Many children are leaving themselves vulnerable online by failing to set their social media profiles to private, an online safety group has warned.
Internet Matters said only 47% of children set their profiles to private, meaning they are more vulnerable to being contacted by strangers online and cyberbullying outside of their circle of friends.
The figures, released by the group to mark Safer Internet Day, also show 18% of children have given out personal information online like their full name, home address or phone number.
And six per cent of children surveyed, aged between 7 and 17, admitted they had met up with someone they've met online in real life.
Tips on how parents can help to keep their kids safe online:
It’s important to start talking to your child about staying safe online at an early age. Keep conversations short but frequent.
Encourage your child to come and talk to you if they see anything that upsets them.
Explore Online Together
Ask them to show you what they like to do online, and show an interest.
Check if any of their apps have ‘geo-location’ enabled, sharing their location unintentionally.
Know who they are talking to
Children may not think of strangers online as strangers – they may think of them as online friends. Explain it’s easy for people to lie about who they are online. You can also become ‘friends’ with your child on social networks.
Set rules about when and for how long they can go online, the websites they can visit,and how to treat people online.
Show them how to report offensive comments or block people who upset them.
Check content is age-appropriate
Check the age ratings on the games they play or videos they watch, and make sure websites and social networks are suitable.
Use parental controls
Internet Service Providers provide controls to restrict content, and many electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones allow you to do the same.
Remind them about privacy
Make sure they are not sharing sensitive information online and tell them what to do if they are contacted by someone they don’t know.
Explain how you can use privacy settings to make sure only approved friends can see posts and images.
- For more information visit the Internet Matters website