Get to know your child's online habits. Children are inquisitive. They will look to explore the internet as much as they do the real world. Knowing the sites they go to, the people they meet there and what they do will help to keep your children safe.
Stay alert to any sudden changes in mood or appearance, or to any major change in habits or to increased secretiveness. These are often tell-tale signs that something is not right.
Keep lines of communication open - tell your child that they can always talk to you or another trusted adult, such as a teacher, if they do end up in some sort of trouble on the internet. Make your child aware that there are things on the internet which may distress them.
Spend some time surfing the internet yourself. The more that you know about the internet, the better able you are, in turn, to help your child navigate around it without coming to any harm.
Install internet filtering software showing a Child Safety Online Kitemark on your computer. Filtering products with a Kitemark have been independently tested to provide a simple and effective means of support to parents, helping to ensure that a child’s online experience is a safe one.
Help your child to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends they don't know offline.
Explain to your child what information is deemed as personal: i.e. e-mail address, mobile phone number, school name, sports club, arrangements for meeting up with friends and any pictures or videos of themselves, their family or friends. Small pieces of information can easily be pieced together to form a comprehensive insight in to their lives and daily activities.
Make your child aware that they need to think carefully about the information and pictures they post on their profiles. Inform your child that once published online, anyone can change or share these images of them.
It can be easy to forget that the internet is not a private space, and as a result young people sometimes engage in risky behaviour online. Advise your child not to post any pictures, videos or information on their profiles, or in chat rooms, that they would not want a parent or carer to see.
If your child receives spam or junk e-mail and texts, remind them never to believe their contents, reply to them or use them.
It's not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don't know. They won't know what they contain—it could be a virus or an inappropriate image or film.
Help your child to understand that some people lie online and that therefore it's better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers without being in the company of an adult they trust.
Always keep communication open for your child to know that it's never too late to tell someone about something which makes them feel uncomfortable. There is usually an option available to "report abuse".
Useful links for more information:
Sites to visit for advice/help: www.thinkuknow.co.uk: the main UK Government website with advice for on how to keep safe online
www.ceop.police.uk: the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [(CEOP) is the Government body dedicated to eradicating abuse of children. Concerns about inappropriate contacts between a child and an adult, including online, can be reported directly to CEOP. There is usually an option available to "report abuse to CEOPS ", on most social networking sites, like Facebook - simply click the "button".
www.iwf.org.uk: the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) works to remove illegal material from the internet. If you have found any material you believe to be illegal e.g. child sex abuse images or other obscene material, you can report it to the IWF.
www.childline.org.uk/ Childline is a service provided by the NSPCC, operated by trained volunteer counsellors. It is the UK's free, 24-hour helpline if you are distressed or in danger. you can call the free helpline for support: 0800 11 11.
www.there4me.com is another support service provided by the NSPCC. Using this website, you can talk confidentially to NSPCC advisors online about [any issues or problems you may be experiencing, using an application similar to Instant Messenger (IM).