This post is in collaboration with the NSPCC.
Online safety is an important talking point for parents. The internet didn’t exist when I was young so it’s all new for my generation to talk to our kids about the internet & staying safe. To help keep the kiddies safe, I have 5 tips to keep children safe online & some advice for setting up parental controls.
This time of year, a lot of kids have new tablets or phones from Christmas & they are getting used to using them. It’s very easy to find something online that’s not child-friendly. Simply by misspelling a search word, a child could end up seeing something they shouldn’t see.
For older kids who are on social media or playing games that interact with strangers, they can be vulnerable if they give away personal information or photographs of themselves.
So talking about internet safety is a critical issue. And really, talking about safety online is no different than talking about safety when out & about. When you read about internet stats it can be really alarming.
The NSPCC & O2
Because it can be hard to know what to say & do to keep the kiddies safe online, the NSPCC has partnered with O2. to support parents with the knowledge, skills and practical help.
NSPCC research found that children were as likely to find pornography accidentally, as to deliberately search for it. And, Childline has seen a 60% year on year increase in counseling sessions with children left worried after seeing porn online.
Yikes those numbers are frightening! Obviously, there is a huge need to keep kids safe online which involves both talking to your children & setting up parental controls.
The NSPCC has put together a great page that discusses ways to talk to your child about staying safe online.
5 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Online – talking points
1 Talk to your child about private information.
Your photo, telephone number, email, username, passwords, birth date & address are private information that shouldn’t be given to people online. If someone asks for this information advise your child to let you know right away & don’t give any of the info away.
2 Talk to your child about being careful when clicking.
Some Apps have pop-ups that take you out of the app, invite others to join the game or offer new items that have to be paid for. If the child doesn’t know what the pop up says, tell them not to click it but to show you instead.
3. Tell your child how to deal with online bullying or inappropriate questions.
If someone is harassing them online they should come to you so you can help them. The NSPCC has a helpful page about cyberbullying.
4. Give your child reassurance that they won’t get in trouble by telling you something.
Reassure your child that you are there to help keep them safe. If they are unsure about anything they should show you so you can help. If anything seems wrong or upsetting to tell you & to never hide anything. Let them know that regardless of what they tell you, they won’t get in trouble.
This way if something does go wrong for them online they can feel comfortable reaching out to you for help.
5. Look at Apps together
Open the different Apps together & see how they work. I always open new Apps with my kids to help them navigate & see how it works for myself too & if there are any pop-ups. Delete any Apps you decide aren’t appropriate.
There are a number of ways parents can help to keep children safe online but one simple and proven measure is to set parental controls. Parental controls can be used to block upsetting or harmful content, control in-app purchases & manage how long your child spends online.
The NSPCC’s previous Share Aware campaigns focused on supporting parents to have conversations with their children to help keep them safe. The most effective way to keep kids safe online is a combination of setting parental controls & talking to kids about online saftey. Because even innocent searches can sometimes reveal not so innocent results.
Together with O2 the NSPCC is providing parents with the free advice and technical support they need to keep children safe online. They run workshops with parents across the country, & offer a free dedicated helpline service – 0808 800 5002 – for any internet safety questions (i.e. setting parental controls).
Additionally, parents can get hands-on free assistance in-store with O2 Gurus. Any parent can contact the helpline or bring a device into store – whether an O2 customer or not.
Support The NSPCC
The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity in the UK, specializing in child protection and dedicated to the fight for every childhood. They are the only UK children’s charity with statutory powers and that means they can take action to safeguard children at risk of abuse.
As a UK charity, almost 90% of their funding is from generous people, who care about the safety of children. You can support the NSPCC with a donation: nspcc.org.uk/donate.