Talking to your child about online safety

Family Health

Children and young people’s lives have changed dramatically because of the coronavirus. With social distancing measures and most schools closing, children will be spending more time at home and online.And while the internet is a great way for children and young people to stay in touch with their friends and keep busy during lockdown, it can also bring risks. Now more than ever it’s important to talk to your child about staying safe online and about the apps and sites they’re using. We’ve got advice to help. 

Screen Time

While many parents and carers may be worried about their children spending more time online during lockdown, it’s important to understand what they’re doing online rather than setting limits on their total screen time.For example, a child may spend hours searching the internet, while another child may spend less time each day talking to people they don’t know on a livestreaming or video app.

Asking them about the sites, apps and games they use regularly can be a great way to start a conversation and help you identify any risks in what your child’s doing online or who they may be talking to. We’ve got some great tips below to help get you started.You can also find online safety tips and information about social networks, apps and games for parents over on Net Aware, in partnership with O2.

Social Media Safety

Children are also likely to be spending more time on social media during coronavirus lockdown. While social media can be a good way for children and teenagers to stay in touch with friends they’re unable to see in person, it can also be unsafe. Children using social media may also be at greater risk of online abuse or online bullying during coronavirus lockdown.A recent NSPCC survey shows that children turning to social media because they’re feeling lonely or have poor mental health are at higher risk of being groomed online.

Talking to your child about what they’re doing or sharing online can help you to understand any risks and keep them safe. Net Aware also has advice on popular apps, games and social media sites, including TikTokSnapchat and Facebook.

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