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Keeping your child safe online
At Bell Farm we take every aspect of your child’s safety very seriously. Following work with parents on e-safety at Parents’ Evening, we have decided to produce additional guidance, designed to give you advice on how to keep your child safe online. We will talk you through some of the risks children may face in the online world, how to talk to your child about e-safety, and guide you to further advice.
We also produce newsletters on key topics for parents and children which you can use as a starting point to get to know about some of your child’s online activity and talking about ways in which they can keep themselves safe. They are also available to download below.
Click here to download our newsletters. They are presented in two formats, one for parents, and one child-friendly version which you can discuss with your family:
Our future topics will include Gaming, Cyberbullying, Inappropriate Websites, Viruses, Hacking and Security, Instant Messaging, Photo Sharing, and Webcams.
You may also find this document from the NSPCC helpful: A Parents’ Guide to being Share Aware
Where do we start?
The internet is an essential and everyday part of children’s lives. As a parent, it can be difficult to be certain about exactly what our children are doing online, and to know whether what they are doing online is safe.
There is a great deal of advice available for parents online, and Bell Farm would recommend that you visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk and www.internetmatters.org The NSPCC website also offers support and guidance.
The thinkuknow website is run by CEOP, a branch of the Police which deals with online safety and is full of helpful videos, advice, games and cartoons regarding online safety. There are sections for children, parents and schools with appropriate advice and guidance.
Internet Matters is aimed at parents and offers practical advice with regard to website content, how to set up parental controls and how to deal with inappropriate use and signposts to other useful resources. They are also supported by CEOP.
You may also find this leaftlet produced in partnership by the NAHT and Family Action helpful.
Did you know?
- 82% of 5 to 7 year olds now have internet access
- 58% of 8 to 11 year olds play video or computer games every day
- 62% of 12 to 15 year olds have a smartphone
- 68% of 12 to 15 year olds have a social networking account
- Although under- 13s are legally not allowed to have accounts on sites such as Facebook, Ofcom found that at least 22% of 8 to 12 year olds have social media accounts
- On average, children aged 5-7 will spend 6.2 hours per week gaming, and children aged 8-11 will spend 10.7 hours
- A quarter of all boys who play games online in the UK will play against people they don’t know. This is an added risk as boys are also more likely to arrange to meet people from the internet
Statistics taken from Ofcom (2013) Children and Parents: media use and attitudes and Livingstone and Haddon (2009) EU Kids Online: Final Report
Top tips for getting started from Thinkuknow:
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
- Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wi-fi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
- If you have a child who is at, or is due to start, secondary school, read the secondary school advice on www.thinkuknow.co.uk to find out what you can do to support them.
We hope that you find this initial guidance useful. In the meantime if you have any concerns regarding your child’s safety online, please use the resources we have detailed above or contact us directly at Bell Farm.
Mrs A Beardon