Staying safe online
We urge parents and carers to monitor their child’s online activity as closely as they would monitor any contact their child has with other children and adults in the real world.
- We recommend that children are supervised while using the Internet. It is possible to buy software which will restrict access to ‘harmful sites’. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will also provide an element of ‘filtering’ to avoid unsuitable content; but you need to set it up.
- No system will remove all unsuitable material.
- It is important that your children know what to do if they come across any material that they feel uncomfortable with. REPORT IT. Online abuse and concerns can be reported to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
- CEOP also has information for children, young people and parents/carers. Parents and carers are encouraged to look at them in order to help them to understand some of the potential risks and to help them monitor their child’s activities online.
Students should not give out personal details about themselves or others. This includes: full name, address, phone numbers, email addresses etc.
- Students should never make arrangements to meet anyone over the net.
- Students should never give anyone else their password.
- People should not give out bank / card details unless they have checked that the site is trustworthy and that they have anti-spyware installed on the computer.
Free web space
There are a large number of people offering free webspace at the moment, such as www.zorpia.com, www.bebo.com, www.myspace.com. There are areas of these sites and adverts thatyou may consider inappropriate. While this is great for developing creativity, it also has dangers.
- Free areas are easy to upload information to and many target young people in their marketing.
- Free areas often invite others to view your areas / galleries etc. While it is good to share, people need to consider who may have access to these areas. Avoid giving out personal details about yourself or others.
Chatrooms / Forums / MSN
These have many uses, but also many dangers. It is very hard to know whether the person is really who they say they are. Even if the name is someone you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your friend is the person doing the typing!
- It is also not always clear who else is ‘listening’ in to your conversation.
- There are usually ‘moderators’ who you can contact if you are unhappy with anything in a forum or chatroom.
This is a rapidly developing area and can have the same dangers as chat rooms. This is particularly true of role-play type games.
- There are usually moderators you can contact if you are unhappy with anything.
- Never give out personal details or arrange to meet someone.
- On-line games are not restricted to computers.
Avoid opening emails from unrecognised sources. Never open attachments without checking who they are from and whether they are likely to be safe.
- Emails may carry viruses.
- Most anti-virus programs will scan emails for spam (unsolicited, bulk mail); as well as viruses.
- Avoid using CC (Carbon Copy) or the ‘To’ box when sending to multiple addresses. Instead use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). You can set up a group; put your own address in the ‘To’ box and the name of your group in the BCC box. This offers some protection in that people don’t automatically see everyone else’s email address.
Unfortunately, bullies like new technology just the same as everyone else. Children need to be very careful about who they give mobile ‘phone numbers to; what they upload (if anything); who they give email addresses to etc.
- Texting; using camera ‘phones; setting up websites about people; MSN; and group emailing are all ways that are being used by some bullies.
- If it happens – tell someone immediately, save all evidence you can.
Be imaginative with passwords. It is amazing how many are ‘guessed’.
- Try to make sure passwords are at least 6 characters. (The longer the better.)
- Avoid using postcodes or family names / dates etc.
- Using unusual characters such as £$%&*^ makes fraud harder.
- Mixing capitals and lower case letters usually makes passwords more secure.
- Some people hold databases of the most common passwords!
- Never give out your PIN over the Internet.
- Most common password info
Advice and information
The Think u know website contains good e-safety advice for children, young people and parents/carers.
On NSPCC Net Aware parents review kids’ social networks, apps and games.