Talking to a child or young person about how to stay safe online may help reduce the chances of them viewing inappropriate content or being susceptible to grooming etc. By being proactive and learning about the risks of the digital world, you’re arming yourself with the tools you’ll need to have helpful, productive conversations with the child or young person in your care. Set family rules and boundaries about being online.
Build a relationship in which the child or young person in your care feels secure and confident to confide in you and openly discuss things that upset them.
Encourage conversations about online experiences, both good and bad. When it comes to talking about harmful content, avoid going into details about what sorts of content that could be but rather focus conversation on the action that can be taken, such as reporting, blocking and using safety settings. Talk about boundaries and come up with family rules for internet use together.
Ask the child or young person in your care the reasons they might not report abusive or inappropriate content online. Reassure them that simply reporting content won’t get them in trouble nor will talking to you about something they’ve seen online that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable. Make sure they know who their Trusted Adults are.
If your child does come to you to talk about something they’ve seen online, stay calm. Although you might be shocked or worried about something they tell you they have seen, or even angry at them for using a site or app you told them not to, having a strong emotional reaction may put them off coming to you again in the future.