Internet safety

Concerned about your child?

Every parent has concerns about their child's safety, particularly when leaving the house, but without some basic precautions your child may be open to risk via the internet. There are measures you can take to protect them.

What can you do?

Here are some useful tips for making sure your child is safe online.

  • Encourage your child to treat online strangers the same way they would treat them in the street - not to trust everything they say.
  • Make sure your child does not arrange to meet up with anyone they have met online. You need to explain the dangers to them.
  • Encourage your child to keep personal information to themselves while online.
  • Treat their online friendships in the same way as their real world friendships; by showing an interest.
  • Share the experience of going online - go surfing together.
  • Agree with your child that you will help set up their profile with them. This way you will know their password and can access their account if necessary.
  • Encourage them to limit their number of friends.
  • Talk with your child about their experiences online.

Prepare yourself

  • Get online yourself and consider signing up to a social networking site so you understand them better.
  • Check out the privacy information and safety tips on social networking sites. This information is usually found in the ‘about us’ section or in dedicated ‘privacy’ or ‘safety’ sections.

Here are some things you can do that will not only protect your children online, but your whole family.

  • Set up the computer in a communal area of the house, like the living room.
  • Agree how much time can be spent on each site by each family member. Microsoft has a downloadable ‘Online Code of Conduct Contract’ which every member of the family can sign up to.
  • Use an up to date web browser.
  • Make sure your wireless network is password protected.
  • Make regular backups.
  • Get anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall.
  • Keep your computer up to date.
  • Block spam emails.
  • Use child protection settings to restrict access to certain sites.

Getting more technical help

If you need technical help with any of this, ‘Get Safe Online’ is a particularly useful site for explaining the basics.

If you are concerned about something that has happened online, visit the ‘Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’ website or to report illegal content go to the Internet Watch Foundation site.

Getting more help

The 'Think U Know' site has some great information, videos and games about how to enjoy the internet safely.

Also consider looking at the Parentline Plus and 'Be Someone to Tell' sites in order to give your child the support they might need.

Or for more information about internet safety visit our 'Get the facts' or 'More help and advice' page.