, block them and don’t open attachments and links
  • Flag it – if someone upsets you or asks to meet, then flag it up with someone you trust.

Useful websites:

UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) – www.education.gov.uk/ukccis

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) – www.thinkuknow.co.uk  

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