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Computer On-Line Safety Advice

As parents, there are steps you can take to be sure that your children are 'surfing' the internet safely and to ensure that they continue to have fun whilst they find the information they are looking for.

Most children today use the internet - at home, at school and when they're out and about. As we all know, computers can be great tools for children, but there are dangers attached to using the internet.

Be aware

Many parents have no idea what their children are viewing on the internet.  They may be unaware that their child has encountered violent or sexual content or is engaged in inappropriate conversation with strangers.

By taking an active role in supervising how your child uses the internet, you can help to ensure that they continue to have fun on the net and find the information they are looking for, while keeping safe from some of the dangers.

Steps to safe surfing

  • Don't site computers in places where it is difficult to monitor what your child is viewing.
  • Show an interest in what they're accessing/doing online. If possible get to know your child's online friends in the same way that you would get to know their school or neighbourhood friends.
  • Reinforce the message about safety considerations to your children when they are chatting with people online. Check out our advice for your child and social networking  pages so you know how to advise them.
  • Encourage your child to tell you about anything they think is inappropriate and reassure them it is not their fault. Make sure they know you will support them.
  • If they report anything to you, contact your local police office. You can also report abuse online to the Virtual Global Taskforce and report illegal images to the Internet Watch Foundation.
  • Make sure you have a secure internet connection.
  • Write down a list of rules and position it in a place close to the computer where they can be easily read. Talk through the rules with your child so they understand why they're there.

Help them to help themselves

Of course you may not always be able to supervise how your child uses the internet, especially if they access the net from outside the home or using mobile technology. You should not assume you child is safe online just because they use it safely at home.

If your child has a Facebook page, suggest they download the 'ClickCeop' button which will allow them to access advice and guidance and report concerns directly to The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Many other social networking sites also have links to CEOP.

Useful Links

In addition, the UK government has launched a website to give additional advice to children about chatting safely on the Internet. Your child can access this site by visiting  www.thinkuknow.co.uk. The Scottish Government also has advice relating to Scotland's Anti-Bullying Service; Respect me. 

"NSPCC Net Aware offers parents useful information about each social network, including the age guidance for users for each of the different apps. Information includes views from children about how safe they felt using this app and advice for parents on how to safeguard their children and make informed choices."

This useful link - NSPCC Net Aware is run by the NSPCC and provides parents with up to date advice on current apps and social media sites which is updated regularly.