There are a variety of excellent resources to help you keep yourself and your family safe online.
A lot of the resources are age appropriate - which is important, as a key issue that we need to address is relationships.
However, the advice really fits into two parts
- firstly, shut your digital door! That is, make sure that children and young people are not dangerously exposing themselves online,
- secondly, teach and talk about real relationships, help them understand abuse and bullying, help them support their friends
However, I think there is a third thing that we, as a community can do, and that is, share this information and advice with others.
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. There is also a dreadful saying that it takes a village to abuse a child. So, it takes an online community to keep ourselves and our children safe too. The more open and the widely we share digital safety advice, the safer our communities become.
Facebook - protect your account, tackle bullying and inappropriate content
Please visit Facebook safety centre
- advice on how to protect your Facebook account and control who sees your information
- advice on blocking someone if you are being harassed
- how to report abusive or offensive content
- social reporting - how to share content that you feel is inappropriate or get help from a teacher or parent. For instance, if you are concerned about someone potentially committing suicide you can use this tool to intervene effectively and appropriately
Please go and check out the advice - it is excellent. Also, if you have young children or teenagers, do check out these pages with them - so that they learn to keep safe too.
Barnardos - Real Love Rocks - and good relationships
In addition to protecting yourself online and reporting content, children and young people are at risk of inappropriate and dangerous relationships.
These may vary from mildly coercive to abusing relationships. The best way to address this issue and keep children and young people safe is to talk to them about 'real love' or what to expect from relationships so that they can tell the difference between a good relationship and a bad one. This is not an easy topic, which is why these videos are so helpful.
Barnardos have done some excellent work - and made age appropriate videos about relationships - do sit down and watch these together.
Real Love Rocks for Children Aged 10 to 11
* Relationships - what makes a happy safe and fair relationship
* Grooming - what it is and how to get help if you are concerned
* Keeping Safe - how to handle increased independence
* Being online - how to keep safe on phones, computers, tablets and when gaming
Real Love Rocks for Children Aged 12+ and Young People
* Relationships: What they are and what makes a happy, safe, fair and consensual relationship.
* Child Sexual Exploitation: What it means, the different ways it might happen and where to get help if needed.
* Keeping Safe: Encouraging young people to think about how to stay safe when they are out and about; highlighting the added risk that alcohol, drugs or not being in contact with parents/careers can bring.
* Impact of Watching Porn and Sexting: The impact of watching porn and the possible consequences. The risks involved in sexting and how to stay safe online.
What about help for parents?
Good question. There is an excellent magazine called Digital Parenting (written / sponsored by Vodafone) which despite the branding is excellent and tackles lots of touch parental questions. The magazine is updated - so content will vary - but it will cover things like 'what rules to set when handing over the first smart phone' etc! Information and advice that we all need!
Do be aware that other apps lend themselves to online bullying, sexting, grooming and some have been associated with teenage suicide.
Here is a useful guide - but, of course, new apps are released all the time.
Lastly, if you want some help, then check out the Scouts Association - they now have Digital Skills Badge which includes the key skill of 'Staying Safe Online - Know the Risks'.
Remember, it takes a village to keep a child safe. Please share...
ps. I want to know your priorities for policing please help me by taking my survey...