Parent Info is a collaboration between CEOP and Parent Zone.
Parent Zone was founded in 2005 and has a track record of providing information, support and advice to parents. In recent years, Parent Zone's work has focused on the impact of digital technologies on families. We provide information, resources and training for parents and those who work with them.
CEOP is the child protection command of the National Crime Agency. CEOP reaches over five million children and young people a year through its Thinkuknow education programme and regularly conveys its vital online safety messages to over 145,000 practitioners (such as social workers, teachers and police officers) registered to their network, who cascade these messages directly to children and young people.
The feed below will update regularly with articles relating to Digital Safety; for access to articles regarding other topics, please click on the ParentZone link above.
eSafety Advice for Parents
The internet and related technologies, including mobile phones, games consoles and social networks are becoming increasingly important in the daily lives of our children and have many positive benefits. They can be used both educationally and socially and are becoming part of a child’s identity.
Here are some top tips on how to help keep your children safe online:
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them. If they know you understand, they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems. Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online. Teach them why it is not safe to put personal information such as telephone numbers onto the internet.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. The lounge is ideal! For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and stop them from stumbling across something they wouldn’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s Wi-Fi? This will affect whether the safety settings you have set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
- Think about other peoples’ houses. No matter what you do to provide online protection in your own home, be aware that your children may well use a computer at someone else’s house. It may be worth asking other parents if they have done anything to address these issues.
- Government resources. Many Government web sites exist which suggest ways of keeping children safe. These tend of offer information about potential threats, but not much in the way of solutions.
- Follow the recommended guidance on age restrictions on social media websites. Facebook does not allow children under the age of thirteen to have a profile. However, we are aware many children, who are considerably younger have access to this site, possibly exposing them to age inappropriate material.
The Government has introduced the Prevent Strategy to raise awareness of potential of children being radicalised. Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extreme ideologies associated with terrorist groups. It also encompasses the possibility of individuals being drawn into situations where they may be exposed to danger either mentally or physically. The internet has been identified as a key area where individuals are targeted. It is essential we protect our children from every possible threat.
Here are some useful websites and links.