As a parent, you want to protect your child and you will want to make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so - particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
E-safety is a term which refers not only to the internet, but other ways in which young people communicate using electronic media, such as mobile phones. E-safety means ensuring that children and young people are protected from harm and supported to achieve the maximum benefit from new and developing technologies without risk to themselves or others. The aim of promoting e-safety is to protect young people from the adverse consequences of access or use of electronic media, including from bullying, inappropriate sexualised behaviour or exploitation.
How can I keep my child safe on-line?
It can be difficult to keep up with all of the new technology that is now available to children and young people. For many adults this represents a big difference from what they experienced as a child and parents can find themselves ill-equipped to offer guidance and support in this area. It is a good idea to set up suitable rules in your house, share them with your children and keep yourself up-to-date.
Simple ideas to try at home include:
- Don’t have the internet switched on after bedtime
- Don’t allow children to use the internet alone in their bedrooms
- Inform your children of information they must not give out online
- Invest in parental control software for all computers in your household
- Introduce a policy whereby all mobile phones remain in the kitchen as opposed to the bedrooms
Aside from the above, it is important to keep communication channels open and ensure that your child knows that they can come to you if things go wrong or they are worried. If a child is too frightened of being blamed if they confide, the likelihood is that further exploitation will take place and they will be at greater risk - including of bullying and negative impact on their mental health.
What to do if your child has been exploited on-line
If your child tells you that inappropriate images of them have been shared on-line by either themselves or someone else, you need to take action - including making a report:
- Reassure your child that telling you is the best thing they could have done
- Keep calm and don’t blame - children and young people do make mistakes as part of growing up
- Make a report to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) - they can help get the images taken down, provide support and guidance, particularly on dealing with bullying
- Make an indecent content report to the host website, for example YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or SnapChat. To find out more about doing this, visit Childnet.
- Report any criminal content that has been shared, such as child sexual abuse, to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). They can also help if you have issues with getting images removed, provide support and take forward investigations relating to the perpetrator.
- Parents Pack - What’s the problem? Lucy Faithfull Foundation (PDF 3.92 MB)
- NSPCC - Parents’ guide to being share aware
- Parent Zone - where to report concerns about on-line content
- NSPCC Guide to keeping children safe - online games
- Ask.FM Online Safety Guidance
- Social Media Guidance for Parents and Carers - Keeping Children Safe On-line, NSPCC et al (PDF 105KB)
- MPS Social Media Abbreviation and Emoji Guide (PDF 494KB)
- Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) - is dedicated to eradicating the sexual abuse of children of all ages
- Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) - removal of child sexual abuse content from the Internet
- Childnet - a non-profit organisation working with others to 'help make the Internet a great and safe place for children'
- The Cybersmile Foundation - cyberbullying charity providing advice and support to anyone being affected by cyberbullying issues
- Family Services Directory - aims to provide information on all services in Redbridge for children, young people, families and practitioners
- Think U Know - CEOP online safety centre, where you will find advice and tips for children, adults and professionals of all ages
- Internet Matters - for parents and carers on parenting in a digital age
- Parent Zone - specialist guidance for helping parents to keep children and young people safe on-line
- UK Safer Internet Centre - digital wellbeing guidance for parents