Online safety

The internet is a great way for children and young people to connect with others and learn new things. As interactions between people are increasingly taking place online it is essential that we safeguard children as robustly in the virtual world as we do in the real one. We can do this through:

  • Promoting safe online behaviour to children, young people and their families
  • Taking children, young people and their families’ online actions and networks into account when providing support

Children, young people and their families go online for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To search for information or content on search engines
  • Share images and watch videos through websites or mobile apps
  • Use social networking websites
  • Write or reply to messages on forums and message boards
  • Play games along or with others through websites, apps or games consoles
  • Chat with other people through on-line, games, messenger apps, games consoles, webcams, social network, and other instant communication tools
  • Find new friends and partners

There are lots of benefits in going online, and also some risks. These include:

  • Exposure to and sharing of explicit material (including sexting)
  • Grooming
  • Radicalisation
  • Exploitation
  • Identity theft
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Cyber-hacking

It’s important that as professionals you are confident in talking with children, young people and their families about their online choices and interactions. This includes tablets, lap-tops, phones etc, for example:

  • Personal information shared online: checking privacy settings, sharing contact details, geotagging
  • Images shared and online communication: online support networks, inappropriate images (e.g. sexting), online bullying or harassment
  • Online relationships: safe online friendships, meeting up with online friends or potential partners

 

Advice and resources