The safety tips draw on analysis the data gathered and available research. This section of the paper is intended to provide, in one convenient place, guidelines to parents, guardians and educators to help them teach their children how to have a safe, positive and valuable experience while online. Parents, guardians and educators must consider the exact nature of the different sites, and their child’s understanding of the dangers and the likelihood that the parent can reduce risks, before deciding which environment is right for their child.
The Internet has great potential as a means of empowering children and young people to help and find things out for themselves. Teaching positive and responsible forms of online behaviour is a key objective.
Keep the computer in a common room
Keeping the computer in a common room and being present especially when younger children are using the Internet can be very important. If you cannot be present, consider other ways of keeping a close watch on what your children are doing online, for example by using technical tools. In larger families with multiple computers there may be some practical limits which also arise if you insist on them all being in the same room at the same time, and remember as children start to get older they are anyway entitled to some privacy. As more and more children acquire laptops, and wireless networks become commonplace in private homes, it will also be more difficult to maintain a rule of this kind.
Agree house rules about using the Internet and personal devices, giving particular attention to issues of privacy, age inappropriate places, bullying and stranger danger
As soon as children begin to use the Internet on their own, discuss and establish a list of agreed rules. These rules should include when children can use the Internet and how they should use it.
Internet sites features review
Consider whether filtering and blocking or monitoring programmes can help support or underpin children’s and young people’s safe use of the internet and personal devices. If you use such software explain what it does and why you are using it to your children. Keep confidential any relevant passwords linked to these programmes.
Issues of trust and a young person’s right to privacy can arise where technical tools are used, particularly monitoring programmes. In normal circumstances it is highly desirable that a parent or guardian discusses their reasons for wanting to use of this type of software, and in schools its use should also be fully explained.
Prevent children from sharing personally identifiable information
Help your children understand what information should be kept private. Explain that children should post only information that you – and they – are comfortable with others seeing. Remind your children that once they post information online, they cannot take it back.
Internet sites safe usage review
Ensure children follow age limits of the Internet site
If children are under the age recommended by the Internet sites, do not let them use the sites. It is important to remember that parents cannot rely on the service provider being able to keep underage children from signing up.
Communicate with your children about their experiences
Talk to your children regularly about where they go and who they speak to when they go online. Encourage your children to tell you if something they encounter on the Internet makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Remind your children to stop immediately whatever they are doing when they feel uncomfortable or become suspicious. Be sure they understand they will not get in trouble for bringing something to your attention. In turn, you, as the parent and adult, should not overreact when your child shares their experience with you. Stay calm regardless of what they tell you, get all the facts, and then take action. Praise your child for trusting you. Ensure children can report abusers.
Parents should become familiar with the Internet sites used by their children (i.e. services and products offered by Internet sites) and have a good understanding of how children spend their time online