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Information and advice for parents and carers

The internet is an amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices. However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge. You may sometimes feel that your children have better technical skills than you do, however children and young people still need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online.

Issues that your child may encounter on the internet will vary depending on their age and online activities.

Have you activated parental controls?

Activating parental controls should be your first action to make your internet access at home safer.

Here are the first important steps: 

1) activate parental controls with your internet provider (e.g. BT or Sky)

2) activate parental controls with your mobile phone company (e.g. EE or O2)

3) activate your internet browser’s parental control (e.g. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge/Explorer, Safari). If you use more than one internet browser, make sure parental control is activated on all of them.

Whilst the filtering technology allows a level of filtering and protection , it is advisable to let children access the internet when there is a responsible adult around and in a family room rather than in their bedroom.

Find below a few examples of how parental controls can be activated with Internet providers. 

Activate parental controls with BT:

Activate parental controls with Sky Internet: 


To set up your parental controls, Internet Matters can generate your very own personal guide, tailored especially for the devices, internet providers and apps that you and your children use. 



Keeping your child safe online - A checklist for parents and carers

Advice fro the CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre)

As a parent you’ll probably know how important the internet is to children and young people. They use it to learn, play, socialise and express themselves in all types of creative ways. This may be through blogging, gaming, or even developing their own apps. It is a place of amazing opportunities.

The technology children use in their daily lives can seem daunting. You might worry about the risks they can face online, such as bullying, contact from strangers, as well as the possibility of access to inappropriate or illegal content. To help them stay safe, it’s important that you understand how your child uses the internet. 

By following this simple checklist, you can start to protect them and decrease the risks
they face:

I have asked my child to show me sites they use – By doing so, your child is including you in their online life and social activity. Show an interest and take note of the names of their favourite sites. You can then re-visit these when you are alone. Take your time and explore the space, find out how to set the safety features and learn how to report any issues directly to the site. 

I have asked my child to set their profile settings to private – Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are used by children to share information, photos and just about everything they do! Encourage your child to set their privacy settings to private. They need to think about the information they post online as it could be copied and pasted anywhere, without their permission. If it got into the wrong hands, somebody may wish to use it against them or worst of all try to locate them in the real world.

I have asked my child about their online friends – We know that people lie online about who they are and may create fake identities. It is very important children understand this. Whether they are visiting a social network or a gaming site, the safety messages are the same. Children and young people must never give out personal information and only be “friends” with people they know and trust in the real world.

I have set appropriate parental controls on my child’s computer, mobile and games console – Filters on computers and mobiles can prevent your child from viewing inappropriate and possibly illegal content. You can activate and change levels depending on your child’s age and abilities. You can also set time restrictions for using the internet or games. They can be free and easy to install. Call your service provider who will be happy to assist or visit CEOP’s parents' site for further information. Explain to your child why you are setting parental controls when you talk to them about their internet use.

My child has agreed to tell me if they are worried about something online – Sometimes children get into situations online where they don’t feel comfortable or see something they don’t want to see. By opening up the communication channels and talking to your child about the internet, their favourite sites and the risks they may encounter, they are more likely to turn to you if they are concerned about something.

I know where to get help if I’m concerned about my child – The CEOP Safety Centre provides access to a range of services. If you are concerned that an adult has made inappropriate contact with your child you can report this directly to CEOP. You can also find help if you think your child is being bullied, or if you’ve come across something on the internet which you think may be illegal.

If you're worried about online abuse or the way someone has been communicating online, visit the Safety Centre at http://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre

E-safety policy and agreements

YouTube is very popular with children and enables them to watch and upload videos. Whilst YouTube can be a very good resource for education, many of its features raise important safeguarding issues that parents need to be aware of. 

Watching videos:

We strongly encourage parents to download and read the attached ThinkYouKnow’s YouTube Parents' Guide.

Here is an extract from the section about primary children:

YouTube and primary age children 

YouTube contains extensive material aimed at younger viewers and is very popular with them. If you have young children who use YouTube you can use restricted view mode, a privacy setting which helps to filter out inappropriate or offensive content that you would not want your child to see. The filtering uses the flagging system and age restrictions, though YouTube acknowledges that this cannot be 100% accurate. Restricted mode is enabled on an individual browser basis (e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari, Fire Fox), so if your child uses multiple browsers on their device you will need to enable this mode on each browser. Once enabled, restricted mode will remain on regardless of whether you are logged in or out, or if another person is logged into a different YouTube account. 

In 2015 YouTube launched the ‘YouTube Kids App’ in the UK, aimed at children aged 3-8. This is a separate app which can be downloaded free and is designed for child-friendly video viewing. Children do not subscribe to a channel but rather view individual videos.

Within the app, parents have greater control over what content their child can access. There are no social features such as comments and likes, and certain search terms are blocked.

Think You Know, 2016.


Uploading videos:

Setting up a family Google account

Whilst monitoring what your children see on YouTube is important, it is also essential to keep an eye on the content children upload onto YouTube. If your children upload videos without your knowledge, they may be revealing personal information - intentionally or not - to an unknown audience. 

Setting up a family Google account will let you control the videos your children watch and upload, as well as the information they share.

We believe YouTube is a great resource for education. Many children are excited about creating content for a YouTube channel and this provides fantastic opportunities for learning and a high incentive to work hard and share work that children are proud of. As the administrator of your family Google account, you could enable your child to create and upload videos in a safe way. You could view and discuss each video with your child and more importantly ensure the video is posted in private: this would allow you to choose who can view it.

Useful guides for social media

Please find below some guidelines for the use of social media. As a reminder, the minimum age to open an account on social media apps or websites is 13. 

Video game consoles

Video game consoles now have many online features, allowing players to chat and interact with each other. Please follow the guides below to ensure all the devices have parental controls set appropriately.