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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

The Parents' Guide to Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day takes place each year promoting internet safety and digital literacy, especially for children and young people. It's been celebrated since 2004 and takes place on the second Tuesday in February - this year it's on 6 February. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees thousands of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people: "Together for a better internet".

This year's theme is Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online’. Parents play a pivotal role in teaching and influencing their children how to use the internet safely and responsibly, so this article outlines how you can help.

The internet is a fabulous resource providing many opportunities for learning; however, there are risks too. Safer Internet Day helps to reinforce key messages about the importance of internet safety and responsible online behaviour. It's a chance for people to discuss emerging online issues, such as cyberbullying, internet fraud, inappropriate content and online privacy. Schools are encouraged to take part to help promote the safer use of digital technologies with activities including workshops, events, online discussions, and campaigns.

As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the risks that your child may face when using the internet. Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to talk to your teen about the importance of staying safe online, and to provide them with tools and resources that will help them do so.

Here are some tips for helping to keep your child safe online:

1. Educate Yourself:

Stay up-to-date on the latest online trends and technologies, so that you can better understand the risks your teen may face. Take time to explore internet safety tools and resources with your child, such as parental control settings and privacy settings. Why not start with checking recommendations by the UK Safer Internet Centre?

2. Nurture Open Communication:

Establishing a trusting relationship with your teen is essential for maintaining a healthy dialogue about their online activities. Make sure they feel comfortable talking to you about what they’re doing online and their experiences. This may involve more listening than telling them what to do (and what not to do!) because if they feel you are going to be critical when they discuss something with you, they might stop communicating. Keep an eye on issues raised in films, dramas and soaps they enjoy. This can provide a more relaxed, non-confrontational way of discussing sensitive topics and finding out what your teen thinks.

3. Set Clear Rules and Boundaries:

Set limits and rules for online activities, such as what sites they can visit, who they can talk to, and how much time they can spend online. Make sure your teen understands the rules and consequences for breaking them. Obviously, this is age sensitive, so start early to get them into good online habits when you are still able to influence their online activity. As they get older, you can still offer advice but it gets more difficult to enforce rules.

4. Monitor Their Activity:

Check in on your teen’s online activity from time to time. Pay attention to what websites or apps they are using, and the content they are viewing or sharing. If they're keen to hide their activity from you, there's a good chance they're doing something they know you wouldn't like! Find out independently about the apps and games they're using most - so you understand what they're about.

5. Teach Good Digital Hygiene:

Help your teen understand the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation and the reality that their digital activity may remain permanently accessible - even if they've deleted texts/photos/apps. Check they understand the potential risks of sharing too much personal information.

6.Encourage Responsible Use of Social Media:

Talk to your teen about the potential risks of using social media, such as cyberbullying, online predators, identity theft, sexting, and scams.

7. Be a role model

Encourage your teen to be a responsible digital citizen by setting a good example yourself – don’t post things online that you wouldn't want them to do; don't prioritize online activity over people in the room and be mindful why you might not want to share with them what you're doing online.

As parents, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and dangers teens may face while using the internet, and to take steps to protect them. That's not to suggest being online is a bad thing but, like driving a car, it's important to understand the risks as well as the rewards. Help ensure that your teen has a safe and positive experience online so that they can enjoy the wonderful wealth of experience online life can provide.


Find out what more you can do at home to help your teen create lifelong healthy habits and help them study in: The Parents' Guide to Homelife and study - GCSEs and The Parents' Guide to Homelife and study - sixth form

We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius -


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