CHILDLINE ADVICE: Talk to children about staying safe online during half-term
Half-term for many children and young people in the North East will be a week which includes more online gaming, YouTube videos and social media use than an ordinary week during school time.
While the internet is a great way for children and young people to stay in touch with their friends and to keep them entertained over half term, it can also bring risks.
Children spending more time online face increased risk of discovering, however inadvertently, inappropriate and explicit content, and our Childline counsellors have also spoken to many children who have found the ever-growing influence of social media leads them to compare themselves negatively to others.
All of these factors can have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing, so this half-term we at Childline recommend parents and carers talk to children about how to stay safe online. Discuss the apps, games and sites they’re using, explore their security features together, and talk about what they should do if they see anything that upsets them.
It can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they’re doing online or who they might be speaking to. But talking regularly, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed so when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to speak to you.
Further advice on how to have these types of conversations with your children is available at www.nspcc.org.uk and at www.Net-Aware.org.uk, and the NSPCC Helpline is also available at any time to discuss any of your questions or concerns about online safety.
Children can always visit www.Childline.org.uk to talk about their own online concerns if they are not comfortable speaking to parents or carers. Our website has moderated message boards so they can speak to children their own age, and our counsellors are available around the clock.
It may feel daunting to talk about online safety, especially when your children are using the internet differently to you, but we hope that by providing advice, tools and knowledge, you can enjoy half-term, confident your children are safer online.