Online safety and safeguarding during COVID-19

With many government departments and organisations releasing new guidance and resources to support you in safeguarding children online and offline during COVID-19, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

To help make life a little bit easier, we have signposted  key guidance below, as well as organisations to support you.

Safeguarding in education settings: government guidance 

The following is correct as of 16 April 2020.

Information for education settings on provision during COVID-19, including safeguarding guidance, can be found in the links below:

England: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings

Wales: https://gov.wales/education-coronavirus.

Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

Northern Ireland: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/latest-department-education-updates-relation-covid-19-coronavirus 

Schools and colleges should continue to follow the relevant safeguarding guidance for each nation.

Reporting online safeguarding concerns

You should continue to follow your organisation’s child protection/safeguarding policy when reporting any safeguarding concerns. 

Grooming, online sexual abuse and exploitation

If you are worried that a child is being groomed or sexually abused online, you should report this to your local police. If a child is in immediate danger, please call 999. Parents should also report to the police.

Children can continue to report to CEOP via our safety centre where they will be supported by a specialist child protection worker at CEOP. if they feel can’t report, or do not have, a trusted adult. 

You can provide children with direct access to our safety centre by embedding our ClickCEOP reporting button in your organisational website. Email us at ceopeducation@nca.gov.uk with your website’s URL to gain access to guidance on how to embed it.

Reporting indecent images

Adults can continue to report indecent images of children to the Internet Watch Foundation. The IWF is running at a reduced capacity which may lead to a delay in responding to reports. 

Children can report if their nude images have been shared on the internet through NSPCC’s Report Remove tool

Fraud and cybercrime

Fraud and cybercrime can still be reported through Action Fraud. Action Fraud’s contact centre is running a reduced service. In an emergency, you should always call 999.

Terrorist or violent extremist content

Terrorist or violent extremist content can still be reported via Action Counters Terrorism’s (ACT’s) reporting tool

Online safety support for professionals

Thinkuknow

You can continue to find guidance and resources to help you keep children safe online on the Thinkuknow website.

If you are sharing work with parents and carers to deliver to their child at home, download our new #OnlineSafetyAtHome activity packs. These packs, released once a fortnight, contain simple 15-minute activities parents and carers can do at home with their child using our Thinkuknow resources.

You can help us to develop our support package for you, parents and carers and their children by sharing your experiences in our survey. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. 

NSPCC

NSPCC Learning has published guidance on how best to support and protect children and young people. You can also find information on remote teaching and links to online safety resources.

Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH)

You can access advice on any issues related to online safety by contacting the POSH helpline, run by South West Grid for Learning. They have also published advice on remote learning and keeping safe at home.

Online safety support for parents, carers and their children

Thinkuknow

We’re continuing to update our parents and carers website with advice on keeping children safe online while they are at home. Parents can also access our #OnlineSafetyAtHome activity packs and downloadable helpsheets. 

They can also help us to develop our support package by sharing their experiences in our parents and carers survey

Children can continue to access information and advice through our 4-7s, 8-10s, 11-13s and 14+ websites.

Parent Info

For support with key issues that families face during lockdown and social distance, parents and carers can access advice on Parent Info, a free newsfeed service run by NCA-CEOP and Parent Zone. 

You can embed this newsfeed in your organisation’s website for free by registering here.

NSPCC

NSPCC has published advice and support for parents and carers on COVID-19, including tips on talking to children worried about coronavirus, working from home and online safety. Families can access guides to social media platforms, apps and games on the Net Aware website, run by O2 and NSPCC.

Child-friendly advice on coronavirus and staying safe is available on the Childline website. Children can still contact Childline counsellors online or by phone, however this service is only available from 9am – midnight.

The Mix 

The Mix provides a free helpline for under-25s enabling them to seek support with any issues that are worrying them, including sex and relationships and staying safe online.