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Guest Column: Be extra vigilant to keep children safe when they are online

Deborah Somerset-Malia
Deborah Somerset-Malia

Many of us use the internet regularly and recognise how positive and educational it can be.

However, there is also a dark side to the internet and there are individuals online who wish to cause harm to children.

As a parent, you have to support your child to ensure they stay safe online.

Do not post any personal information online, like your address or mobile number, and keep privacy settings as high as possible.

Do not meet up with people you have had online contact with – they may not be in real life who they are online.

Think very carefully before posting any pictures or videos of yourself online. Other people can download them and may use them for things you would not like.

If you see something online that makes you feel worried, unsafe or uncomfortable, close things down, turn off the computer if you need to and tell an adult that you trust as soon as you can.

Parents can also find help and support around online issues from a number of sources.

These include Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Safer Internet Centre, Childnet and NSPCC/02, Internet Matters and the UK Centre for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).

It is important, as parents, that we have a good idea of what our children are accessing online and who they are having contact with.

Have a rule where no mobiles or devices are allowed in rooms overnight.

If there is a family computer, have it downstairs so you can discreetly monitor what your child is doing.

Limit the time they have access to their devices.

Be interested in what they are doing and who they are having contact with.

Finally, let them know that if they do make a mistake, you can help them.