Children today live in a digital world. They can access the internet more easily than ever before and they don’t need to be at a computer to do it.
The development of digital technology and the internet has revolutionised how children (and adults) live their lives. Used appropriately this technology improves and enhances their lives in many ways. It also, however, presents opportunities for children to be exposed to content and situations that are harmful. We can’t hide our children from the digital world – what we need to do is to ensure that the digital world they experience is safe and we guide them and teach them how to stay safe.
The more recent development of ‘Smart Phones’ and mobile internet devices means that children can be ‘online’ at all times, which further highlights the need for children, young people and parents to be aware of the dangers and how best to stay safe while enjoying the benefits of digital technology.
We want our children to explore the digital world, but at St. Patricks we want to make sure they do so safely and we walk that journey with them.
Keeping our children safe:
Know what your children are doing online and who they are talking to. Ask them to teach you to use any applications you have never used. Keeping the computer in a family room means that you can share your child’s online experience – and that they are less likely to act inappropriately (i.e. via webcam).
Help your children to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends — personal information includes their messenger ID, email address, mobile number and any pictures of themselves, their family or friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it. Remind them that anyone may be looking at their images and one day a future employer could! If your child receives spam/junk email & texts, remind them never to believe them, reply to them or use them.
It’s not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don’t know. They won’t know what they contain — it could be a virus, or worse — an inappropriate image or film. Help your child to understand that some people lie online and therefore it’s better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust.
Always keep communication open for a child to know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable.
Teach young people how to block someone online and how to report them if they feel uncomfortable.
Below are links to useful resources and websites that will help you understand how young people use the internet and what measures you can take to help keep your child safe.
This website has a section dedicated to parent with lots of useful advice. Click here to access CEOP’s Thinkuknow for Parents and Carers.
This website has lots of useful information on how to keep your children safe and a useful video tutorial showing how you can set privacy settings and parental controls on your computer.
This website from Childnet International gives usegul advice on social networking.
This website encourages everyone to learn more about internet safety and how to protect your computer. It has lots of useful tips about online shopping and identity theft.
This website from the US contains useful information on how parents, carers and young people are using technology, what the risks may be and some useful advice for protecting you and your children online.
The NSPCC website has a section for parents and carers with advice on Internet Safety.
This website provides a unique interactive guide to help you keep up to date.