A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL 360ict CLIENTS AND FAMILIES
With Christmas fast approaching many of you will be spending time with family and during the holiday period it may well be that younger members of your family have received a new device be it a laptop, tablet or mobile phone or are merely spending more time on existing devices.
But what is without a doubt is that the Internet will continue to play a huge part in our lives mostly for the good but certainly not without risks.
We have recently seen campaigns by various Government authorities in relation to ‘safety online’ which has come about through a number of high profile cases and examples of children being subjected to ‘cyber bullying’, ‘sexting’, ‘social engineering’ as well as teens being tricked into actually meeting ‘paedophiles’ hundreds of miles away from their home.
So with the festive season in full swing we at 360ict want to devote this blog to our clients but to also extend it in terms of advice for your families, especially children who may be at risk online.
As a parent you play a key role in helping your child to stay safe online.
You don’t need to be an expert on the internet to help keep your child stay safe online. Our advice and resources are here to support you as you support your child to use the internet safely, responsibility and positively.
What are the issues?
The internet – on the whole is an inspiring and positive place.
It is an amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices.
However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge.
Hands up if as a parent you feel that your children have better technical skills than you do? Thought so!!!
However children and young people still need advice, protection and monitoring when it comes to managing their lives online.
Issues that your child may encounter on the internet will vary depending on their age and online activities.
Conduct: children may be at risk because of their own behaviour, for example, by sharing too much information
Children need to be aware of the impact that their online activity can have on both themselves and other people, and the digital footprint that they create on the internet. It’s easy to feel anonymous online and it’s important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, the information that they may have posted. When using the internet, it’s important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours and how this can be done.
Content: age-inappropriate or unreliable content can be available to children
Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It’s important for children to consider the reliability of online material and be aware that it might not be true or written with a bias. Children may need your help as they begin to assess content in this way. There can be legal consequences for using or downloading copyrighted content, without seeking the author’s permission.
Contact: children can be contacted by bullies or people who groom or seek to abuse them
It is important for children to realise that new friends made online may not be who they say they are and that once a friend is added to an online account, you may be sharing your personal information with them. Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre ( www.ceop.police.uk ). If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, this can also be reported online and offline. Reinforce with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.
Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online, for example within applications. Encourage your children to keep their personal information private, learn how to block both pop ups and spam emails, turn off in-app purchasing on devices where possible, and use a family email address when filling in online forms.
Have a conversation: It is really important to chat with your children on an ongoing basis about staying safe online.
Not sure where to begin? These conversation starter suggestions can help.
. Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online.
. Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
. Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
. Encourage them to help someone! Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
. Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?
Most online services offer some safety features that can help you manage access to age-inappropriate content, report concerns or protect privacy.
It is a good idea to think about the sites and services your family uses, and check out which features these sites have that might be helpful for you. Talk to your children and make sure they know how to use the tools on the sites and services they use.
You should consider Social Networks, Web Browsers and TV on Demand.
Parental controls offered by your home Internet provider: How to set up filters on your home internet to help prevent age inappropriate content being accessed on devices in your home.
The 4 big internet providers in the UK – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – provide their customers with free parental controls which can be activated at any time. They have come together to produce these helpful video guides to help you to download and set-up the controls offered by your provider.
Advice about smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and other internet-connected devices
In the parents’ sessions we run in schools, we get a lot of questions about particular devices that children are using or asking for. This guide has been created to answer these questions and introduce some of the most popular devices, highlighting the safety tools available and empowering parents with the knowledge they need to support their children to use these technologies safely and responsibly.
Resources from other organisations:
Another on going issue for parents and children is the problem of ‘SEXTING’
Sending a sexual text, image or video can be dangerous if shared with the wrong person. Once you send a message, you’re not in control of what happens to it. Even if it’s posted online authorities can help. Here’s some advice about sexting.
WHAT IS SEXTING?
When people talk about sexting, they usually mean sending and receiving:
- naked pictures or ‘nudes’
- ‘underwear shots’
- sexual or ‘dirty pics’
- rude text messages or videos.
They can be sent to or from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone you’ve met online.
Sexting can easily happen. Things can go wrong – even when you didn’t mean for them to.
What you need to know about sexting & to discuss with your children
- once you send a message you can’t control what happens to it
- don’t let someone guilt or pressure you into sending a sex text
- if you’ve sent a nude pic, have an honest conversation with the person you sent it to. Ask them to delete it
- if an indecent or nude pic of you is posted online, you can contact the website directly or make a report online to try and get it removed.
For further help and advice see the following links or contact us at 360ict
Create a family agreement
Creating a family agreement is a great way to start talking about online safety.
It’ll help your child understand what behaviour is appropriate when they’re online. And they’ll know who they can turn to if they are ever worried about anything they see or do.
Download and print the NSPCC agreement template to get started.
So, from all of us at 360ict a very Happy Christmas and why not take the opportunity over the holidays to discuss with your children the online issues, how they should be using the Internet and to encourage them to let you know should they come across anything they do not like, are frightened or feel intimidated by.