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Staying Safe Online

E-Safety - Younger Children

Children of all ages enjoy using technology. Many children are able to go online and play games, make video calls to family members, watch videos and their favourite TV shows and even ask Siri or Alexa to play their favourite song!

Lots of children have their own tablets and mobile phones or are able to use their parent’s or friends.

E-Safety means making sure that the ways which children and young people use the internet, mobile phones or social media to communicate are safe.

There are lots of ways to communicate including pictures, videos and messages. As a parent or carer it is important to understand how the internet works, and that anyone can add information, images and videos at any time. It also means that there is nothing stopping children watching things that are aimed at adults.

CEOP Education

Thinkuknow is an education programme which protects children both online and offline. There are different websites for different ages, with advice about staying safe on a phone, tablet or computer.

Dive Deeper

E-Safety Tips Videos

These ‘Internet Matters’ videos talk about what you can do at home to keep computers, tablets and phones safe and gives e-safety tips for parents of children.

Talking To Your Child

It’s really important to talk with your child about staying safe online. Here are 4 key points that might help; 

  • People you don’t know are strangers – they may not be who they say they are
  • Be nice to people the same as you would in everyday life
  • Keep your personal information private. You don’t need to tell people your full name, age, school or address
  • If your child gets an ‘uh-oh’ feeling in their tummy about something that is happening online or on social media tell an adult that they trust.

I am worried about talking to my child.

  • Find the right time and place to talk – make sure you are both comfortable and won’t be interrupted.
  • Let your child know why you are worried – be honest and tell them what is worrying you and what you have noticed to make you feel worried about them.
  • Give them time to talk, it can sometimes feel easier to fill the silence but your child may need time to open up.

What if my child does not want to talk?

  • You can’t force them to talk but don’t give up. Try again at another time. Remember to be patient and ready to talk if they change their mind.

Remember if you are concerned that your child is in immediate danger call 999.

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.

Top Tips for Staying Safe Online

Here are some tips for things you can do to help keep your children safe on the internet;

  • Be with younger children when they are online, this way you can see what they are doing and are available to help if they get into any trouble.
  • If you are worried about a website or app they are looking at, ask them to show you it. This can help start conversations about worries you may have. By talking about it you normalise the topic. Talk about it openly and regularly - the internet and technology are something that your children are surrounded by and it is safer for you all to understand it.
  • Parental controls can be used to block upsetting or harmful content that your child may see online, control in-app purchases or manage how long your child spends online, you can install them on mobile phones, tablets, computers, laptops and games console.

Issues Children Face Online

Cyberbullying

This is bullying that happens online. This includes through social media, apps and online games.

Online grooming

It is easy for young people to have conversations online with people they don’t know.

Inappropriate content

As children become more independent online, it’s possible that they may come across things which are inappropriate for their age or stage of development.

Online Reputation

The internet keeps a record of everyone’s online behaviour – the photos we upload, the comments other people make about us and the things we buy. It’s important children understand about how things they say and do online can affect them later in life. 

Social media is often a big part of a young person's life and it can often feel that they are glued to their phones. As a parent/carer if you are worried about who your child is contacting on their phone, talk to them. You can always check who they are messaging.

It can be hard to understand all of the current social media platforms, so if you need to talk about your young person's internet use or are worried about who they are talking to online, you can always contact us for advice and guidance.

Who can Help?

You can also contact a member of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

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