The Internet is a fantastic place for young people to learn and have fun, but young people may occasionally experience challenges. However, there are lots of organisations who can support yourself and your child to resolve any issues you may face.
How a young person can report a concern
It is important your child has knowledge of the route to follow if they need to report a concern whilst online.
Some practical and age appropriate support for children can be found on the following websites:
- Childline – for support
- UK Safer Internet Centre – to report and remove harmful online content
- CEOP – for advice on making a report about online abuse
You may also choose to supplement the school home learning offer with support from online companies and in some cases individual tutors. It is very important to secure online support from a reputable organisation/individual who can provide evidence that they are safe and can be trusted to have access to children.
Your children are also likely to access social media sites regularly to communicate with friends and family. It is important to reinforce the need to stay safe online and only use age appropriate social media sites e.g. the minimum age to use WhatsApp is 16 years old. This is due to data-protection concerns.
General support for parents/carer to keep your children safe online can be found on the following websites:
- Internet matters – for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- London Grid for Learning – for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Net-aware – for support for parents and carers from the NSPCC
- Parent info – for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Thinkuknow – for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
- UK Safer Internet Centre – advice for parents and carers
What harms might children experience online?
Child Sexual Abuse
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 to National Crime Agency-CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection).
if you have concerns about your own or another child’s safety, you can contact the NSPCC helpline (0808 800 5000) for support and advice - the Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign also provides information on the signs of child abuse and neglect
if you want to know how to protect your child from sexual abuse online, Thinkuknow by National Crime Agency-CEOP has developed activities to support your child’s safe use of the internet - the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s Parents Protect website also provides advice to parents to help protect children from child sexual abuse
if you see sexual images or videos of someone under 18 online, report it anonymously to the Internet Watch Foundation who can work to remove them from the web and help to identify victims and survivors
if you have concerns about someone’s behaviour, including children who may be displaying concerning sexual behaviour, you can contact Stop It Now! for information and advice
Support for parents/carers in keeping your children safe from online radicalisation can be found in the following places:
- Educate Against Hate Parents’ Hub - provides resources and government advice for parents and carers on keeping young people safe from extremism, including online.
- Let’s Talk About It - provides support for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation.
- Any member of the public can report terrorist content they find online through the GOV.UK referral tool. More information about what to report and what happens when you make a report can be found on the Action Counters Terrorism campaign.
If you are concerned that any family member, friend or loved one is being radicalised, you can also call the police on 0800 789 321 or 101 to get advice or make a Prevent referral, so that they can get safeguarding support. If you need further help, you can also contact your local authority safeguarding team.
Youth-Produced Sexual Imagery (‘Sexting’)
If you have concerns about your child sending nude images or videos the NSPCC provide advice to help you support your child. Thinkuknow by National Crime Agency-CEOP also provides advice on talking to your child and where to get support.
If you are concerned about cyberbullying, you can find government advice and information about how you can protect your child and tackle it if it happens.
Parental Control and Age-appropriate Content
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.
Internet Matters has provided step-by-step guides on how to set up parental controls so that you can control what content your child can access online.
The UK Safer Internet Centre has developed guidance on how to switch on family-friendly filters to prevent age-inappropriate content being accessed on devices in your home.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health, the government has published guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
National Online Safety
Follow on Twitter #WakeUpWednesday
Each week NOS publishes a guide for parents/carers on new Apps/games/trends online and what you need to know about them. These guides include safety tips, any risks you should know and how you can access support. These guides are really useful for keeping up-to-date on the latest trends on the Internet. You can sign up on the website or follow on twitter. Some of the latest guides are below.