O2’s chief executive, Ronan Dunne, explains how parents can protect their children as they surf the Internet
February 9 marks Safer Internet Day. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, today sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
This is something O2 has been particularly keen to do. The telecoms service provider and the NSPCC launched a partnership in 2015 aimed at equipping parents with the latest practical and technical advice on keeping their children safe online.
As part of this partnership, O2 and the NSPCC are issuing top tips for parents advising them of ways to keep their children safe online.
2. Talk to your child and let them know that you’re looking out for them. Let them know they should tell you if anything upsets them online, and that you won’t overreact.
3. Know who your child’s friends are and who they’re mixing with online, just as you would offline. Insist on being their friend on any social network of which they are a member.
4. Explore sites and apps together. This will give you a better understanding of what your child is doing, and how possible problems might arise.
5. If anything happens that causes you concern, take screenshots of any messages before you delete them. That way, you’ll be able to include these if you need to report inappropriate behaviour to your child’s school or to the police.
6. Explain what they should and shouldn’t share online. Make sure they understand why they should never share details such as their name, address or contact information.
7. Talk to your child about passwords. Explain why they must never share their passwords and login details with anyone, not even their school friends.
8. Make use of your phone provider’s parental controls, and use reputable security software to set up parental and privacy controls on your children’s devices. These allow you to restrict messaging to specific contacts, blacklist others, or automatically block certain private details from being shared.
9. Use the NSPCC’s Share Aware website to educate your kids on when it’s ok to share photos and videos, and when it isn’t: www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe
Although progress has been made in making sure young people receive practical online safety advice, more can and must be done to help parents have a role and understanding of their children’s online life.
Our partnership with the NSPCC gives parents the tools to confidently have regular quality conversations with their children about their digital life. We believe that through this partnership, parents will be able to help their children get the best out of the internet and perhaps more importantly have somewhere to turn when faced with difficult online safety issues, such as bullying.