Keeping your children safe online

Serious topic alert! Keeping your child safe online is one thing that strikes panic in the minds of most parents.

We get it – that’s why we’ve put together this quick guide with some practical tips for everyone’s online safety.

 

Sensible supervision

Younger children should always be supervised when they’re online.

But for older children and teenagers, it’s a little more complicated. They want to be more independent. You need to decide what they’re allowed to access and when, and how you’ll monitor them without them feeling like you’re breathing down their necks all the time. After all, they are digital natives!

Education is crucial – you can’t be there all the time, so help them learn how to protect themselves online as they get older.

 

Safe settings 

You might feel like your kid knows more about your smart phone than you do, but you should be familiar with the settings that will keep them safe. Check the child settings and parental guidance locks on your browser, devices, apps and on-demand TV services, so your child can enjoy online activities that are safe and appropriate.

You can also bookmark safe sites so your child knows where to find them, without accidentally ending up seeing something you’d rather they didn’t.

 

Savvy social media

Social media is not suitable for under 13s.[1] Although there are some messenger services aimed at younger children, perhaps you will feel it is best to avoid them until they’re older.

If older children are using social media, make sure you understand how the different platforms work so you are aware of the risks. Help your child learn how to keep their information private, set strong passwords and block people if they need to.

 

Speaking about it

This is hard! The online world is changing all the time and it’s tough to keep up. You can help your child take ownership of their own safety by talking to them about what to look out for and why it’s important.

Talking openly and honestly is a great habit to get into – discuss what’s appropriate and explore the internet together. Make them feel involved in decisions about what’s appropriate for them to access, and above all, reassure them they’re not in trouble.

The NSPCC has some great advice on how to talk to your child about internet safety, and you can also find more guidance and resource on the UK Government website.

 

Some final tips

Remember, you know your child – different children need different things at different ages. Just because their friends are doing something, doesn’t mean your child is ready to.

If you can, it helps to practice what you preach. If you don’t want your child using their phone in their room, consider leaving yours in the living room too. If you’re constantly checking your notifications, it’ll be hard to explain why they shouldn’t do the same! 

Whew, it’s a lot isn’t it?! It doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation though, as long as you talk about it regularly. Why not have the discussion while you’re baking together? We’ve got lots of easy baking recipes you can try – to take the edge off any awkward topics!

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