10 ways to ensure your children are safe online

Paul Oldham, deputy head of Richmond House School, Leeds

Paul Oldham, deputy head of Richmond House School, Leeds - Credit: Archant

Paul Oldham, deputy head of Richmond House School, Leeds offers tips to ensure your child stays safe online

A study by BBC children’s television programme Newsround found that over 75 per cent of 10 to 12-year-olds have social media accounts despite being under age. With additional reports that one in five children have experience of online bullying, we feel it is more important than ever that schools and parents work together to offer a consistent message to children about internet safety.

The internet offers a wealth of information for both children and adults alike, and in this digital age it is a valuable resource that we want to take advantage of. Take a look at the following tips and reminders to help you and your children stay safe online:

• Ensure all PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones used by your children have parental controls set up, and that any passwords are not given to your children.

• Children should be supervised at all times when online, ensure family members who regularly look after them are also aware of this.

• Make sure your children are aware of cyber bullying, what to do if they experience it and how serious an issue it is.

• Remind your children that any pictures or comments posted could be made public despite the use of privacy settings and can remain online forever, even for future employers to see.

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• Ensure apps and games that your children use are age appropriate – there is a very good reason why some have age restrictions.

• The stranger rule also applies online – make sure your children do not chat to people they do not know, they do not release any personal details and never make any arrangements to meet offline.

• Be aware of the risks of online gaming, remind your children that not everyone is who they claim to be and may have dishonourable motives. You may also need to limit time spent on gaming.

• Ensure social media age restrictions are adhered to; the majority of social media sites including Facebook have a minimum age limit of 13.

If your child is old enough to use sites such as Facebook, make sure you know what they are posting on social media and ensure privacy settings are set to the highest possible level.

• Be aware of what your children are viewing on YouTube, even the parental control safety mode is not completely guaranteed to block inappropriate content.

• Make sure your children know what to do if they feel uncomfortable when online or need to report an incident.

The internet is an amazing place for children to learn and develop; there is no need to be frightened of them using it, just to be aware of the potential issues which may arise. At Richmond House School we work in partnership with our parents, and we endeavour to support and offer advice to families who bring their concerns to us.

Further information on online gaming, social media and protecting yourself and your children online visit saferinternet.org.uk or getsafeonline.org or childnet.com

To report any incidents involving children online go to ceop.police.uk. w

How do you manage your child’s time online? Share your advice with us by emailing feedback@yorkshirelife.co.uk.

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