Safer Internet Day – protecting children online

Children can be exposed to a variety of risks on the internet through the use of a variety of digital devices, ranging from computers, smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and game consoles.

The types of risks vary, from age-inappropriate content to cyberbullying, or worse. Parents also run the risk of their children racking up hidden costs when using apps, games and websites. This can happen, for example, when they give the relevant login or account details to their children, or leave these saved on their digital devices for their children to access.

Research that we commissioned ahead of Safer Internet Day has highlighted some of the behaviour that could put children at risk online. For example, 41% of parents with a child aged between 8 and 18 years old don’t use parental controls on devices that their child can access. Meanwhile, 24% of children have access to the internet in their bedroom – and this may not necessarily be under adult supervision.

How parents can protect their children online

Although children and young adults are vulnerable to the hazards of internet use, it is possible for parents to take steps to protect them, by securing their own password and privacy settings as well as encouraging their children to secure theirs. These include:

Putting privacy controls in place

  • Parents can check that their digital devices have privacy settings and parental controls turned on
  • Parents can also download and install online security software to help protect their digital devices from online attacks
  • Devices like phones, laptops and other devices should be password-protected

Read more articles on how to protect your identity online here.

Asking for help

  • Parents can ask their children to report any activity on the internet that makes them uncomfortable

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day is celebrated worldwide in February each year.  It sees organisations joining in to help promote safe use of digital technology for children and young people.


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