Stay safe online

During the pandemic, many children and young people have spent more time online than usual.

Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers have been essential tools for keeping Scotland’s children educated and entertained, especially during lockdown. Sadly, more time online has increased the risk of online exploitation and abuse, making it more important than ever that parents and carers learn how to protect their children from internet-savvy online abusers.

The key to helping keep your kids safe is to be curious. Be calm, friendly and chatty about what your children are doing online – ask them lots of questions about what they look at online and who they are talking to. And don’t just ask them just once, make it a habit to have a regular check in with them about their online lives.

Don’t be afraid to be curious

Just as you would ask your children about where they’re going when they go out, ask them about where they go online and who their online friends are. And don’t forget to start asking questions as soon as your kids start using devices – even very young children can be targeted by online abusers.

Take the time to learn about what platforms, apps, sites and chatrooms they are visiting, ask them to show you how they work. Find out who their online friends are, and encourage them to be careful about what information they share with someone they have never actually met. Use some of the existing tools and resources listed below to get yourself up to speed with online safety and help protect your children from harm.

If you are worried that your child or a child you know is or has been a victim of online abuse or exploitation, take action immediately. It’s always better to say something than do nothing.

Call Police Scotland on 101 if you think your child has experienced online abuse, or if a child is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999.

You can also make a report to CEOP, the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection team, by clicking the Report Abuse button.

FIND OUT MORE

There are lots of ways you can find out more about how to help keep your children safe from online abuse, exploitation and inappropriate content.

Internet Matters
A website offering age-specific information about how to keep children and young people safe from online harm and how to set up their devices safely.

 

NSPCC
This NSPCC webpage outlines how to talk to your children about online safety. The page also provides details about how to book a free place on a parents and carers webinar. The webinars explain the pros and cons of your children being online and also provide information about practical things you can do to keep your family safe online.

 

Net Aware
Net Aware provide loads of useful information, including descriptions of many popular apps and how to set parental controls.

 

Thinkuknow
A website featuring films, learning activity and information to help young people keep themselves safe from sexual abuse and exploitation.

 

UK Safer Internet Centre
Online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.