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Children and young people spend a lot of time online and may face risks such as cyberbulling or being exposed to inappropriate content. Whether you’re unsure about what happends online or are familiar with new technoloyg, it’s important that you talk to your child about staying safe.

What do children do online?

Children and young people go online for a variety of reasons and use a number of different sites:

What are the risks and dangers to children online?

Children and young people may face the below risks:

  • Cyberbulling – this is bullying that takes place online, social networking websites or through mobile phones and includes sending threatening or disturbing text messages, homophobia, racism or sexism, making silent, hoax or abusive calls, creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos, ‘trolling’ which is the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games, excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups, setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child, encouraging young people to self-harm, voting for someone in an abusive poll, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name, sending ‘sexts‘ to pressure a child into sending images or other activity.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content – this may include pornography, child abuse images, dangerous advice encouraging eating disorders, self-harm or suicide, and excessive violence or race hate materials
  • Grooming and sexual abuse – this is where someone builds an emotional connection with a young person in order to sexually abuse them. It is easy for groomers to hide their identity onine, as children and young people often chat to or become ‘friends’ with people that they don’t know.
  • Gambling or running up debts – many online games are free but offer items to purchase or entice with prizes which can lead to gambling or building up debts without realising.

Tips for keeping children safe online

  • Talk to your child about how they can stay safe online
  • Ask your child what they do online
  • Let your child teach you about the online world
  • Know who your child is talking to online
  • Agree that either yourself or a trusted adult can become ‘friends’ so you can their profile and posts can be seen
  • Set rules and agree boundaries
  • Be aware of age restrictions – children must be at least 13 to register on most social networking sites and at least 18 for gambling sites
  • Use parental and privacy controls
  • Check your child knows how to use reporting tools
  • Think You Know provides advice on online parenting.  There is also further information at Think You Know training.
  • Go to our PSCB pages on radicalisation, exploitation, or bullying for more information on these areas

For more information read the latest edition of the Online Safety newsletter.

Share Aware

The NSPCC has launched a public education campaign, called Share Aware, to help parents keep their children safe online. The campaign is aimed at parents and carers of children aged 8-12 – the age at which they  start doing more online, become more independent and use a greater range of devices.  The campaign aims to encourage parents and carers to understand online safety and to have conversations with their children about keeping safe. There is also a downloadable guide (below) and a hard copy booklet for parents, containing top tips for keeping your child safe online, as well conversation starters to help parents have conversations with their children. For more information or to watch the campaign video visit the Share Aware webpage.

Who to contact

Multi Agency Safeguarding Team: 0845 671 0271

Out of Hours Duty Team: 0300 555 1373

NSPCC: 0808 800 5000

CHILDLINE: 0800 11 11

Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP)

CEOP is there to support young people, parents and carers while surfing online, and offers help and advice on topics such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • hacking
  • harmful content

It also enables people to immediately report anything online which they find concerning, such as harmful or inappropriate content, or possible grooming behaviour.

For more information or to report a concern click here

If the matter involves an allegation against a member of staff or volunteer:
Please contact the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) 02392 882500 email LADO@portsmouthcc.gcsx.gov.uk

Supporting documents