Early use of digital technology has been shown to improve language skills and promote children’s social development and creativity. But it’s not without risks for young children, who may come across inappropriate content or begin to copy what older children do online.
Internet safety checklist for young children
Keep Safe Online
Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information when you’re chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
Meeting Someone Online
Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.
Tell a parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone, or something, makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Checklist For Parents
Be clear what your child can and can’t do online – where they can use the internet, how much time they can spend online, the sites they can visit and the type of information they can share. Agree with your child when they can have a mobile phone or tablet
Encourage them to use their tech devices in a communal area like the lounge or kitchen so you can keep an eye on how they’re using the internet and also share in their enjoyment
The best way to find out what your child is doing online is to ask them to tell you about what they do and what sites they like to visit. If they’re happy to, ask them to show you. Talk to them about being a good friend online.
42% of 9-16 year-olds accept 'friend' requests from people they don't know
As children between the ages of 11 and 14 make the transition to a more independent stage with the move to secondary school, they become more confident internet users with more varied habits. Internet use can be hugely positive for children, but it’s vital to continue discussing online safety with them.
Internet safety checklist for pre-teens
Accepting Things Online
Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, images or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages!
Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information by looking at other websites, in books, or with someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family
Know Where To Find Help
Find out how to report to service providers and use blocking and deleting tools. If something happens that upsets you online, it’s never too late to tell someone.
Checklist For Parents
Manage Their Devices
Encourage them to use their tech devices in a communal area such as the living room or kitchen and set up a user account for your child. If you think they aren’t old enough to have a mobile phone or tablet, stay firm and explain the reasons why.
Have Free And Frank Discussions
Encourage your child to talk to you about how they use the internet and show you what they do. Discuss with them the kinds of things they might come across. A good time to talk is when they get a new device or mention a new website.
Manage Their Online Reputation
Let them know that anything they upload, email or message could stay online forever. Remind them that they should only post things online that they wouldn’t mind you, their teacher or a future employer seeing.
As your child becomes a teenager, it’s likely the internet will be a part of their daily life. They’ll adapt quickly to new technology and use it to communicate, socialise and create. Most teenagers have access to the internet using a smartphone or tablet, and use a wide range of social networking sites as a vital part of their relationships with others.
Internet safety checklist for teens
Protect Your Online Reputation
‘Think before you post.’ Content posted online can last forever and could be shared publicly by anyone.
Don't Give In To Pressure
If you lose your inhibitions you’ve lost control; once you’ve pressed send you can’t take it back.
Acknowledge Your Sources
Use trustworthy content and remember to give credit when using other’s work/ideas.
Checklist For Parents
Keep Their Information Private
Your child can set privacy settings on most social networking sites so that only close friends can search for them, tag them in a photograph or share what they’ve posted.
Keep talking and stay interested in what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to bring up challenging issues like Cyberbullying it could be embarrassing, but you’ll both benefit from the subjects being out in the open.
Don't Give In
Remind them how important it is not to give in to peer pressure to send inappropriate comments or images.
Why not try the Safer Internet Day Quiz to test your online safety knowledge