How can I keep my kids safe online?

Open navigator

1. Remaining aware

We know just how much time kids spend chatting, surfing or playing games online and how much they love connecting and sharing with people all over the world.

But there are risks that lurk in cyberspace, so we’ve teamed up with e-safety organisation Internet Matters to help you make the internet a safer place for your kids.

The good news is that keeping them safe online doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s more about common sense and communication than computer know-how. In fact, just a few simple steps can ensure that every child can surf safely.

2. The risks

Understanding the risks that young people may be exposed to is the first step towards protecting them. Click on the labels to find out more about the most common dangers that children face online.

This content uses functionality that is not supported by your current browser. Consider upgrading your browser.

3. Taking control with tech

If you have younger children, one of the simplest things you can do is make use of parental controls that give you the ability to filter the type of content your children can see when they’re online.

No system is 100% accurate so don’t over-rely on technical tools – make sure you keep talking to your children to help them develop their critical thinking as they grow up. The most popular browsers provide features to block malicious or inappropriate sites using a safe search filter and the big internet service providers all offer free parental controls.

Dedicated software is also available from all well-known developers allowing you to set the level of monitoring, block access to specific sites and programs, receive email alerts and even record keystrokes. But think carefully about using monitoring software and how this might impact your child’s behaviour online.

Finally don’t forget that mobile phones, tablets and games consoles all come equipped with their own parental controls that can be accessed via settings. Plus, more and more manufacturers are developing tablets and devices aimed specifically at children which are designed to protect younger users straight from the box.

4. Keep it private

A mother and daughter with a passion for using social media are surprised to find out how much of their life is available online.

5. The conversation

It’s so important to keep the conversation going to help prevent problems, or to deal with them if they are already happening.

  • Have a family discussion to set boundaries and agree which apps or websites are appropriate.
  • Explore sites and apps together and talk about what’s suitable for children of different ages, making sure they feel part of these discussions.
  • Show them how to use privacy settings, and the report and block functions on the sites and apps they use. Find out how if you don’t know!
  • Reassure your child that they can always talk to you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Tell them you'll help them to report anything upsetting they've seen, or to deal with online bullying.

6. What kind of parent am I?

Internet Matters has identified common categories that most parents fall into when it comes to keeping children safe online. Click on the labels to find out more.

This content uses functionality that is not supported by your current browser. Consider upgrading your browser.