Northampton mental health campaigner Joe Plumb shares top tips to keep children safe online during school holidays

Joe Plumb shares with Chronicle & Echo his top tips including open conversations and parental controls...

By Joe Plumb
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 10:23 am

As the summer holidays are upon us, parents across Northamptonshire and the whole of the United Kingdom are being urged to be aware of online exploitation and keep their children safe.

During the summer break from school, children and young people typically have more time to spend online, whether that be on social media sites, messaging platforms, online gaming, or watching videos.

But whilst it can seem like fun and games, the online world can be abused by those who want to exploit or cause harm to a child or young person.

Joe Plumb.

Joe’s top tips

-Talk to your child about staying safe online

Talking regularly with your child is the greatest tool to help keep them safe online. Talking regularly and making it part of daily conversation, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed. It also means when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you.

But it can also be easy to become overwhelmed with the different technology, the language that children use, the huge number of games and apps which are available and the potential risks.

Tips for your conversation:

- Reassure them

- Try not to treat it like an interview

- Ask who they're talking to

- Remind them about strangers

- Parental controls: Deciding what’s appropriate for children to see online

The online world gives us access to a huge amount of information and services, but the scale of information available also means that there is content that is inappropriate for children. What is or isn’t appropriate is up to individual parents and carers to decide, and could be based on things like age, ability, beliefs and family values.

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What are parental controls?

Parental controls allow you to block and filter upsetting or inappropriate content. They work across your WiFi, phone network, individual apps and devices.

Parental controls can help you to:

Plan what time of day your child can go online and how long for

Create content filters to block apps that may have inappropriate content

Anyone who is worried about a child or young person can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit their website for more information and support. If you think a child is in immediate danger, please call 999.

The NSPCC has also launched a new campaign, #WildWestWeb, which is calling on the government to introduce stronger regulation of social media companies to keep children safe online. For more information and to support the campaign, visit: nspcc.org.uk/wildwestweb.