This page gives you advice on how to keep safe online.
The internet is a great place to explore, learn and have lots of fun, however, it can be dangerous if it is not used responsibly. With the ever growing popularity of social networking, sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube people often know more about your family than you may think.
Information and advice for parents and carers
If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person it is important to ensure that they enjoy the internet safely.
In the ever changing world of technology, parents and carers can keep up to date by reading guidance on Get Safe Online: Durham website or Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's Thinkuknow.co.uk website where you will find information and advice if your child is in primary or secondary education. Some of the topics covered are:
- What is my child doing online?
- How do I talk to my child about what they are doing online?
- What risks might my child face?
- What tools are available to help keep my child safe?
As you would protect your child in the real world, you also need to keep them safe in the virtual world.
Almost all devices allow parental controls to be set. These can be adjusted depending on the ages of the children. They can:
- stop children putting new apps on a device until you approve them
- reduce the chance of your child accidentally spending money on virtual goods
- limit the time that children use a device without having a break
A good starting point is the Internet Matters website. Go to the Setting Controls section at the top.
Probably the best thing you can do to help your children is to talk to them regularly about how they use technology, which apps and sites they use and who their online friends are. Some children struggle with online relationships perhaps either sending or receiving hurtful messages. You will be able to help guide them through this difficult area. If your children receive unpleasant messages they can usually be reported and each app or site will have a different way of doing this.
Apps and sites
The list of apps and websites children are using grows by the minute so printed advice is likely to be out of date. In the UK the NSPCC have a site called Net Aware which explains many current apps, the risks and the benefits of their use. More apps are listed on the American site Common Sense Media.
Activities for children
Thinkuknow.co.uk is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues. It also has games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.
For the youngest children, being tricked into sharing pictures can be an issue. London Grid for Learning have produced a lovely free Digisafe undressed video which has some great advice and a very catchy song.
- The NSPCC O2 online safety partnership provides advice to parents and have a free helpline on 0808 800 5002 - you do not have to be an O2 customer.
- Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 for advice on anything that is worrying them.
- It is a criminal offence for an adult to send a message with sexual content to a child (Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015). If you are concerned that this might have happened contact the police without further using the device. This will help ensure that evidence can be preserved. The police can be contacted by phone or from Thinkuknow.co.uk.