Preventing bullying, protecting children

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Cyber bullying & online safety

Stories about cyber bullying, online safety, or more specifically online danger, are hard to avoid.

The internet and new communications technology, like all environments and media, can be used and abused. Thankfully the positive aspects far outweigh the negative.

Simple steps for online safety

However you can take a few simple steps to help make your childs' online experience as safe as possible and protect them from cyber bullying.

  • Encourage them to tell you if they come across any sites that could cause offence or pose some kind of danger.
  • If you do catch them on a site that you think is unsuitable, don't assume that they made the choice to go there. It's not that hard for a determined webmaster to disguise a website to catch innocent visitors.
  • If you feel unsure about the technology, why not try an IT or internet evening course somewhere? Have a look at LearnDirect or the online BBC Webwise site.
  • Look in the help menu of your browser for security options - you can, to a certain extent, restrict what sites and downloads your children can access.
  • Report incidents of abusive emails and inappropriate sites to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Each ISP should have an Acceptable Usage Policy outlining their responsibilities to customers, as well as terms and conditions for people holding accounts with them.

Resources

There are a number of useful websites that will give you more specific and detailed advice - see our Useful Links section for more.

Kidscape has a page for young people on how to stay safe online, which includes advice on reporting mobile phone or text/video messaging harassment.