Keeping Children Safe Online

Keeping Children Safe Online

Keeping Children Safe Online

While it may seem like an often discussed topic, it is an important one – a joint campaign launch this week by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) stresses the dangers of live streaming for your child.

A UK wide operation in October saved 245 children from harm, with 192 people being detained in police custody around 30% of these cases involved the most serious offences including live streaming, blackmail and grooming.

In an online survey conducted by the NCA, 84% of parents said they were alert to the potential dangers their children face online and whilst the majority of parents speak to their children regularly about internet safety 30% of them had not spoken to them in the last month and 58% of them were unsure if they had adequate online security. Because online environments change so quickly this means online safety knowledge also changes and becomes out dated quickly Zoe Hilton, Head of Safeguarding at the National Crime Agency says “We know that as children’s online habits change, offenders are adapting with them. These individuals are learning how young people communicate online and are using this knowledge to contact, befriend and abuse them,”

It is easy to see why children like live streaming apps, they are immediate and fun, and many children now have favourite vloggers or Youtubers like DanTDM and Liza Koshy. Authorities believe that offenders are using live streaming available on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, or pure streaming sites like Periscope, Liveme and Lively due to the immediacy these platforms can offer them. They are targeting children with offers of rewards and also using dares and threats in order to manipulate them.

#WhoIsSam is a short annimation narrated by a fictional Sam to show parents how offenders attempt to build relationships with young people online.

Tips for Safety

Children of All Ages

  • Ensure privacy settings are in place on the sites and apps that they use
  • Have regular and open conversations about being safe online
  • Encourage them to speak up if something if worrying them or doesn’t feel right

A Little bit more age specific…

Ages 3-5

  • Technology use should be adult guided
  • Older siblings, parent and other care givers should help to build younger family members digital experiences so that social media use becomeds a sociable acitivity within the family
  • Content filtering

Ages 6-9

  • Support and guide them in the independent use of websites and apps in a way they can understand
  • Teach them the social norms of contact with other people whether they are known to them or not, this should include safety in a wider context to increase overall understanding.
  • Content Filtering will still work to some extent within this age group

Ages 10-12

  • Children often receive their first smartphones in this age group, show them how to use the age appropriate settings and safety features
  • Try and prevent children in this age groups setting up accounts on social media sites that are aimed at ages 13+
  • Encourage your children to learn digital competencies and skills, speak to your school about STEM activities involving digital skills that may be available in your area.

Ages 13-15

  • Understand the different ways in which children in this age group use digital technologies, at this age it is not just about screen time
  • Ensure they are using the correct privacy settings on their accounts
  • Consider age appropriate moderation in an open manner (don’t spy!)
  • Speak to them about safety and the digital environments they are using in a supportive manner and from the perspective of a young person

Ages 16-18

  • They should be encouraged to co-create training and information for younger age groups as putting their knowledge of digital safety into action will aid their own understanding.
  • Show them how to monitor their own digital footprint and set their own privacy online

ThinkUKnow website has new educational materials available that focus on live streaming and lots of further resources to help you keep your child safe. More great resources include NSPCC – Keeping Children Safe Online ; Childnet International – Parents and Carers and The UK safer internet centre – Young People

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