Online Safety

Perhaps inevitably, the lockdown has led to a significant increase in screen time for many of us. Whether it be catching up with loved ones, scrolling through Facebook, or binge-watching the latest boxset on Netflix, technology is helping us all to keep connected at a time when the collective health of our nation demands that we must remain physically apart. Indeed, we’ve also seen some overwhelmingly positive examples of how online platforms – and particularly social media – can be used to help keep us informed at a time when having reliable information is crucial.

All of us will have seen the prompts to official Covid-19 advice that have been prominent across multiple sites including YouTube, Twitter, and Google. But despite this, we can’t afford to ignore the stark dangers which still exist online and have the potential to put large numbers of people – and particularly children and young people – at risk.


What you don’t know CAN hurt them

The current standard advice from experts in the field of e-safety is that talking to children and young people is the best protection against the risks they might encounter online. Whether in school or at home,  open conversation helps build confidence and resilience. It is imperative that you can have an open conversation with your child about how important online safety is. If you cannot do this, and you do not know how to put suitable controls in place your child is at risk and we, as parents, must take responsibility for ensuring we do all we possibly can to keep them safe.

There are many ways to start this conversation with your child, and it might be a good idea to use the information and resources on this page.




ESS Esafety Factsheet for Parents
The fact sheet below is a very useful resource and a great resource to make sure you know all of the relevant information about Esafety. Some of the facts and figures are shocking and sobering reading - but we must remember that if we are armed with facts we can help our children even more. Reading this is a good place to start when it comes to having as much information as possible generally about Esafety. Links to further information about specific concerns are further down the page. 
Internet Provider Parental Controls
When at home devices tend to run from the family wifi/wired connection. Your own home internet provider has links on how to setup parental filters and controls to ensure that whatever device your child is using there will be some basic protections on content. Typically this includes pornographic or sensitive content. However, in most cases YOU must set this up. The link below takes you to a website that details how the main 4 internet providers work and how to set up the basic controls.
Please remember that when out of the house and on public wifi, these controls DO NOT apply and you will need to consider whether this is safe for your child - especially in the area of smartphones and older children. If children are taking devices outside of the home, look for the WiFi Friendly symbol to reassure you that the Wifi has some controls on it. There is a link to the WiFi friendly site below.

Remember that filtering is only part of the solution

No filter or parental controls tool is 100% effective, and many of the risks that young people face online are because of their own and other’s behaviour. It is therefore important to talk to your children about staying safe online with your child and make sure they know that they can turn to you if they get into any difficulty.  Other services that are popular with young people also provide tools that are helpful to activate in addition to filters. The link below takes you to the UK Safer Internet Center guide to controls on a range of media - TV streaming and social media included.



The minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13YouTube requires account holders to be 18, but a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent’s permission.

Mobile Phones

For many parents, the convenience of knowing where their kids are at all times is more than enough to warrant the price of a smart phone. In fact, a solid 90% of children under the age of 16 in the UK have a mobile. But as with anything else, smart phones come with both their pros and their cons, and when you’re talking about kids, the issue gets even trickier.

From cyber bullying to inappropriate web content, being able to contact strangers, being able to rack up hefty cell phone bills, all these things come to mind when we start thinking about the dangers of impressionable kids using a mobile. And truth be told, those dangers do exist. There’s no avoiding the fact that you do run a risk by giving your child a mobile.

Follow the link below for specific advice on keeping your child's mobile phone safe, the Tigger Mobiles page is long, but scroll down as it does give excellent advice and recommendations on apps that can help to keep the phone safer.

Screen Time Boundaries
While we are all using technology more, it is important to remember that it is not healthy for children to be online or in front of a screen more than they need to be. It can be difficult to work out how much is too much, but the link below takes you to a fantastic resource/website (Childnet International) that gives good guidance on this. Please ensure your child understands the health impacts of too much screen time, and help them to establish healthy habits early on in their relationship with technology.
Has someone done something online that has made you or a young person feel unsafe online? You can report it to CEOP who have experienced child protection advisers. 
You can find the button on most trusted internet sites and there is a link to the site below.  The button looks like the one below and where you see the picture online you should be able to get right through to their site to make a report. Anyone can do this - children and adults.
Further Information
Below are several resources/sites that cover a range of different information and areas. You know your child best, and some of the resources below might not be suitable for them, however, some might be and you might like to share the fact sheets with them. Please take a look at them and use them to start a conversation with your child.