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  • Writer's pictureSafe and Free

Keeping Your Child Safe Online

The COVID-19 crisis and strict social distancing measures increased the vulnerability of children and young people, with a huge surge in screen time across the globe, traffickers had to rely on the internet to find and further exploit victims.
Regardless of age restrictions, children today have more access to social media platforms. The digital world offers many benefits to children and young people, opening up a variety of outlets for education, creativity, and social interaction. However, it also presents serious risks, including becoming victims of bullying, grooming, child sexual exploitation and trafficking.

What age should you start to talk to your child about online safety?

As soon as your child shows an interest in technology is an appropriate time to begin talking about online safety.

As a parent it is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online to encourage children to speak up if they come across something concerning. Make it a casual conversation, this will help them feel relaxed and comfortable to come and talk to you.

It is important that you remain openminded and understanding if your child reveals that they have experienced or are experiencing online abuse. It can be difficult for them to understand, they may even blame themselves for what has happened.

Reassure them that talking is the right thing to do, and you will help them report the crime or remove the inappropriate content.

How do i stay up to date with platforms like Facebook, Tiktok and Snapchat?

You may feel overwhelmed with the number of games, apps and social media platforms that are available today.

Our Advice:

Showing an interest in your child's favourite games, apps and platforms will give you an opportunity to spark conversations about the latest trends, online safety and privacy.

Researching the different platforms they use on google will help you understand the pros and cons.

Speaking with other parents, friends and family to see what their children are doing online will put you at ease.

Types of online exploitation include:
  • Cyberbullying

  • Grooming

  • Sexual Exploitation

  • Emotional Abuse

  • Sexual Abuse

Effects of online exploitation include:
  • Self Harm

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Anxiety

  • Eating disorders

What are Parental Controls and how do i use them?

Parental controls are designed to help protect children when they go online. You can put parental controls on the home Wi-Fi and all devices that your children might use. Content restrictions allow you to block things like pornography, in-app purchases and time limits.

Internet Matters has step-by-step guides on how to put many of these in place.

Settings limit who can contact your child, make sure you talk to your child first before implementing any new settings and explain to them how they help to keep them safe. Remind them not to share personal information online.

Report Concerns

If you are worried that a child may be unsafe online, you should report your concerns to CEOP. The Child Exploitation Online Protection command, part of the National Crime Agency.

Alternatively contact the NSPCC, you can also contact your local child protection services
or the police in an emergency.

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