Safer Internet Day is here, so let’s talk about keeping your young ones safe online.

Every year, the UK Safer Internet Centre organises a theme centered around internet safety, especially for young people. This year’s theme is: All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online‘. 

The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership between three organisations: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL

Together, they’re on a singular mission – one we wholeheartedly support – to make the internet a safe place for children and young people. 

Check out their website for more information and for a wealth of advice and fun activities for the kids. We recommend their Safer Internet video series as well as their recent 2021 Report which details all the great work the charities have done over the past year to keep children safe online.

In the meantime here are our top tips to help your kids safely enjoy the internet. 

Teach your child about the responsible use of their laptop, mobile or other device

Discuss what is okay and not okay to use their device for and look at the possible risks together. For instance, explain that using their laptop to research homework is perfectly fine but to only click on secure sites

Think about the location of internet connected devices around the home

Whether your devices are in a shared family space or in your child’s bedroom is important and of course, each child is different. Set time limits and remind your child often about the risks of strangers online. Be open with them so that they feel comfortable to come to you if anything arises.

Always explore parental controls on each device

Explore the controls available for parents and guardians on any device which can connect to the internet, such as phones, tablets, games consoles, laptops and desktop computers. It’s always good to keep the discussion open with your child if you want to utilise parental controls, which takes us to our next tip.

Talk with your child about responsible Internet and phone use

Discuss the things that are okay and those which are not okay to use their devices for. For instance you may want to set some rules such as no gaming after a certain time of day or ensuring they cannot charge their phone in their bedroom. Taking time to explain these limits and why they are important will help your child understand.

Plan ahead and talk to your child about what they need to do if something upsetting happens

Give your child a plan of action in case anything goes wrong or something worrying happens. Without knowing what to do, they may accept what is happening as normal. For instance, a great tactic to teach them is to immediately lock the screen and tell you or another allocated adult they trust. That way an adult can check what is going on and see if it is of genuine concern. If it’s other internet users, you can then report them to the platform, or to block the user.

Additional Resources: Keeping Your Child Safe Online

For lots more advice, in addition to Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL listed above, here’s are some more helpful sites full of great advice and tips for parents: