Protecting your children in a digital world
The digital age has transformed the way we live. Multi-channel TV, the internet, mobile phones and games players mean we can now get a wealth of entertainment and information at the touch of a button. But not all of this is going to be suitable for your children.
There will be TV programmes you don’t want them to watch, and web sites which are not suitable for them.
Children often learn about new technology first. Parents will want to help their children get the most from new technology while at the same time helping them to avoid potential pitfalls.
What controls can I set on the TV?
With some digital TV services you can set controls on your TV to restrict specific channels or programmes.
If you are unsure how to activate your parental control features – or if you want to see whether your TV system has such a facility – check the TV system instructions booklet. You can also phone your service provider, check their website or check with the original retailer.
How can I help protect my children online?
When it comes to going online via a PC, laptop, mobile phone, or games player, one of the best ways of protecting children is to educate yourself so that you can educate your children. Here are some ideas:
- Get to know how your children use the internet. Ask them to show you some of their favourite sites and talk about them. Make them aware that there are things on the internet which may upset them and that they can always talk to you – or another trusted adult. Be aware of any changes in the way they use the internet, such as the amount of time they spend online.
- Make sure your children realise they should never give out personal details – such as name, address, school and telephone numbers – to online friends they do not know in the real world, and tell them never to respond to junk email or open attachments that are from people they don’t know.
- Work with your children to understand how search engines work so that they don’t stumble across unsuitable content and are able to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
- Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider or from retailers – these can help to block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don’t want children to see.
- If your children watch programmes or films online, many providers offer tools you can use to prevent them seeing unsuitable content. Ofcom has guides available in the consumer guides section of our website, tel: 0300 123 3333.
- Look for local computer or internet classes which will teach you how to use the online services your children are using. Talk to your child’s school about what they are teaching children about staying safe online. Learn how the history feature on your computer can help you monitor the websites that your children are using.
- Help can also be found on websites such as CEOP’s Think You Know / or tel: 08700 0003344) and The UK Safer Internet Centre.
- The UK Council for Child Internet Safety has developed a Click Clever, Click Safe code to help children to enjoy the internet safely. The code has three simple actions designed to help keep children safe onlinr: Zip it, Block it, Flag it’. Click here to find out more.
- Understanding the dangers of cyberbullying will help you keep your child safe online. There’s help and support available at CyberMentors, tel: 0208 771 3377; ChildLine, tel: 0800 1111; and Childnet International, tel: 020 7639 6967.
Make sure your child knows the SMART rules….
S – Safe. Do not give out personal information when chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
M – Meeting. Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous.
A – Accepting. Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
R – Reliable. Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to real world friends and family.
T – Tell. Tell your parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Useful contact details
Think U Know.co.uk
Click Clever Click Safe
UK Safer Internet Centre
Internet Watch Foundation
Get Safe Online
Freesat from Sky
Top Up TV
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