Safe internet surfing - a guide for parents, carers and practitioners
Steps to safe surfing
As a parent, it's natural to worry about what your child does on social media and the amount of time they spend doing it
Things to consider...
- Set some ground rules. This is especially important when your child first starts using social media. It is a good idea to discuss with your child what is and what is not allowed. For example, you may allow them to have an Instagram account but only if the account is private and your child only accepts friends they know in real life.
- Know how to use the safety tools and privacy settings. Talk to your child about how to find blocking and reporting tools and privacy settings on the apps that they are using . You should also make sure your child knows how - and how not - to treat other people online. Something that seems like a harmless joke to one group of friends could end up really hurting someone else.
- Report any concerning contact. Make sure that your child knows that it is important to make you aware of any upsetting or inappropriate contact that is made with them online. Similarly, if they witness anything concerning, they should make you aware of it. Report any concerns you might have regarding inappropriate contact or approaches made to your child.
- Bullying behaviour . Some people do use social media specifically to bully others. Fortunately, the majority of major social media platforms come with tools for blocking other users and reporting abuse
- Keep the conversation going and stay involved. Talk to your child about the apps they are using and their general online activity, in the same way that you would monitor their offline world.
The Internet Watch Foundation
Web surfers who see any illegal images on the internet can report this to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). This Foundation works in partnership with the police, both Scottish and UK Governments and the internet industry to minimise the availability of illegal content on-line. This can include child abuse images, criminally obscene images and criminally racist content. If you are exposed to images or content which you think fits into any of these categories do not ignore it - report it!
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
The Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre (CEOP) works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify threats to children and young people with the aim of eradicating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
CEOP is part of the UK policing community and identifies and tracks online offenders, either directly or in partnership with local and international police forces.
If you are concerned about any inappropriate contact or communication with a child or young person, a report can be made to CEOP via their online facility https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/. If you are worried that a child or young person might be at immediate risk, please contact Police Scotland.