Internet safety - top tips for young people
The internet is a fantastic tool and one which many of us couldn’t live without – particularly younger generations!
We are no longer naïve to the threats posed by the online world. However, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and unfortunately those who are most at risk are young people.
Although a brilliant resource for education, creativity and communications, it is increasingly important that we teach young people how to use the internet safely and responsibly.
With Safer Internet Day 2018 just around the corner, celebrated globally on Tuesday 6th February, this is a fantastic opportunity to talk about and better understand the dangers posed by the internet, in order to learn how to help our young people stay safe online.
Here are our checklists for safer internet use!
Younger children (ages 5-13) –
- Be safe – set parental controls on any devices your child has access to (mobile, tablet, games console or computer); settings are often trickier to change once the device is in use, so remember to set these controls on any new devices before your child has access to them.
- Be open – discuss what is safe and appropriate to share online, such as photos and videos.
- Be honest – talk with your child about what they are looking at or using online, and encourage them to share their activities with you.
- Be aware – remember that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have minimum age limits of 13. These age restrictions exist for a reason, no matter how much pressure you receive from your child to allow them to have a profile; consider discussing social media with your school and parents.
- Be smart – approach the tricky subject of online stranger-danger openly but carefully. The intention isn’t to frighten a child into fearing the internet, but to make sure they know never to share photos/videos of themselves with people online, or to agree to meet up with them.
Teenagers (ages 13-18) –
- Be involved – stay interested in your teenager’s online activities and keep discussing it with them.
- Be responsible – communicating online and communicating face to face often feel like very different things for teenagers. Ensure they understand the repercussions of their internet activity in terms of what they say and send to others online.
- Be open – discuss what is and isn’t okay to share online and don’t be afraid of approaching tricky subjects such as cyberbullying.
- Be safe – most public places now offer open-access WiFi, and while this can be very handy when out and about, it also poses a security threat. Many public WiFi services do not include filters to block inappropriate content; keep an eye out for family friendly WiFi schemes including Mumsnet Family Friendly WiFi and RDI Friendly WiFi.
- Be firm – consider adjusting parental controls on their devices to match your teenager’s level of maturity.
For more information, visit www.saferinternet.org.uk.