As the summer holidays are now upon us, many children will be spending more time than usual online. Recent research suggests that this is a real concern for parents with four in 10 parents in the North West said that they felt that their children will be safer playing outside than online and over a third (37%) of parents in the North West have no parental controls in place to try and keep their children safe online.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, commented:“Technology is now a given for children, but the online world changes so fast – we’ve seen that over the last few weeks with the mass uptake of Pokémon GO which now brings the online world into physical environments and a whole new set of risks. Our children in the North West are growing up to be extraordinarily tech-savvy which does make it difficult for parents to keep control of what they are doing online. And we can see that many are worried about the risks their kids face when they are browsing, playing games and watching content on computers and other devices. Last year, Ofcom found that over half of 3-4 year olds and three-quarters of 12-15 year olds were using tablets.
In partnership with Get Safe Online, Merseyside Police recommends that all parents take at least the following steps to protect their children online:
- Talk regularly with your child about their online lives
- Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and rules for your children from a young age
- Try out some of the technologies your child enjoys for yourself
- Speak to friends, family and other parents about their approach to keeping their children safe online. Exchanging experiences can be highly valuable
- Use parental controls on computers, mobile devices and games consoles as well as privacy features on social networking sites and safety options on Google / other search engines. Opt into your ISP’s family filters
- Install reputable parental control software and apps to help ensure age-appropriate online activity and monitor your child’s internet usage
- Stay aware of changes in your child’s behaviour or moods, as it may be a sign that your child is being bullied, harassed or abused online
- Remember that social networking and picture sharing sites have minimum age limits – find out what they are and make sure your child isn’t using age-inappropriate networks and apps
- As your child grows up, make sure they’re aware of the basics of online safety, such as not clicking on links in emails and instant messages, good password practice, not turning off internet security programs / apps and firewalls and not revealing personal information
- For more information on what you need to know about Pokémon GO, the following web page has all the latest online safety tips and advice:https://www.getsafeonline.org/news/childrens-safety-added-to-pokemon-go-concerns/
- For advice, help or to make a report of what you believe to be a case of attempted or actual child exploitation, visit the CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection) Safety Centre
- To report a crime against a child, contact your local police force
- If you think you or your child has been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
Comprehensive expert, impartial, practical, free advice can be found atwww.getsafeonline.org
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