Broadband Security is committed to making child protection on the Internet a priority and works with Childnet to support them in the continuing production of important education resources and in promoting key internet safety messages to children, young people, parents and carers.
We understand that keeping up to date with children’s use of technology is challenging for many adults. It can be difficult to supervise what young people are viewing and creating online, who they are chatting and texting to, and what they are downloading.
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With this in mind, Childnet has produced Know IT All for Parents (KIA), a multimedia interactive learning resource for parents to equip them in getting the most out of the Internet and keeping their children safe online. A range of KIA advisory videos can be found below.
Watch all KIA advisory videos
Watch an introduction to KIA video
Chat rooms and IM
Online chat rooms and Instant Messaging (IM) are attractive to children and young people as they are able to conduct instantaneous conversations with each other. These technologies also enable users a degree of anonymity whereby they are able to be whomever they want to be, giving young people a chance for experimenting and expressing themselves with less inhibition than perhaps they would offline.
There are potential risks in communicating with people you don’t know and unfortunately some children have been hurt when they met up with friends they had met online. Adults with a sexual interest in children have also used chat rooms and other interactive areas online to make contact with and befriend children, further more they have been able to persuade and manipulate children to meet up.
It is important for children and young people to remember to keep their personal information, including their email, home address and other identifying information, safe and not to share it. They must also remember that meeting other people whom they have only been in touch with online can be dangerous and those people may not be who they say they are.
Children should learn to use the tools that are provided to ‘block’ and ‘ignore’ certain users. These tools can be used to ensure that public messages from a particular person, who may be making the user feel uncomfortable, are not seen and that private messages from him / her are not received. .
While new communication technologies are exciting, they can be used negatively and sadly many children have been the targets of bullying via the Internet and mobile phone. While the targets may not be in physical danger, they may not be able to identify what is happening to them as a form of bullying and may feel very alone and misunderstood.
Understanding children and young people’s lives and activities online can help adults to respond to bullying situations appropriately, both where their children are the targets or the offenders.
Watch KIA cyber bullying advisory video
Six top tips for parents:
- Be aware, your child may as likely be a cyber bully as be a target of cyber bullying. Be alert to your child’s seeming upset after using the Internet or mobile phone.
- Get involved. Talk to your children and understand the ways they are using the Internet and mobile phone in their life.
- Learn how to use the safety tools on these communication services. Most services have ‘ block’ or ‘ignore’ buttons, privacy settings, and some even allow the recording of online messages.
- Remind your child not to reply to bullying messages, at least not in anger.
- Keep the evidence of offending emails, text, online postings or conversations.
- Report cyber bullying. You can report to the school, the service provider and if the cyber bullying is serious, you should consider contacting the police.
File sharing and P2P
Digital content is an important part of young people’s lives. They can get hold of music tracks, albums, films and games from many different sources and swap tracks between computers, mobile phones and portable players.
Many young people use Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing networks to exchange and swap their content. By downloading P2P software onto a computer, users are able to link into a network giving others the ability to access files on their computer and in turn giving them access to others’ files and shared information.
There are legal ways to use P2P networks and they can be a great way to distribute personal files such as photos and songs. However, copying or distributing copyrighted materials such as music, films, games and software without permission or payment is illegal. File-sharers utilising such networks can also be vulnerable to opening their computer to unwelcome content such as viruses and can also be at risk of revealing personal details and more files than intended.
Beyond advice, Broadland Security also offers active protection from malicious software (malware) that tries to steal personal details from your PC. This software and a wide range of security products can be found in other sections on this site.
Watch KIA file sharing and P2P advisory video
Social networking and User Generated Content (UGC) sites such as YouTube are very popular with children and young people. Young people love this new environment because they can have a powerful voice to express their identity and opinions creatively through videos, photos, music and instant chat features.
While these sites are fun and offer opportunities for creativity, children and young people may face potential risks on these sites including cyber bullying, inappropriate sexual contacts and the misuse of their personal information.
It is important for parents to familiarise themselves with social networking services to help support children in choosing an age-appropriate site and using it in a safe and constructive way.
Watch KIA social networking advisory video
Five top tips for parents:
- Get involved – become familiar with social networking sites. Ask your child about them, create an account, and find out what it’s about (it’s free). Some sites have information and advice for parents.
- Know how to use the safety tools on these services – how to ‘block’ or ‘ignore’, privacy settings, etc.
- Agree on responsible use – what is OK and not OK to post, always respect others, and always ask permission from those in photos before you post them.
- Agree on rules – make sure your children know the online safety tips, e.g. the rules about giving out personal information and meeting up with people they don’t know.
- Know where to report abuse and get help.