The internet is a fun and exciting place for adults and children to use for both learning and developing their social networks. However, the challenge for parents and carers is to make sure children are aware and understand how to be safe when using the internet and related technologies.

The Childnet know it all guide will help you to understand online safety issues and give you practical advice as you talk to your children so they can get the most out of the internet and use it positively and safely.

UKCCIS have produced a guide for Child Online Safety – a practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media. The NSPCC Share Aware will help you talk to your children (aged 8 to 12 years) about being safe on social networks. They have also published advice for parents on how to talk to children about the risks of online pornography and sexually explicit material. 

What’s the problem?- A guide for parents of children and young people who have got in trouble online is also a helpful guide produced by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. This leaflet is designed to answer some of the immediate questions you may have after learning about something that is happening, or has happened, in your child’s online life. This could be that they have been viewing adult pornography, or have an unhealthy interest in accessing adult material.

If you need advice, help or wish to report abuse please refer to the CEOP website. They have information for parents or carers on a wide range of online topics with further advice for children in different age groups (5 to 7 years, 8 to 10 years and 11 to 16 years). Their ‘Thinkukknow‘ website for parents and carers also includes a resource called Nude Selfies – What parents and carers need to know.

Further websites giving online advice and support can be found on the links and publications page. For information on cyberbullying see our bullying section.

Helping parents to keep kids safe online

The internet offers a huge range of information and resources to help parents keep their children safe online. There’s so much information though, it can be difficult to find what you want.

We’ve matched up the key concerns parents face with links to straight forward tips, information and support.

Sharing selfies and nudies

Exchanging selfies is part of growing up but did you know that 1 in 5 indecent images of children shared online are taken by the child in the photo? 

Help your child know the risks and understand what’s OK to share with this short film about selfies and sexting.

This video – Parents  advice for sexting – puts sexting under the spotlight, offering advice for how parents can talk to their children about dealing with this potential threat.

Who are they really talking to?

Lots of young people have ‘friends’ on social media they’ve never met and don’t know who, or how old they really are. This online grooming article is designed for young people and gives some good pointers for parents too.

Talking to your child

Starting a conversation with your child about staying safe online, the risks of nude selfies and sexual exploitation isn’t always easy. These short clips give tips on how to get started.

See more conversation starters.

Chatting safely online

Online chat – on a webcam, an app such as FaceTime or on social media can be secretly recorded and then shared on the internet without your child’s permission or knowledge. This gives some good tips on staying safe if live streaming.

Who’s accessing porn and what it means

Seventy per cent of school children say accessing porn online is normal but children exposed to porn are more likely to engage in risky behaviours like drinking, sexual activity and experimenting with drugs. Learn about the 9 signs of child sexual exploitation.

Limiting what your child can view online

Innocent searches sometimes reveal not so innocent results. Parental controls can be used to block upsetting or harmful content, control in-app purchases or manage how long your child spends online. So if you’re worried about what your child is searching for online, who they’re talking to or what they’re seeing, the NSPCC and O2 can help.

What if it’s already happening?

If you know or are worried your child is already being sexually exploited, see this expert advice on what to do next and advice on talking to your child.

Info for children of all ages

Information geared to children of different ages is available from the ThinkuKnow campaign. There’s a section for parents too.

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