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Police issue advice on keeping your kids safe online

Parents are urged to teach their children about online safety (2905462)
Parents are urged to teach their children about online safety (2905462)

Parents are being urged to keep their children safe online this summer by teaching them about the potential dangers of the internet and online gaming.

Leicestershire Police is supporting the national ‘Get Safe Online’ campaign, which has a specific focus every month.

July’s theme is ‘Being a Switched-On Parent’ – the aim of the campaign is to give information to parents, grandparents, carers and guardians about keeping children safe online

Internet parental controls are free of charge and can be activated at any time and ‘ISP filters’ block adult and illegal content – but these cannot be relied on solely.

Talking to children about safe and appropriate internet and gaming use can have more impact.

The age limits for social media and games are in place for a reason – they are set in accordance with a child’s cognitive development.

Twitter’s minimum user age is 13, as is Facebook / Instagram and Whatsapp’s is 16.

In order to monitor the information that is added to your children’s social media profiles parents are urged to set them up together which allows for conversations about content and what is appropriate to post and share online.

Parents can also teach their children about their social media footprints, about how their posts and images could be reviewed in five or ten years by a totally different audience such as a potential employer.

Another important message to highlight is how important it is to remember that people aren’t always who they say they are – especially virtually.

If your child receives a friend request that doesn’t have a profile picture, or they don’t recognise the person in the photo, then advise them not to accept the request unless they can reassure you that they do know them personally.

Consider having games consoles in communal family areas of the house to prevent children becoming isolated in an online world and limit the amount of time that is spent online in favour of group activities and off line games.

Leicestershire Police’s children’s and young persons officer, Katie Hudson, said: "I feel strongly that if we increase parents and carers knowledge and understanding around the online world; the things to look out for and by having regular open conversations with our children all encourage safer use of mobile phones, computers and tablets."

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