Whilst there are huge benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, the government recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online and where to go to receive support and advice.
Keep your child safe online
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
These resources provide guidance for parents and carers to keep children safe online. They will, amongst other things, support you to talk to your child about a range of online safety issues, set up home filtering in a child-friendly way and set up age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices:
Thinkuknowby National Crime Agency-CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) provides resources for parents and carers and children of all ages to help keep children safe online
If your child has been a victim of child sexual abuse – online or offline – and you believe they are in immediate danger, you should call 999 and ask for the police. The police will continue to respond to emergency calls.
If you are concerned that your child has been a victim of online sexual abuse or you are worried about the way someone has been communicating with your child online, you can report it toNational Crime Agency-CEOP(Child Exploitation and Online Protection).
These resources provide information and support for parents and carers on what to do if you’re worried about child sexual abuse:
Thinkuknowby National Crime Agency-CEOP has developed activities to support your child’s safe use of the internet and the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’sParents Protectwebsite also provides advice on how to help protect children from child sexual abuse
if you see sexual images or videos of someone under 18 online, report it anonymously to theInternet Watch Foundationwho can work to remove them from the web and help to identify victims and survivors
you can contactStop It Now!for information and advice if you have concerns about someone’s behaviour, including children who may be displaying concerning sexual behaviour
you can contact The Marie Collins Foundationhelp@mariecollinsfoundation.org.ukfor support, including advice and individual counselling, for your child if they have been subjected to online sexual abuse - support is also offered to parents and carers
If you are concerned that any family member, friend or loved one is being radicalised, you can call the police or 101 to get advice or make a Prevent referral, so that they can get safeguarding support. Support is tailored to the individual’s needs and works in a similar way to safeguarding processes designed to protect people from gangs, drug abuse and physical and sexual exploitation. Receiving support through Prevent is voluntary, confidential and not any form of criminal sanction. If you need further help, you can also contact your local authority safeguarding team.
If you are worried about your child sending nude images or videos (sometimes referred to as ‘youth-produced sexual imagery’or sexting),NSPCCprovides advice to help you understand the risks and support your child.
If your child has shared nude images,Thinkuknowby National Crime Agency-CEOP provides advice on talking to your child and where to get help.
If you have downloaded new apps or bought new technology to help stay connected at this time, remember to review and adjust privacy and safety settings if you or your child is signing up to a new online service.
TheUK Safer Internet Centrehas developed guidance on how to switch on family-friendly filters to prevent age-inappropriate content being accessed on devices in your home.
TheNSPCCprovides more information for parents or carers with concerns about their child seeking inappropriate or explicit content online.
Apps to help children stay safe online
The BBC have a website and app calledOwn It. The website has a lot of content for children to help them navigate their online lives, and the free smartphone app comes with a special keyboard which can intervene with help and support in the moments that children need it the most. It can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
SafeToNetis an app for parents to help them safeguard their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, whilst respecting their child’s rights to privacy. The SafeToNet Foundation is providing UK families with free access to 1 million licences during coronavirus.