Teaching your children how to use the internet safely is just as important as teaching them how to cross the road using the Green Cross rules.
So when your youngsters are online, whether alone or with you by their side, it’s also as crucial to explain to them why they should stick to the Click Clever Click Safe code.
Launched in 2010 for Safer Internet Day, the code features three simple and memorable actions to remember.
ZIP IT means keeping their personal stuff private and thinking about what they say or do online.
BLOCK IT reminds them to block people who send them nasty messages and not to open any links and attachments they receive by email or through social networks if they’re not 100 per cent sure they’re safe.
FLAG IT is the final piece of advice. It stands for flagging up to a parent, guardian, teacher or someone in authority anything that upsets them while they are online or if someone asks them to meet up in the real world.
Following these three simple statements will not only keep your child safe, it will also help ensure your computer is safe from viruses, spam and malware that could steal your identity, money from your bank account or delete precious photos and videos stored on your hard drive.
Three quarters of young people say they couldn’t live without the internet with a quarter admitting it would be the first place they turn for advice on alcohol, drugs, sex, finance and health.
Those findings by YouthNet prove just how the web is an increasing daily part of a young person’s life.
But with nearly a fifth of those youngsters who have accessed the internet coming across something harmful or inappropriate (Staying Safe Survey, 2009) the need for a simple set of actions is obvious.
That’s where Click Clever Click Safe comes in.
It is designed for both parents and children with useful advice for each. Here are some of the key bits to remember.
Advice for adults
- People may not be who they say they are online so ensure children realise that adults do pretend to be children in chatrooms and on instant messaging systems.
- Set privacy controls to restrict access by strangers to your child’s social network account. Remember, they should not be on Facebook unless they are over 13.
- Be aware that even the smallest piece of personal information placed online could be used to identify them.
- Use filters, parental controls and security settings on mobile phones and games consoles as well as on your computer.
- Set preferences on search engines to prevent them looking for inappropriate material. This can block the use of certain keywords.
- Sit with your child and make sure they know how to delete emails, or remove people from instant messengers.
- Encourage your children to talk to a trusted adult if they don’t feel they want to discuss a problem encountered online with you.
- Remind them never to meet anyone in the offline world that they have met online without you going with them.
- Make them aware of the ClickCEOP buttons placed on the likes of Facebook and Windows Live Messenger. This allows them to report inappropriate sexual behavior towards them directly to the authorities.
Advice for children
- Never tell people online what school you go to, your home address or place stuff like your email details or mobile phone number on social network profiles.
- Use a nickname in chatrooms and for instant messaging instead of your real name.
- Don’t give out your passwords, even to friends, to prevent yourself becoming a victim of cyber bullying.
- Always delete emails from people you don’t know and never open attachments or click on links unless you can be 100 per cent sure what they are. They could hide a virus.
- Learn how to block and delete anyone you come into contact with who makes you feel scared, worried, uncomfortable or just doesn’t seem right.
- If you don’t feel you can talk to your parents about something encountered online, then speak to a teacher, adult relative or a friend’s parent. Or call free to Childline on 0800 1111.
- Never meet anyone you only know in the online world. Just because they say they are a child or teenager, it doesn’t mean they are.
- Don’t be afraid to report someone who upsets you online. See www.ceop.police.uk/ for more advice.
Find out more about Click Clever, Click Safe.