Keeping Children Safe Online during Covid-19
Some advice for Parents and Carers
Covid 19 has created a new environment for learning with parents having to become familiar with the technology to enable their children to learn from home as well as keeping them entertained and in contact with the friends whom they can no longer have contact.
It would be quite tempting to throw out the rule book and give them access to all the sites they have been nagging parents to let them use or allow them extra time on games. However the internet is still a dangerous place for rule breakers and more than ever parents need to be fully aware of exactly what their children are doing and talking to them about how to do it safely.
Here are some places to go to for advice and to go on with your children and play games and do activities with them to encourage them to stay safe and have fun learning and playing online.
Childnet have produced lots of useful resources for parents and carers
They are broken up into ages and include quick activities, films and plenty more fun ways to engage with your children. From identifying fake news to online bullying – there is plenty for you and your family to use.
They will be adding more content for each age group as time goes on.
Getting advice and guidance if something goes wrong
Childnet also provides some great ideas to help families if their children see something online which is not intended for them. This can include fake news, impersonation, or mean comments, there are lots of places you can go to for help and advice on how to report this behaviour. Working together to sort these problems also helps children develop their critical skills
Making a report
reportharmfulcontent.com is a website designed to help you report anything which you believe shouldn't be online. There’s guidance about how to report different types of content as well as help with the next steps you can take if your report isn't actioned by the site or service you have made it on.
Speaking to someone
For young people - depending on the age of your child there are a range of places they can go to for help. For younger children they can call Childline for help and support, and for older children The Mix offer free and practical advice.
For parents and carers - The O2 and NSPCC helpline can help you with any questions or concerns you may have about keeping your child safe online. They can provide you with advice and help to troubleshoot any problems your family may be facing.
A family agreement is a great way to start a conversation with your whole family about how you all use the internet. As you have everyone at home, it’s a fantastic way to set boundaries and discuss how you are all going to use technology during this time. Where is tech going to be used in your home? How are you going to share it and what times of the day can different family members have access? It's also a great way to discuss how to behave online and talk about what happens if something upsets or worries your child.
As a parent or carer, the best tool to support your child in leading a happy and safe life online is open conversation. The Parents' Guide gives advice on how to begin these discussions, how to work together as a family to support your child online, and how to handle difficult conversations or situations.
From livestreaming and parental controls, to grooming, the website has advice for parents and carers on a range of topics.
Staying connected with your peers
We are seeing some ingenious ways of people keeping in touch using technology, from virtual PE lessons with The Body Coach on YouTube, to year groups having Skype calls at the time when school breaks would be. There are so many ways that young people can stay connected during this time.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
This organisation works to remove sites with inappropriate images of children and make the internet safer place. They have a reporting system in place as well as working with other agencies or try to remove child abuse images from the internet
This organisation has expressed concern that activity online to approach young people to post indecent images will increase in these times of social isolation. The IWF say that more and more of this material is filmed by children themselves in their bedrooms in a family home
Reports can be made at
The public is given this advice when making a report:
- Do report images and videos of child sexual abuse to the IWF to be removed. Reports to the IWF are anonymous.
- Do provide the exact URL where child sexual abuse images are located.
- Don’t report other harmful content – you can find details of other agencies to report to on the IWF’s website.
- Do report to the police if you are concerned about a child’s welfare,
- Do report only once for each web address – or URL. Repeat reporting of the same URL isn’t needed and wastes analysts’ time.
- Do report non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, such as computer-generated images. The images the IWF can act on must be pornographic, be grossly offensive, and focus on a child's genitals or depict sexual activity involving or in the presence of a child. Anything of this nature, which is also hosted in the UK, the IWF can get removed.
This magazine and webpages are produced by Vodafone and are packed with online safety advice.
They have also produced a Family pledge to help families start discussions about online safety which might be useful as online activity increases
This website is currently offering free resources for parents and cares who are home schooling on their Home School Learning Hub
Some other useful sites for parents and carers
- Internet matters - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- London Grid for Learning - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Net-aware - for support for parents and careers from the NSPCC
- Parent info - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
- Thinkuknow - for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
- UK Safer Internet Centre - advice for parents and carers
Brand New Website
www.parentinfo.org is a brand new website produced by CEOP and the ParentZone. Take a look at this site for the very latest, relevant advice for keeping children safe online. A live feed to this site will appear on our website in the next few weeks.
Staying Safe Online
Protecting our children so that they are safe on the internet is vital. Many of us pay more attention to the security of our online banking, than we do to the safety and security of our children's online activity. Please take a few minutes to look at this page and to watch the videos below. You can also visit www.thinkuknow.org for more information.
The poster below is displayed around school. We use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. as a reminder about the 5 key areas of online safety. The children are reminded about this regularly and each year there will be a focus on each of these areas through assemblies and other lessons.