Online Safety Hints and Tips for at home
Most children spend lots of time using the Internet, both at school and at home. They might visit social networking sites or use instant messaging to chat to friends or play on online gaming sites.
You can buy special filtering and blocking software to protect your children, and most Internet browser software has some filters and security in place. Filtering software lets parents choose what is suitable for their children to look at, but parents must be aware that this software is not always 100% effective.
If you keep your device 'anti-virus' security up to date you should not have problems with most threats from the Internet or from downloaded email attachments. The popular browsers also let you control or block things such as unwanted pop-up advertisements and "cookies" e.g. when a website downloads a small file to your PC to remember your name/login.
Always take care to protect your home computer and members of the family who use it.
- Talk to your child and ask them to show you how they use the internet and their devices, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together can often open opportunities to discuss safe practise with your child.
- Make sure you know what your children are doing online, much like you would in "real" life such as what sites they visit and who they talk to. Ensure they know not to share personal information that could identify them in the offline world with anyone online.
- Have family rules about how the Internet/mobile phones etc will be used at home and be clear about not sharing information online such as names, schools, phone numbers, email addresses, photos of themselves, with online friends. Have clear rules about making and meeting with online friends safely (such as taking someone with them, meeting in a public place etc).
- Talk to your child about the risks of downloading files from unknown or potentially illegal sources or copying information from sites.
- Use child or family friendly search engines (such as the CBBC Safe Search) with younger children and bookmark favourite sites for your children to use.
- Wherever possible, locate your computer in a family area and supervise younger children. Always supervise the use of webcams in your home and consider applications which allow voice chat.
- Filter unsuitable sites so that they cannot be seen or used by your children. This doesn't have to cost a lot. Many Internet Service Providers will include filtering and some level of internet security free. You might want to check with them what is already available before buying extra security software.
- Be aware that some devices, such as Mobile Phones, Games Consoles etc are also able to access the internet and bypass filtering. Consider putting parental controls in place (either by contacting your mobile phone provider or from the console/device's settings directly) to restrict content and access.
- Always ensure your child knows how to block or report another user who may be sending nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Make sure you child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable. If your child receives any abusive messages etc keep them for evidence purposes to show to the school or police. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply. You can also report problems directly to service providers and websites.
- Work with the school, you can help repeat online safety messages taught in school at home. We have an Online Safety Policy and an Online Safety Lead who will be able to advise you where to go for more support.
- Be realistic - banning the internet will not work - children use computers and games consoles at friends' houses and at school so education around its safe use is essential. Educate your children and the whole family will benefit from using the internet.
As a certified member of National Online Safety, we have access to lots of parental guides and online safety advice and training that you may find useful. If you would like access to these resources, please email the school office and we can set you up with a parent account.