Using the internet is part of everyday life for children and young people. Children attending school learn about online safety (including phones) as part of their curriculum. But parents and carers also have a responsibility to keep their children safe online. Although for the most part, the internet is beneficial to children and young people, we know that there are sometimes problems. Work we are doing around this includes:
- Digital safeguarding training for professionals
Oxfordshire parents and carers already do an excellent job of supporting their children to use the internet safely. On this page, you can find resources and links to help with this.
Supporting safer internet use
Services and settings where children or young people are present use filtering software to make sure risky content cannot be accessed. You also have this at home, via your internet service provider. It is also available as a standard service on most mobile devices. Depending on which device or service you use, you can also set time limits, monitor usage, and more.
Just as important is sharing information with children about how to use the internet, mobile phones and social networking sites in a safe and healthy way. There are lots of resources linked from the bottom of this page to help with this.
It can be difficult to talk to children and young people about internet safety. They may feel they have heard the advice before, that they do not need it, or that it does not apply to them.
Creating an Online Safety Agreement can be a good way to open up discussion about internet use in your home or setting.
Advice for challenging risky internet use in young people
- Keep communication lines open - if you are not talking to a young person, you cannot support them
- Keep yourself informed - use the internet yourself, be aware of the issues, and know where to go to find support and help
- Be ready to start the conversation - even about difficult topics like grooming, pornography, online bullying, downloading, false news and other illegal activity
- Make rules and agree to them - it helps to explain the reasons for rules, and challenge young people's opinions (that they won't get caught, e.g. or that they're too clever to be caught out by a groomer)
- Beware of blocking and banning - you may drive the young person to a riskier access point.
- You can find more information for young people about staying safe online on Oxfordshire‘s website for children and young people oxme.info.
Internet safety links
Internet matters provide expert advice, information and more about using parental controls and keeping your children safe online.
Childnet International Parents' Support
Childnet International - Empowering parents with ICT, a set of leaflets, seminars, newsletter and guidance on keeping children safe on the internet.
Help your children get the most out of the internet with ThinkuKnow.
UK Safer Internet Centre
UK Safer Internet Centre - e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet.
Helpline and information about online safety from Stop it now and Parents Protect.
Social networking and messaging safety
Social media apps and platforms are popular among young people, as are online multi-player games. Although these platforms can be fun, there are risks, including bullying and contact with strangers.
The NSPCC has created guides to apps games and social media sites to help children and parents use these platforms more safely.