Below are some tips on how to protect your child, and encourage them to make smart choices in their online life. This information is informed by Childnet.com, and the NDCS' online guide, and we recommend parents and young people visit their websites for more information on online safety.
- Have a conversation - Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online. Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share? Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
- Respect the fact that as your child gets older they will want more privacy, but make it clear that they can talk to you if anything goes wrong online.
- Explain how everything your child puts online about themselves builds up their online reputation - if they wouldn’t share the information in real life, then they shouldn’t share it online.
- Sit down with your child and review their privacy settings – make sure they are aware of how much information they are sharing about themselves. You might find the social networks checklists from the UK Safer Internet Centre (www.saferinternet.org.uk/social-network-checklists) useful.
- Warn your child that not everything or everyone online can be trusted. Encourage them to question people’s motives and to challenge the idea of online friendship.
- If your child has told you they are being bullied online, reassure them that they did the right thing by telling you and that together you can do something about it. Make sure your child knows how to block, report or delete contacts that are upsetting them. You could signpost them to NDCS Buzz (the website for deaf children and young people) where you will find information on how to deal with cyberbullying: www.ndcsbuzz.org.uk/stayingsafeonline.
Below is an NDCS guide to online safety aimed at young people. BSL videos on online safety can be found on YouTube, from organisations such as the NDCS and Childline.