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  1. ITV Report

Keep your children safe while online: top tips

Children are being targeted online Photo: PA

The UK Safer Internet Centre has created a range of resources including quizzes, games and films to help children learn about internet safety.

They have created the following "SMART" advice for children and young people using the internet.

Safe: Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information when you’re chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.

Meet: Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.

Accepting: Accepting emails, messages, or opening images or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems - they may contain viruses or nasty messages.

Reliable: Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information by looking at other websites, in books, or with someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family.

Tell: Tell a parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone, or something, makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.

Online grooming may be hard for parents and carers to detect as it often happens at home and perpetrators may warn children not to talk to anyone about it.

Internet Matters suggest the following warning signs could suggest that a child is being groomed online:

  • Wanting to spend more and more time on the internet
  • Being secretive about who they are talking to online and what sites they visit
  • Switching screens when you come near the computer
  • Possessing items – electronic devices or phones – you haven’t given them
  • Using sexual language you wouldn’t expect them to know
  • Becoming emotionally volatile

Children and young people and their parents can easily report any online abuse or concerns to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command.

If you are concerned that your child is in immediate danger, police advise you to call 999 immediately.

For advice or if your child is not ready to report it, they can get advice from ChildLine 24 hours a day on 0800 1111.