The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the need for staying safe online, with more children spending more time on a screen for education as well as leisure purposes. To mark Child Safety Week we have outlined below some simple steps for safeguarding children when using the internet.
One of the simplest things you can do as a guardian is to set up parental controls on your children’s devices. Parental controls are a group of settings that put you in control of what your child can view on the internet. You can find more guides and resources for parents, teachers, and guardians on the Internet Matters website here.
Parental controls are not 100% effective, so it is always important to teach your child what to do if they encounter a risk online, as well as encouraging them to talk to you about anything they may find upsetting online.
Many social media platforms and games come with an age rating system or age restrictions, and it is important to be aware of these as a guardian, as these can be easily bypassed. You can read more about gaming on the ThinkuKnow website here.
It is also important to be away of in-game and online chats. Chatrooms enable children to connect with people across the world – including adults who may be posing as children.
If you are worried that a child is being groomed on any online platform, you should seek support by contacting your local police on 101. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
The NEBRC website has a dedicated section for families with a range of guidance and links on how to keep children safe online, found at https://www.nebrcentre.co.uk/families.