Advice for parents

Protecting your child online

Once you are aware of your child's online behaviour and the potential risks they may face, there are a number of guidelines you can follow that will help protect your child online.

Engage in open discussion

Promote open and calm discussion about your child's experiences on the internet. If they fear they will be blamed or punished for their online mistakes, they are more likely to hide a problem or try and fix it themselves, potentially making it a lot worse.

If they feel comfortable coming to you with their experiences, you will be able to intervene before a problem escalates or they expose themselves to danger.

Talk about the risks

Children start using the internet from a very young age, so it is important you discuss potential dangers early and regularly. Although topics such as grooming and sexual content can be uncomfortable to approach, it is imperative children are equipped with the tools to protect themselves online.

Encourage your child to read our section for young people where we have a range of information explaining the potential consequences of their online behaviour, and advice on how they can protect themselves from threat. 

Have an agreement and establish appropriate behaviour

The behavioural boundaries and sanctions you set for your child must include their use of the internet. You may wish to consider the following:

  • Set time limits for your child's internet use and incorporate regular screen breaks;
  • Social media profiles are set to private, so only trusted contacts can gain access;
  • They only accept friend requests from, or communicate with people they know;
  • Personal contact details are not given out over the internet;
  • They never meet anyone in person from the internet without an accompanying adult;
  • They can come to you for help with any problem.

Parental controls

For primary school children, parental controls can be a very effective way of controlling the sites and content your children are able to access. Most computers and internet connected devices have parental controls available. Talk to your manufacturer or service provider to see what restrictions are available. 

BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have video guides to help get you started.

Older children and teens are likely to get around filters, or access the internet on personal smart phones or portable devices. It is for these reasons that parental controls cannot be solely relied upon, but seen as an addition to the educational guidelines outlined above. 

Related advice 

Addressing online risk 
What does my child do online?
What is sexting?
Advice for young people

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