Computers & Technology

Top tips for child safety online

internet dangers

This year UK internet providers launched a helpful child internet safety portal, InternetMatters.org, which recommends families respond to threats like cyberbullying, Internet predators, sexting (sending explicit self-portraits) and pornographic content by auditing online profiles, parental monitoring of browsing history, and switching on filters that can block inappropriate content.

According to UK statistics, one in four children have seen sexual images online by the age of 12, while 60% of teens have been asked for a sexual image of themselves, and 28% of children do not tell their parents when they are being bullied online, often for fear of having their phone taken away.

BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media launched the InternetMatters.org site in May 2014 following a push from David Cameron's government to increase online protections for children, including legislating for optional ISP-level online filters.

INTERNETMATTERS.ORG Top 10 Tips:

1

Encourage your child to always use child-friendly search engines, such as Swiggle, Ajkids or Kids-search. Safe search settings can also be activated on Google and Bing. Don't forget to opt for the safety mode on YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.

2

Parental controls should be installed on every device your child uses: mobile phone, tablet and games consoles (both home and handheld). For how-to's, scroll to the end of this page: internetmatters.org/technologies/parental-controls.html.

3

Cyberbullies are looking for a reaction, so make sure your child knows that by deciding not to reply they are making an active choice not to give power to the bully.

4

Use the built-in tools on social networks and mobile services to block anyone who is cyberbullying your child.

5

Remind your children that even though people they have met online might feel like friends, they may not be who they say they are.

6

Make a habit of checking the information that's online about your child. Keep an eye on the social network pages and other sites your child uses.

7

If you see inaccurate information about your child, ask the person who posted it to correct or delete it. If they won't, ask the site administrator to do so.

8

When your child stops using a social networking profile or website, it's a good idea to deactivate or delete their account.

9

Look in the browser history at the search terms your child has been using and the sites they've visited. Keep an eye on the apps they've downloaded on their phones too.

10

No filter is 100% effective. Make sure you talk to your child about online pornography as well.

Helpful sites for parents: childnet.com, vodafonedigitalparenting.co.uk, aplatformforgood.org, onguardonline.gov (US site), pitda.co.uk, amf.org.au/bullying

Helpful sites for kids: cybersmart.gov.au, thinkuknow.co.uk

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