There is a huge amount of information out there to support parents with keeping their children safe online but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. The weblinks below are widely considered to be among the clearest and easiest to use; we hope that they are some help to you.
In school we continue to encourage children to be ‘upstanding’ by questioning poor behaviour that they come across online just as they would in their offline world. At home we ask you to support your children by setting and reviewing privacy settings carefully and reporting anything they come across that upsets or offends. If you have a question about keeping your child safe online or how to use parental controls the NSPCC have a specific free helpline 0808 8005002.
Keep your child safe online
While there are huge benefits to being online to stay connected to family and friends during this period, the government recognises many parents feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online and where to go to get support and advice.
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
Talk to your child about the importance of creating a safe online environment, including keeping any log-in details and passwords safe.
These resources will support you to talk to your child about a range of online safety issues, set up home filtering in a child-friendly way and set up age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices:
Child sexual abuse
If you are concerned call 999 or report it to the NCA-CEOP.
If your child has been a victim of child sexual abuse – online or offline – and you believe they are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. The police will continue to respond to emergency calls.
If you are concerned that your child has been a victim of online sexual abuse or you are worried about the way someone has been communicating with your child online, you can report it to NCA-CEOP.
These resources provide information and support for parents and carers on what to do if you’re worried about child sexual abuse:
If you are concerned that any family member, friend or loved one is being radicalised, you can call the police or 101 to get advice or make a Prevent referral, so that they can get safeguarding support.
Support is tailored to the individual and works in a similar way to safeguarding processes designed to protect people from gangs, drug abuse, and physical and sexual exploitation.
Receiving support through Prevent is voluntary, confidential and not a form of criminal sanction.
If you need more help, you can also contact your local authority safeguarding team.
If you are concerned about cyberbullying, you can find government advice and information about how you can protect your child and tackle it if it happens.
Age-inappropriate content and parental controls
If you have downloaded new apps or bought new technology to help stay connected at this time, remember to review and adjust privacy and safety settings if you or your child is signing up to a new online service.
Apps to help children stay safe online
The BBC has a website and app called Own It. The website helps children navigate their online lives, and the free smartphone app comes with a special keyboard which can intervene with help and support in the moments that children need it the most. It can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
SafeToNet is an app for parents to help them protect their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, while respecting their child’s rights to privacy. The SafeToNet Foundation is providing UK families with free-for-life access to SafeToNet during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health, the government has published guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you are worried that someone you know is suicidal, including your child, Samaritans provides advice on how you can support others.
Support for children
If your child is worried or needs support, they can get advice and support from Childline (0800 1111) or download the ‘For Me’ app.