What is Online safety?
Children have more access than ever before, at school and at home, to many types of internet communication. It might be researching a topic for homework, using Moshi Monsters on the computer, using an app on an I-pad or playing computer games with friends through a X-Box or Wii. online safety involves making sure that our children know the advantages and disadvantages of using this technology and that they become safe, respectful and responsible users of it.
This section of the website aims to help you to keep your child safe online. You will find some simple to follow "How to" guides for various websites and programs, information on what to do if you are concerned about something you or your child have seen online, some ways you can teach your child about keeping safe online and links to websites and services that can offer further support.
Hectors World is a site we have used in school and the children have really enjoyed watching and talking about the mini online safety movies.
Internet Matters is a free website aimed at parents and links to many other excellent resources.
Think you know is a brilliant portal for children and parents alike.
Digital Parenting Magazine is an on-line magazine that is full of top tips and really useful “How to” guides.
Nationalonlinesafety.com "At National Online Safety we believe in empowering parents, carers and trusted adults with the information they need to hold informed and age-appropriate conversations about online safety with their child, should they feel it is needed. Every Wednesday we produce guides to focus on specific platforms/risks which we believe trusted adults should be aware of."
Age Ratings for Social Media
This has been shared nationwide on social media by police services across the UK:
We know that many children are using social media when they are 'officially' too young to sign up to these sites. We know because they tell us!
Lots of them say that Mums and Dad have signed them up - sometimes years ago. There's nothing illegal in that, but please keep in mind that if you signed your 8 year old up to facebook 5 years ago, saying they were 13 years old - they now appear as an 18 year old on that site.
If an adult tries to groom your now 13 year old via social media, they will be able to argue that they thought they were talking to another adult. Remember to update their details, check their privacy settings and talk to them about what pictures they use for their profile, so they're safe online.
Always remind your child not to share things like their personal details such as date of birth, home address, phone numbers, email address etc Its very easy with Social Networking to provide too much information.
Remember that someone that really wants to, can spend time going back through old posts and pictures to piece together a very full picture of yours or your childs life, friends names, location, regular holidays, places they go regularly and personal details. There are even web based tools that will do a lot of the hard work for them.
Get them to avoid using the same username on every site they sign up for as a single username everywhere means its easy to build up a picture of what they like to do.
Use a different date of birth. Not particularly changing the year, but just change the day / month. Often our date of birth is used for security questions so if yours is posted all around the internet, then it is no longer very effective. Obscure your usual details, like home location. After all, for most social networking websites they really don't need to know exactly where you live when you sign up.
Always review the privacy settings regularly - and when posting on social media, does everyone in the world need to see it, or just your friends? Use the settings and limit who can see things.
Try to help them keep their "Internet Footprint" as small as possible!
The Tor Browser (Dark Web)
Has your child used or are they using a Tor Browser? Beware if they are, this allows connection to what is known as the Dark Web or Dark-net. It is an alternative network of computers with high levels of encryption that allows connection to sites your internet router or parental controls may normally block and is almost impossible to trace through .
Children have been known to use the Tor browsers to bypass measures designed to keep them safe to allow them to access free to download, but illegally cracked games and software which often contains viruses and crypto-miners (bitcoin related). But the Dark Web also puts a child at a greater level of danger due to the hidden nature of how it works and what they are likely to find or who they come in to contact with.
Why does the Dark Web exist? As well documented in the media it is often connected with illegal activities such as Child Pornography, although less known is that it is also often used by people living under oppressive regimes in other countries where freedom of thought and speech is not a right. Unfortunately this gives cover and invisibility to those that wish to do bad things too.
So if you see your child using a browser that mentions Tor then have a chat with them and see why they are using it and explain why it is not a safe thing to do.
Unsure about an app or game?
Go to net-aware.org.uk - where a wide range of apps have been explored and rated by parents, children and the NSPCC to help you to make an informed decision.
Would you like support making your child’s tablet or phone child friendly – why not pop into an 02 store and visit a “Guru” free – they will safety proof your device with you and offer further tips and advice! Or you can call the advice line 0808 8005002 where an advisor will talk you through setting this up yourself.
For some great advice and tips for parents around online safety visit: