The internet is part of life. It opens up many educational and social opportunities, giving access to a world of information and experiences. Whether on a computer at school or at home, a games console or mobile phone, children are accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
Children have a different language that we as parents need to learn and understand. If you and your child understand the risks you can get the most from the internet and stay safe. Chatrooms can be used by paedophiles to meet children and often the child thinks they are the same age. They can also ‘groom’ children to become victims, either psychologically on the internet itself, or by arranging to actually meet with them, gain their trust and abuse them. Make sure your child does not give away any personal details. The police and children’s services have specialist teams trained to counter these forms of exploitation and offer support to children and parents.
The minimum age to open a Facebook account is 13 but it is easy to fib about your age. It is estimated that 30% of children between 8 and 13 have Facebook profiles (Source: BBC News Technology). There are online social networking clubs aimed at children between 6 and 14. You need to know what your child is looking at.
Make sure grandparents and other family members are aware of the dangers.