In these challenging times it is a comfort to know that the online world is still open to us – keeping us connected and offering us access to vital services that otherwise we would be without. Inevitably this means our children are spending more time online, which can be a concern for parents and carers who may have had to relax their usual rules on ‘screen time’.
Industry bodies like the UK Safer Internet Centre and National Online Safety have pulled together a wealth of useful resources on keeping young people safe online. It can feel like a minefield to begin but Childnet International has broken down its resources into age-appropriate categories. You’ll find quick activities and films that cover everything from identifying fake news to online bullying.
Advice if something goes wrong
If you are concerned by something you or your children have seen online, you can report it at reportharmfulcontent.com. Set up by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the site covers eight areas of harmful content including online abuse, bullying and harassment. For additional help and support younger children can call Childline and for older children The Mix offers free and practical advice.
As a family you can prepare your children by talking about how to behave appropriately online and discuss the steps they can take if something goes wrong. While their screen time will inevitably go up, there is still a place for boundaries that set out how the whole family will use technology. UKSIC’s family agreement template is a great place to start:
For extra support the Department for Education recommends the following resources:
- Thinkyouknow – advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
- Internet matters – support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Parent info – support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- LGfL – support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Net-aware – support for parents and careers from the NSPCC