New technology offers so much to help with lots of everyday tasks - from ordering shopping on-line to keeping up with old friends. But it can also pose dangers to us all - particularly children.
Decide where your child can and can't go on the Internet. It's a good idea to check out some sites for kids. Pay particular interest to sites that collect personal information. If you don't agree with the privacy statement of a particular site or if you don't want to give away any of your child's personal information, do a little searching and you may find a similar site that doesn't request any information at all. There is a variety of commercially available software which enables you to block inappropriate content before it gets to you.
Consider creating different user accounts to use for different activities eg ordering on-line shopping or using mail to keep in touch with friends to increase your privacy and security. With some software you can give yourself an administrator account with full control over the computer, and give your children limited user accounts, with restricted controls. This will mean that your children cannot change settings or install new hardware or software, including most games, media players, and chat programs. You can also help protect your child through adjusting the security settings in your Web browser. Internet Explorer helps you control your security and privacy preferences by allowing you to assign security levels to web sites.
It may not always be possible to be present while your children are surfing the Web. But it is possible to check later to see where your children have spent their time online by using the history function in Internet Explorer. With some parental controls software you can receive a weekly e-mail report that details your child's recent online activity.
Remind children not to talk to strangers online
Real-time chats and instant messaging can be a great way for children to discuss their interests and build friendships. But it can also put children at risk of becoming a victim. To help keep your children safe, make sure that they know they have to check with you before entering a chat room and teach them to take precautions such as
- using only a first name or nickname to identify themselves
- never disclosing their password, phone number or address
- never sending photographs of themselves
- never agreeing to meet someone they met online without supervision
- never open attachments to emails unless they come from someone that you already know and trust
- never respond to messages that contain information or questions that make them feel uncomfortable. Encourage them to tell you if they do receive such messages or they see pictures of a sexual nature
What is e-Bullying?
e-Bullying can occur with the internet, mobile phones or other technologies that allow two or more people to communicate. It can take the form of abusive text messages, threats or teasing on an internet forum to humiliate and hurt people:
· E mail - Sending threatening or upsetting emails to a one person or a group of people
· Chat rooms and instant messenger - Using instant messenger programs or chat room messages to pick on and ridicule a person or even a group of people
· Social networking sites - Setting up profiles on social networking sites to make fun of someone
· Mobile phones - Sending abusive text or video messages, or making 'prank calls' to another person's mobile phone. Even sending on such a message is a form of bullying
· Interactive gaming – Abusing people using voice or text chat whilst playing video games. Cyber bullies can also lock players out of a particular game, spread false rumours, hack into an account or use threatening behaviour.
· Sending viruses - or programs to another person that can destroy or cause problems for their computer or delete personal information from their hard drive.
This site provides useful information on internet safety, popular websites, mobiles, gaming and new technology. There is also a handy Report Abuse function so you can let people know if you come across something inappropriate. Your problem will be seen by a police officer and they will contact you to let you know what action will be taken.
Kid Smart features useful and interesting websites, a poster gallery featuring stay-safe messages, games, competitions and quizzes.