Talk to your child about who they're talking to online and encourage them to think before talking to people they don't know in person
Try to understand and guide your child's online behaviour - negotiate and establish boundaries and discuss sensitively the issues around the concept of 'friends'
Familiarise yourself with the social networking sites and chat programmes your child uses. Find out more about its build-in safety functions and how they can be contacted within the service
Ask your child if they know how to block someone who they don't want to talk to anymore. If they don't, help them learn how to use the blocking feature
Use parental control software provided by your internet service provider, mobile phone network, online content provider or games console, and consider using filtering options, monitoring and setting time limits for access to chat.
If you discover misconduct between your child and someone online stay calm, investigate the facts and seek expert help. If someone has acted inappropriately towards your child, or someone they know (such as sexual chat, or asking them to meet up) contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
NSPCC and O2 have a free online safety helpline for parents and carers - 0808 800 5000
Find more information for parents and carers on Internet Matters website which covers all things internet safety
- ABA and the Sex Education Forum (SEF) have produced a free guide in the attachments below for parents and carers with advice on talking to children about healthy and safe relationships online.
If my child is not talking to me, is it right to monitor their phone with/ without their knowledge so I can intervene if there is a problem?
To spy or not to spy? It’s the age-old question that many parents ask themselves when thinking about their online safety. On one hand, you want to keep your child safe but, on the other, you don’t want to lose their trust or make them not share with you. The answer is not simple:
Depending on their age (younger children should have their online activity supervised) and unless you have reason to suspect they or others are at risk of harm – for example, they are talking to a dangerous person or they are sexting (sending someone sexually explicit images or messages) – then we would advise not to snoop on their private messages. If found out, this could mean that your child chooses not to share with you and hides their online activity. Instead we would advise:
- Have open communication about their online activity
- Reassure them they can come to you if they are worried about anything they see online
- Keep up to date with the new technological trends and fashions
- Agree together clear boundaries for example turning the Wi-Fi off by bed time