Protecting your child online
Online risks can seem scary, but there are plenty of practical things you can do to keep your child safe online.
Having an open conversation
Communication is key to online safety, and it’s something which you should discuss with your child, even from a young age. Have regular conversations together about what you can do to stay safe online.
Make sure your child knows that they can talk to you about anything that’s bothering them and they can talk to you if they see or experience anything online that worries them, upsets them, or doesn’t feel quite right. Let them know you’re on their team, and you’ll help them.
Let your child educate you. Be curious about what apps your child is using, what games they’re playing, who they’re talking to online. Let them teach you how it works. You can’t be expected to be a digital wizard, and your child knows more than you about their online world. Let them having fun teaching you!
Explore online safety together. Encourage your child to report unsafe or bullying content, and explore how to do this together. Talk about options for solving problems and find out what they’d like to happen. You’re in this together.
Set appropriate boundaries. Familiarise yourself with parental controls, and use them. Discuss boundaries with your child, and set boundaries on screen time too. It’s particularly important to reduce screen time at bed time so your child can get a good sleep.
Do fun, offline activities as a family. Put down your phones and tablets and do something together! Spend some quality time offline.
Be a role model. Your child is learning from you. Set a positive example - set screen time boundaries for yourself, too, and make sure your child sees that you are polite and kind to others - both face to face and online.
Setting up parental controls
Parental controls are helpful to protect children from inappropriate content. This guide from the UK Safer Internet Centre gives you information about setting up parental controls. Be mindful that parental controls are not the whole solution to online safety; they’re a supplement to the conversations you’re having with your child.
Reporting dangerous or inappropriate content or incidents
Sometimes your child will tell you about something which needs to be reported to the appropriate authorities. Read our Reporting cyberbullying page to find out more.