The majority of children and young people have as much or more technical know-how than their parents, but they don't always have the experience and judgement necessary to keep them safe online.

The Internet has revolutionised the way we connect with the world becoming an increasing part of today’s culture.

This is especially true for children and young people who have become more technically aware than ever, having grown up with the evolution of the technology.

The majority have as much or more technical know-how than their parents, but don't always have the experience and judgement necessary to keep them safe online.

While the internet is a valuable source of educational information, children also use social media networks, smartphone apps, chat rooms and forums for chatting and sharing multimedia online. Whilst these are excellent means to communicate or for entertainment they are not without risks.

If used naively they can leave a child open to all sorts of dangerous situations including:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Cyberstalking
  • Exposure to inappropriate material
  • Online predators and exploitation
  • Revealing too much personal information

Parents need to ensure that all the families devices are secure and protected from these risks and, as much as possible, monitor their childs online activity.

Children need to be taught to be alert to these problem areas and talk to their parents if they feel they might be in a bad situation.

Both parents and children need to work together to remain safe.

The Online Safety Act

The Online SafetyAct is a new set of laws to protect children and adults online. It will make social media companies more responsible for their users’ safety on their platforms.

Introduced in October 2023 following 5 years campaigning by the NSPCC, the bill has a zero-tolerance approach to protecting children and puts particular emphasis on protecting children online, with additional requirements to prevent them from accessing “harmful and age-inappropriate” content.

Social media platforms will be legally responsible for the content they host and keeping children and young people safe online. They could be fined up to £18 million or 10 percent of global annual revenue (whichever is larger) by Britain’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) if found to be non-compliant.

A comprehensive guide to the Online Safety Act is avialble at the following links:

Guidance for parents:

NSPCC offer an online introductory course for anyone who works with children where you will earn how children use the internet and how you can keep them safe from abuse - available at this link.

Comprehensive guides for parents can be found at the following links:

Further guidelines and advice to help keep your children safe online can be found at the following links:

Parental Controls

Parental controls are software and tools that allow parents to set controls on their children’s internet use. They are a great way of helping prevent children from accessing unsuitable content online.

Guidelines and advice on how to set parental controls on your home PC, smart phones and tablets can be found at the following links:

Other Organisations

Stop it Now! UK and Ireland is a child sexual abuse prevention campaign and Helpline.
It is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is a group of more than 200 organisations drawn from across government, industry, law, academia and charity sectors that work in partnership to help keep children safe online.

UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities, Childnet InternationalInternet Watch Foundation and SWGfL with a mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) is a law enforcement agency to keep children and young people safe from sexual exploitation and abuse. It works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account.

Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services and oversees standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material.

Reporting Abuse

If you are worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you or someone you know make a report to one of CEOP's Child Protection Advisors at this link.

If you see any criminal sexual content, images or videos of child sexual abuse online you can report it anonymously to the Internet Watch Foundation at this link.

If you think your child has been ‘scammed, ripped off or conned’ online you can report it to Action Fraud online at this link or call them on 0300 123 2040.

If you want to make a complaint about something you’ve seen or heard that you thought was unsuitable for children, you can report it at this link.

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