Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a child to have an internet presence before they are even born, with expectant parents announcing their pregnancy on social media! So as children grow up and are exposed to the internet, it is more important than ever to ensure children and parents are always alert to any potential dangers and are continually keeping themselves safe online.
Below are 6 key risks and dangers as listed by the NSPCC, that come with being online:
- Inappropriate content
- Ignoring age restrictions
- Friending or communicating with strangers
- Grooming and sexual abuse
- Sharing personal information
- Gambling or running up debt
Whilst these are horrible things to think about, it is important to be vigilant and protect our children from these dangers, and we have 3 top tips we wanted to share.
Openly communicating with your child about the apps they are using, what sites they are visiting and who they are talking to when online is key. Open and frequent discussions should help to eliminate secrecy from your child; making it the norm to discuss their online activity.
Could you name all these apps? These are just 20 of the apps available and used by millions around the world. With your child in nursery now it may seem a while away for you to be having discussions about Facebook or Instagram, but it is important that when the time does come, you are aware of all of the features of that app and what settings are in place to protect your child from talking to strangers, seeing inappropriate content or sharing too much personal information.
Technology is evolving and developing at the blink of an eye, so it is important that both you and your child are always well informed and up to date on what’s going on online. Children will have internet safety taught to them both and nursery and then in school, and particularly when they are in school they will be made aware of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)’s online reporting system, as well as www.thinkuknow.co.uk which is an great source of information on the topic.
If as a parent you have any questions or are looking for guidance, as well as CEOP and Thinkuknow, the NSPCC and Safer Internet offer great information for parents. Sites such as Childline and Safety Net Kids are informative sites aimed for children to read through to remember the importance of staying safe online.
Ultimately, preventing your child from using the internet will not keep them safe in the long run, so educating them on how to stay safe will then allow them to use, learn and benefit from positives the internet can offer.