What is Online Safety?
Simply put, Online Safety involves keeping safe while using electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablet computers and games consoles. Children as well as adults are at risk from a variety of different scenarios if they are not playing an active role in keeping each other and themselves educated on the risks they face.
What are the risks?
If not properly managed or regularly reviewed, these devices and the services they offer such as video chat, text messages, social media connectivity and web-banking can leave a person vulnerable to exploitation. Recent events highlighted in the media over the last year or so include identity theft, theft of money from bank accounts, cyber-bullying, the grooming of vulnerable children by adults and even cases where children have, unfortunately, been kidknapped.
What can I do to keep myself and my children safe?
There are a variety of ways to keep everyone in your family safe:
- Play an active role in your child's use of electonic devices. Use computers and games consoles with them. Model browsing the internet safely and discuss events as they occur.
- Keep a record of all of your children's usernames and passwords for all of the services they use such as PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Club Penguin etc. By doing this you have the freedom to check exactly what it is they are viewing, the messages they are recieving etc.
- Discuss as a family what sort of informaton different types of people need to know about them. Who needs to know the school they attend? Who needs to know their name? Remind them that 'Stranger Danger' rules apply to the internet too.
- Install family filter software on all applicable devices. These types of software block your child from seeing harmful websites.
- Be firm with them on what is acceptable use of electronic devices. Facebook, for instance does not allow persons under the age of 13 to use their website. This means any child of a Primary School age should not have a Facebook profile or even use the service on behalf of another person.
- Ensure that games consoles such as PlayStations, Xboxes and Nintendo consoles are kept in a room where you have easy access to them. If a console is in a child's bedroom then you will have absolutely no idea what it is that they are viewing or who they are interacting with.
- Do not click on anything that looks suspicious. Thieves have become exceptionally talented at making their thefts look professional. They are increasingly turning to the internet to steal from people. If you recieve an e-mail that looks like it is from your bank and asks you to input personal information, usernames or passwords, think carefully. The vast majority of these e-mails are what is known as a 'phishing scam'. The thieves are literally fishing for your personal details from a faraway location and will use those details to steal money from your accounts.
- DO NOT use the name username and password for every account you possess. If a thief steals one, they can do whatever they want with the other accounts with the same usernames and passwords.
What resources are available for me to learn more?
The following resources are available for parents:
Thinkuknow - Suitable for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.
Thinkuknow - Suitable for 8 to 10 year olds.
Thinkyouknow - For parents