Keeping children safe online

The internet can be a place for children and young people to learn, spend time with friends, and have fun. It’s an everyday part of childhood.

In fact, there are over one billion children and young people on the internet. Each day, another 170,000 children go online for the first time.

But the internet wasn’t invented with children in mind and there are some key ways to keep them safe online.

a teenager types on a laptop which they have balanced on a stripey cushion

5 tips to keep children safe online

  • Prioritise safety. Teach children not to give out personal information. This includes their name, address, and telephone number. Other details about their life can give away more information than they might think. Children should avoid posting which school they go to or uploading pictures of them in their uniform.
  • Set parental controls. Work together with your child to agree a list of websites they can visit. Remember to check the minimum age limit on services like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. Most social media channels have an age limit of 13. You can find guidance for the most popular websites and apps on Internet Matters.
  • Discuss their activity. Take an interest in their online world. Talk to them about their favourite websites, videos, and their online friends. This will keep communication open between you and your child.
  • Set boundaries. Establish time limits for activities such as using the internet and gaming. Make sure to set aside time for “unplugged” family activities.
  • Be open. Let them know that they can tell you about anything that happens on the internet. Try to listen without judgement or anger. With older children, explain your worries so they can see the reasoning behind any rules you set.
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