Born into the 'digital age'
Young people have been born into the 'digital age'
They use computers, mobile phones, video games consoles etc. as part of their everyday lives. They often seem 'expert' compared to parents, but young people do not have the life experience of adults and need your support.
You can provide this by talking to your child about what they are doing.
If you see something online aimed at children that you believe is inappropriate you can report what you have seen to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
Childnet have some top tips for online gaming:
- Engage with the gaming environment and begin to understand what makes it is so attractive to young people as well as the types of activities that they enjoy!
- Talk with your children about the types of game(s) they are playing. Ask them to show you or have a go yourself.
- Some games may offer children the chance to chat with other players by voice and text. Ask them who they are playing with and find out if they are talking to other players. If chat is available, look at the type of language that is used by other players.
- Look out for age ratings and familiarise yourself with the PEGI icons on games. The PEGI classification gives you a clear indication whether a game is suitable for your child.
Know IT All for Parents
Is a unique interactive e-safety guide for parents and carers produced by Childnet International.
It’s designed to really help you as a parent or carer keep up to date with how children are using the internet, and support them in using these new exciting services safely and responsibly.
The childnet parent site includes a section on hot topics and information on parental controls and gaming.
The hot topics section covers the main issues parents may be concerned about.
Think U Know
This website, developed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, provides a guide to internet safety and safe surfing for parents and young people.
Using videos and top tips this provides you with the information you need to talk to your child about staying safe online.
It covers various topics, including: mobiles, gaming, social networking, chatting, podcasts, blogs, P2P TV. Each of the parents’ topics includes a summary of what’s good, what’s bad and what parents can do to help their children stay safe.
In all areas of the site, there are prominent links to the CEOP ‘report abuse’ page where you can make a complaint or report a problem.
What are the risks to children?
Accessing the internet and using mobile phones can put children at risk of:
- seeing disturbing information or images
- being the victim of online bullying (also known as cyber-bullying)
- being contacted by an adult that they do not know
- sharing personal and identifying information with strangers
- sending or receiving explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others
Keeping your child safe - General Advice
To help keep your child safe online:
- talk to your child about the dangers posed by the internet
- tell them what they should do if they become worried or concerned
- explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone
- understand what your child does online and know which websites they visit
- put the computer where the whole family can see it, not out of sight in a bedroom
- use filtering software to block inappropriate sites
Vodaphone Digital Parenting Checklists
Vodaphone produce some useful checklists for parents of different aged children to support them with addressing online safety issues.
Under 5 checklist
START setting some boundaries now – it’s never too early to do things like set limits for the amount of time they can spend on the computer
KEEP devices like your mobile out of reach and make sure you have passwords/PINs set up on them for the times you might lend them to your child… or for when they simply get hold of them themselves!
CHECK the age ratings and descriptions on apps, games, online TV and films before downloading them and allowing your child to play with or watch them
EXPLAIN your technology rules to grandparents, babysitters and parents of your child’s friends so that they stick to them when they’re looking after your child
REMEMBER that public Wi-Fi (e.g. in cafés) might not have Parental Controls on it – so, if you hand over your iPad to your child while you’re having a coffee, they might be able to access more than you bargained for
SET the homepage on your family computer or tablet to an appropriate website like Cbeebies
Age 6 - 9 checklist
CREATE a user account for your child on the family computer with appropriate settings and make the most of Parental Controls and tools like Google SafeSearch
AGREE a list of websites they’re allowed to visit and the kind of personal information they shouldn’t reveal about themselves online (like the name of their school or their home address)
DECIDE time limits for things like using the internet and playing on games consoles
BEAR in mind what older siblings might be showing them on the internet, mobiles, games consoles and other devices and agree some rules as a whole family
TALK to other parents about their views on things like what age to buy kids a mobile and don’t be pressured by your child into letting them use certain technologies if you don’t think they’re old enough or mature enough… no matter how much they pester you
FAMILIARISE yourself with age ratings and descriptions on games, and apps etc, so that you can be sure your child is only accessing age-appropriate content
Age 9 – 12 checklist
MAKE sure you’ve set some tech boundaries before they get their first mobile or games console – once they have it in their hands, it can be more difficult to change the way they use it
REMIND your child to keep phones and other devices well hidden when they’re out and about to minimise the risk of theft
TALK to them about what they post and share online – written comments, photos and videos all form part of their ‘digital footprint’ and could be seen by anyone and available on the Web forever
DISCUSS the kind of things they see online – this is the age when they might be looking for information about their changing bodies and exploring relationships, for example
HOLD the line on letting your son or daughter sign up for services like Facebook and YouTube that have a minimum age limit of 13 – talk to other parents and their school to make sure everyone is on the same page
REMIND them that they shouldn’t do anything online that they wouldn’t do face-to-face