While school is closed, here’s what you can do to keep your child stay safe while they are learning, staying in touch with family and friends, and having fun online.
8 steps to keep your child safe online now and after the lockdown:
1. Explore together: Ask your child to show you their favourite websites and apps and what they do on them. Listen, show interest and encourage them to teach you the basics of the site or app.
2. Chat about online safety little and often: Young people are likely to want to explore new apps and websites this month, whether that’s for learning or for fun. Take this opportunity to talk to them about how to stay safe on these new services, and in general. Ask if anything ever worries them while they’re online. Make sure they know that if they ever feel worried, they can get help by talking to you or another adult they trust.
3. Help your child identify trusted adults who can help them if they are worried: This includes you and other adults at home, as well as adults from wider family, school or other support services who they are able to contact at this time. Encourage them to draw a picture or write a list of their trusted adults.
4. Be non-judgemental: Explain that you would never blame them for anything that might happen online, and you will always give them calm, loving support.
5. Talk about how their online actions can affect others: If your child is engaging with others online, remind them to consider how someone else might feel before they post or share something. If they are considering sharing a photo/video of somebody else, they should always ask permission first.
6. Parental controls: Make use of the parental controls available on your home broadband and any internet enabled device in your home. You can find out more about how to use parental controls by visiting your broadband provider’s website.
7. Direct your child to age appropriate information about relationships and sex: It’s natural for young people to start exploring their sexual feelings online and adolescents are more inclined to take risks. It’s important to understand this and to talk to your child in a positive way. The Mix and Childline all provide age appropriate information about relationships and sex that you can signpost your child to.
8. Make sure they know about CEOP: Young people can report a concern about grooming or sexual abuse to CEOP at www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/ and get support from a specialist Child Protection Advisor.
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