Online Safeguarding advice for parents/carers

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A message from our school’s Police Officer – PC Crossley (Safer Schools Partnership) regarding safeguarding and online safety tips for parents/carers:

  • Have a rule in place that your child should never accept friend requests or enable people to follow them if they are strangers and people that you/they do not know in real life – even if their friends have accepted them.  If your child does get messages from strangers they should be asked to show them to you, not open or answer them, and block the person from contacting them again.
  • Make sure that all your child’s privacy settings are set to the maximum possible so that strangers cannot see what they post online and learn details of their life
  • When children are considering using a new game, website or application, we encourage parents to check the terms of service for that game, etc. to ensure they are fully informed of the nature of the provision (i.e. are there live chat facilities/webcam etc provided) and so they are sure their child meets the minimum age requirements.  For instance the minimum age for Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram is 13.
  • If you allow your child to have access social media, you should have access to all of their online accounts and control the passwords. This includes email, Facebook, Skype etc. In addition, we encourage parents to routinely review children’s internet accounts to ensure that they are not placing themselves at risk.
  • Have a rule in place that web cams and camera phones can only be used when there is a parent to supervise it (for instance in the living room and not when they are alone in their bedrooms).  Lots of parents have a rule in place that phones/tablets etc cannot be taken to bed at night for this reason.
  • We suggest parents link all of their child’s accounts, including emails, to their own. This means any emails their child gets, they will also get, which should warn them if their child registers for inappropriate websites or is in receipt of any suspicious contact.
  • Parents should discuss the online identities that their child uses when online, and make sure they are not ones that might make them more vulnerable to being contacted by people who wish to exploit children, such as: joe.bloggs13@hotmail.com or sexiikate14@gmail.com.
  • If you are worried about someone’s behaviour online and think they may be trying to exploit children or young people, please make a report to CEOP at: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre

As parents it can be really tough to keep up with the online world that children are visiting and how to manage the risks. You can find parent’s guides to many of the different social media sites and apps on our ‘thinkuknow’ website at: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/support-tools/How-to-guides/ .

The  ‘Internet Matters’ website also has brief guides to a much wider range of apps:  https://www.internetmatters.org/advice