The NSPCC says...
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 and mean that when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you.
It can help to:
- Reassure them that you're interested in their life, offline and online. Recognise that they'll be using the internet to research homework as well talking to their friends.
- Ask your child to show you what they enjoy doing online or apps they’re using so you can understand them.
- Be positive but also open about anything you're worried about. You could say "I think this site's really good" or "I'm a little worried about things I've seen here."
- Ask them if they're worried about anything, and let them know they can come to you.
- Ask them about their friends online and how they know they are who they say they are.
- Listen for the reasons why your child wants to use apps or site you don't think are suitable, so you can talk about these together.
- Ask your child what they think's okay for children of different ages so they feel involved in the decision making.
While many parents and carers may be worried about their children spending more time online during lockdown, it’s important to understand what they’re doing online rather than setting limits on their total screen time.
For example, a child may spend hours searching the internet, while another child may spend less time each day talking to people they don’t know on a livestreaming or video app.
Asking them about the sites, apps and games they use regularly can be a great way to start a conversation and help you identify any risks in what your child’s doing online or who they may be talking to. We’ve got some great tips below to help get you started.
You can also find online safety tips and information about social networks, apps and games for parents over on Net Aware, in partnership with O2.