Experts’ top tips for internet safety

If you could give parents one piece of advice to keep children safe online, what would it be? Megan Rose asked the experts

“Talk to your child about the risks of sexting and how to keep safe. If sexting goes wrong and a sexual image is shared, it can be devastating for the child and support from parents is crucial. Childline provides confidential advice for children on the phone and online 24/7, and can even help get a sexual image removed from the internet.”

John Cameron OBE, Head of helplines, Childline, the free and confidential advice service for children www.childline.org.uk

Telephone: 0800 1111; Parent helpline: 0808 800 5000

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“Explore with your child how they can report to their favourite site/app. It can be reassuring for both of you, and it’s an opportunity to reiterate to your child that they can come to you if something online has made them feel worried or upset.”

Marie Smith, Head of Education, CEOP, the child protection branch of the National Crime Agency www.thinkuknow.co.uk

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“There are no set guidelines for how much screen time is appropriate for children, but there needs to be a balance. Don’t be afraid to have rules, like ‘no tablets at the dinner table’. For younger children, use tech to help; the Forest app lets you grow a beautiful forest the longer you leave your device alone. And lead by example – make time to be a gadget-free family.”

Carolyn Bunting, CEO, Internet Matters, an independent, not-for-profit e-safety organisation www.internetmatters.org

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“Be curious and ask your children to talk about, or better still, show you, the services they are using and why they love them. Starting the conversation is key, both to help ensure that children know how to stay safe and respect others online, but also so they turn to you if someone or something online is making them feel uncomfortable.”

Will Gardner, CEO, Childnet International, and a Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre www.childnet.com

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