The internet is a great way for children and young people to connect with others and learn new things. As interactions between people are increasingly taking place on-line it is essential that we safeguard children as robustly in the virtual world as we do in the real one. We can do this through:
- Promoting safe on-line behaviour to children, young people and their families
- Taking children, young people and their families’ on-line actions and networks into account when providing support
Children, young people and their families go online for a variety of reasons, including:
- To search for information or content on search engines
- Share images and watch videos through websites or mobile apps
- Use social networking websites
- Write or reply to messages on forums and message boards
- Play games along or with others through websites, apps or games consoles
- Chat with other people through on-line, games, messenger apps, games consoles, webcams, social network, and other instant communication tools
- Find new friends and partners
There are lots of benefits in going on-line, and also some risks. These include:
- Exposure to and sharing of explicit material (including sexting)
- Identity theft
It’s important that as professionals you are confident in talking with children, young people and their families about their on-line choices and interactions. This includes tablets, lap-tops, phones etc, for example:
- Personal information shared on-line: checking privacy settings, sharing contact details, geotagging
- Images shared and online communication: on-line support networks, inappropriate images (e.g. sexting), online bullying or harassment
- On-line relationships: safe online friendships, meeting up with on-line friends or potential partners
Advice and resources
If you’re looking for training on online safety you may wish to consider these courses, however there are other organisation that offer similar courses that you might wish to explore.
The Lurking Trolls campaign has resources to help primary school aged children understand online risks and how to respond to them.
CEOP Thinkuknow provides advice for parents and carers, children and young people, and those that work with them.
NSPCC Online Safety has further advice and tools.
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:
- harmful content
It also enables people to immediately report anything on-line which they find concerning, such as harmful or inappropriate content, or possible grooming behaviour.
For more information, or to report concerns, simply click here.