How to support your child at home

How to support your child at home

Schools across the UK are now closed to most families. No doubt this is a worrying time for many parents and carers. Children will be spending more time online at home while they do their school work and socialise with friends.

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Online safety at home

While using technology can provide hours of education and important social opportunities for children and young people during this period, it can present risks. Here are 4 things you can do to help keep your child safe online during this unsettling time.

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1. Use the opportunity to chat with your child

With children and parents spending more time at home, now is a great time to continue to chat  with your child about how they are using online technology and what it means to them.

Ask them what they are doing online, and what they like and dislike about the apps and services they use. If you like, discuss some ‘ground rules’ like how much time they spend online doing different things and what games and apps are appropriate to use.

2. Explore Thinkuknow resources together

Thinkuknow is the online safety education programme from the National Crime Agency.

Every fortnight  Thinkuknow will release  a new set of simple online safety home activities to share with children and young people between the ages of 3 and 16. Use these to help you keep up a positive, supportive conversation about safety online in your home.

Take a look at our Parents and Carers Helpsheets for further online safety advice and links to useful resources and support services.   

This is a time like no other, and we want to hear about your families experiences in the coming weeks, and learn from you what we can be doing to support you. Follow us on social to contribute to surveys and polls so we can provide you with updates and advice that you would find most useful at this time. You’ll find us at Click CEOP on Facebook, and @CEOPUK on Twitter.

3. Remind children to report anything worrying, and how they can do this

It’s important that children and young people always know where to go if they come across something that worries them or makes them feel uncomfortable online.

This is especially important during this time as trusted sources of support such as teachers may not be as available. Children may not have as many opportunities to confidently talk to their friends, who we know are often their first point of contact when they are worried.

To help, you could:

  • Help them to identify a trusted adult that they can approach during this period, even if this means on the phone. Encourage them to speak to you or another adult immediately if they have any worries or concerns.
  • Remind them that they can always call Childline (or other helpline such as the one from The Mix) if they have any worries, big or small – whether it’s something that has happened online, stress about being stuck at home, arguments with siblings or anxiety about Coronavirus.
  • Make sure they know that they can always report to CEOP if they are worried about sexual abuse online. Young people can also report to CEOP if they are worried about a friend.  

The best thing you can do is make sure they would feel they could talk to you if they were ever worried - make sure they know that you would never blame them for anything that might happen online.

4. Set up or review your parental controls

Setting parental controls can be a quick and effective tool to help protect your children online, and should be installed on all devices that children use. For advice and support in setting these controls, please read our Thinkuknow article.

Want more information?

You can explore our Thinkuknow parents and carers website for more information and advice on supporting your child online. 

You can also visit the Parent Info website for information and advice for families in a digital world. 

For more information on popular apps and games children use, please visit NSPCC and O2’s Net Aware Guide.