The online world is now an integral part of everyday life, especially for young people. As with the real world, there are risks online and it's important that you teach your child how to manage them.
The internet brings great opportunity to communicate and learn. Unfortunately there are individuals who will use the internet to make inappropriate contact with young people for the purposes of scams, bullying, sexual grooming or abuse. It is our responsibility as parents or carers to ensure that we know what our children are doing on the internet and how to keep them safe.
The answer is not to panic and think it's all too dangerous. Parents and carers can help their children to recognise the danger signs and teach them how to keep themselves safe.
This information, provided by Bury Integrated Safeguarding Partnership, is to help you to teach your children the basics of staying safe online or when using mobile phones.
If you are a parent or carer
Help your child to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends
This includes their messenger ID, email address, mobile phone number and any pictures of themselves, their family or friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it. Remind them that anyone may be looking at their picture. Any personal information put on sites like Facebook must be protected by privacy settings.
If your child receives spam/junk email and texts, remind them never to believe them, reply to them or use them
It's not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they do not know. They could contain a virus, or worse an inappropriate image or film. Help your child to understand that some people lie online. Remember that a child or young person could chat with someone for months and still never know who they really are. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they can trust coming too.
Teach your child how to block someone online and how to report them if they feel uncomfortable
Most social networking sites have tools for blocking, flagging or reporting, and you should also use the 'report abuse' button from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to make sure people trying to make inappropriate contact with your child get caught.
Talk with your child about their internet use
Be part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Ask your child to show you what sites they use and how they work. By learning with your child they will be more likely to come to you if they have any problems. Encourage your child to tell you if they feel uncomfortable, upset or threatened online.
Try and keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space
Use the computer and games consoles in a family room. Monitor the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don't want to see. Be vigilant if your child has a webcam, check who they are 'chatting' to and warn them about the dangers of uploading images of themselves. Remember that most mobile phones are mini computers. Does your child need to take the phone to bed with them?
Learn about internet safety with your child
The CEOP Think U Know? site has films, games and advice for children from age five to sixteen. These cover social networking sites and "sexting", the sending of indecent images over the internet or by mobile phone.
The links on this webpage are all services to help parents and children be informed and safe on the internet.
Some children can be bullied and others can be bullies. Cyberbullying is when someone uses social networking, online games or mobile phones to bully others.
Above all teach your children to Be S.M.A.R.T.
Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal info including full name and e-mail address to people you don't really know
Meeting up with someone who you have only met on line can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents/carers permission and even then only when they can be present
Accepting e-mails, IM messages or opening files from people you don't know can be dangerous - they may contain viruses or nasty messages
Someone on line may be lying about who they are and information they provide on the internet may not be true. Check information and advice on other websites or in books or ask someone who may know
Tell your parent/carer or teacher if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried or you or someone you know is being cyberbullied.