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Talking to your child about online safety

For kids today, there’s no real difference between online life and offline life. It all flows into one. That’s why it’s so important to teach them how to stay safe online. And just like any other part of your child’s development, talking to them is your greatest tool.

Talking openly and regularly will not only help your child understand the risks of the internet, it will also make them feel more comfortable coming to you if they’re worried about something. Try to make chatting about what they’re doing online a part of daily conversation. Just like you would ask your child about their day in school, you can ask them what they’re up to online, and take it from there.

In this video, Bethan Kelly from Barnardo's discusses how you can help keep your child safe online.

Tips for talking to your child about online safety

Talking to younger children about online safety

Children are accessing technology and the internet at a younger age than ever before. It’s never too early to talk to your child about what they do online and who to tell if they come across anything online that makes them feel worried, scared or sad. But where do you start? 

Jessie & Friends is a series of three animations that follow the adventures of Jessie, Tia and Mo as they begin to navigate the online world, watching videos, sharing pictures and playing games. Watching the films together is a great way to start talking to your child about online safety. There’s also a storybook for each episode, to help you and your child keep the conversation going. You can find out more and see the videos on the CEOP Education website

CEOP Education also have a website for 4-7 year olds featuring the Jessie & Friends characters in interactive badge games designed to help you and your child learn and explore online safety topics together. 

You can find more advice about keeping under 5s safer online on the CEOP website.

Talking to your child about online safety if they have additional support needs

Discussing online safety and all the issues that come along with it may seem even more daunting if your child has additional support needs. But it’s still very important to do so, and there are lots of resources out there to help. Childnet have created a great resource to help parents of children with additional support needs talk to them about online safety, set boundaries and deal with any problems that may arise. The resource covers healthy relationships, digital wellbeing, online pornography and nudes.

More information

For more tips about starting a conversation, the NSPCC has great advice.

You could also look at YoungScot’s advice with your child to help start the conversation.

The Ask the Awkward resource from CEOP Education helps you to prepare for regular conversations with your child or teen about online relationships and related topics.

This document from the Children’s Commissioner in England also has lots of helpful information, including tips from young people on what they think parents should know about online safety.

The Education Scotland website has information on how children learn about and use digital resources and how you can help protect your child when they’re online.

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Online Safety Online safety Older Child (8-10 years)

Last updated: 9 Jun, 2022