The Internet has become part of our everyday lives and is now easier to access than ever before, but using the Internet can also have risks…
Children and young people are more at risk of exposure to inappropriate or criminal behaviour if they are unaware of the dangers.
These dangers can include:
- viewing unsuitable content e.g. hate material, adult content, sites that endorse unhealthy behaviour
- giving out personal information
- becoming involved in, or the victim of, bullying, identity theft, or making and spending indecent or illegal images
- spending too much time online which can effect concentration, education, sleep and health
- copying information from the Internet or buying work from other people to use as their own.
Using the Internet safely at home
Many Internet Service Providers offer systems and tools to help you safeguard your child at home but it is still easy for children to access inappropriate material, including unsuitable text, pictures and videos. Set your security levels within Internet Explorer or other browsers with this in mind. Locating the computer in a family area where possible, not a bedroom will enable you to supervise your son or daughter as they use the Internet. Also consider mobile phones and games consoles and other devices that can access the internet. However, don’t deny them the opportunity to learn from and enjoy the wide variety of material and games available on the Internet. Instead, discuss with them some simple rules for keeping safe online and making sure they understand their importance.
Simple rules for keeping your child safe
To keep your child safe they should:
- ask permission before using the Internet and discuss what websites they are using
- only use websites you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine
- only email people they know, (why not consider setting up an address book?)
- ask permission before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know
- not use their real name when using games or websites on the Internet, (create a nick name)
- never give out any personal information about themselves, friends or family online including home address, phone or mobile number
- never arrange to meet someone they have ‘met’ on the Internet without talking to an adult first; always take an adult and meet in a public place
- never tell someone they don’t know where they go to school or post any pictures of themselves in school uniform
- only use a webcam with people they know
- tell you immediately if they see anything they are unhappy with.
Go through these rules with your child and pin them up near to the computer. It is also a good idea to regularly check the Internet sites your child is visiting e.g. by clicking on History and Favourites. Please reassure your child that you want to keep them safe rather than take Internet access away from them.
For further information go to:
- Staying Safe Online Information for Parents and Carers
- Think U Know (for parents)
- Think U Know
When searching the Internet we recommend you use one of the following child friendly search engines: