Online safety: child-friendly info

Security systems for blocking children's access to undesirable sites are all very well but, apart from the fact that a lot of children are more internet savvy than their parents, danger can also come from sites that you are perfectly happy for them to use so it's worth talking through some basic common sense guidelines with your children

Here is a set of guidelines from BBC’s Cbeebies' website which may be worth printing out and sticking near the home computer:

Don’t give outyour personal information
Keep your full name, address, mobile number, email address, school name and friends’ full names secret. Otherwise people can use this information to contact you.
Your passwords and usernames should be secret. If you have to give an online screen name or nick- name, never use your full name, and try not to use things that are easy to guess like your parents name or a pet’s name.
When you send a message from your mobile, your phone number automatically goes with it. So think carefully, especially before sending photos of yourself or friends.
Never meet up with an online friend
Never arrange to meet an online friend, no matter how well you think you know them. If you’re determined to meet them you should always tell a parent or teacher and make sure they go with you. The same rule applies to friends you meet over your mobile.
Don’t open junk mail
If they have your email address some websites will send you lots of junk emails and they might make you feel uncomfortable. This is called spamming.
Delete any emails from people or companies that you don’t know. If you open an email that says unpleasant things, you must tell a trusted adult straightaway - and don’t reply to it.
Accepting text messages, or opening links / files on your mobile from people you don’t know,
can get you into trou
ble. They may contain nasty pictures or messages, cost you a lot of money, or even change the settings on your phone.
Beware: people might not be who they say they are
Message boards and chat rooms are fun, but they can also be dangerous because you don’t know who you’re talking to. Remember: ‘Stranger Danger’ - you should use the same rules when you’re online.
Someone sending you a message on your mobile may not be who they say they are.
Always tell an adult if you feel uncomfortable or worried
Some online websites have an ‘alert button’ or an email address where you can tell them that you’re upset about something or someone.
Don’t forget you can always log-off and leave the website.
The same rule applies if you are upset or worried by anything when using your mobile.

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