According to the Daily Telegraph (25th June, 2018), 48% of 5 year olds and 25% of 2 year olds have their own tablet. Depending on your viewpoint, the above statistics may either have you celebrating progress in technology, or cause you grave concern.
It is believed the modern day Internet was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners Lee. Many of us use the Internet regularly and recognize how positive and educational it can be. However, there is also a dark side to the Internet, encouraging individuals online, who wish to cause harm to children and adults. As a parent or carer, it is your responsibility to help teach your child about staying safer online.
Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Childrens Services and Skills), regulate and inspect nurseries. They are very clear that nurseries and educational settings have appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to protect learners from harmful online material. More information can be found in the document `Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years, Education and Skills Settings` (2018).
Here are some top tips and sensible internet safety advice for parents and carers that may make time on the Internet less stressful and more enjoyable!
- Check websites are suitable BEFORE use
- Supervise children if you are concerned
- Learning together about the Internet and how things may not be as children appear
- Using child friendly search engines and applications (apps). Kidtopia, Kiddle, DuckDuckGo, KidRex and FactMonster are examples of these
- Encouraging children NOT to post any personal information online
- Keep privacy settings as high as possible. Ask someone to help you if unsure how to do this
- Explain to children that sometimes people they `meet’ online are not who they claim to be
- Emphasis to children that if they see something online that makes them feel worried, unsafe, or uncomfortable, close things down, turn off the computer if necessary and tell a trusted adult, as soon as possible
- Before children access online facilities, ask them to name 2 things they need to do that will help them keep safe online
- If you are at all concerned, have laptops/computers in the family living area, where you can monitor activity
- No mobiles/tablets at mealtimes
- No devices in bedrooms after a certain time
The following resources will support parents and carers to become more confident and tech savvy
- CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)
- Net Nanny
- Internet Watch Foundation
- Grid For Learning
- UKCCIS (UK Council for Child Internet Safety)
- Youtube – films, such as Can I be your Friend? may be useful.
This is a guest post by Deborah Somerset-Malia of DSM Safeguarding Solutions – who provides safeguarding children and adult at risk training and consultancy. Deborah is also an accredited Mental Health First Aider (MHFA).