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Online Safety

Many children use the internet for education, social and leisure purposes. Children are naturally trusting, curious and keen to explore the web. Keeping up with and supervising children’s online activity can be challenging, especially when they have their own computers, smartphones, tablets and game consoles or they are in other people’s homes. Understand the risks yourself and plan ahead before allowing children safe access to the internet.

The Risks

  • Inappropriate contact: from people who may wish to abuse, exploit or bully them
  • Inappropriate conduct: because of their own or others’ online behaviour, such as the personal information they make public. They may also become either targets or perpetrators of cyberbullying
  • Inappropriate content: Being able to access sexually explicit, racist, violent, extremist or other harmful material
  • Commercialism: Directing aggressive advertising and marketing material at children
  • Inappropriate access: Children gaining access to your own personal information stored on your computer
  • Misinformed use: Children enabling viruses or spyware by careless or misinformed use of your computer

Keeping Children Safe Online

There are several ways to safeguard children online. Undoubtedly the most effective way is to educate them from an early age about the risks they may encounter when online, what these risks are, how to spot them and what action to take so that they can have a safe online presence and build their resilience.

  • Set ground rules about the use of the internet, email and texts. They should learn to take responsibility for their own actions and develop their own judgement
  • Make children aware that people online may not be who they say they are
  • Children should keep personal details private
  • Ensure that they use a family email when filling in online forms
  • They must never meet someone they have only met online without a trusted adult present
  • Get your children to report concerns about conversations, messages and behaviours to you or another trusted adult.
  • Encourage them to share their internet experience with you and keep the lines of communication open with your child
  • Get children to report bullying immediately
  • Use parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package
  • Make sure your child is viewing only age appropriate materials
  • Make sure your child is aware of the law around sexting
  • Block pop-ups and spam emails
  • Always sit with younger children if they are online
  • Be aware for any unusual or secretive behaviour from your child when they are using the internet

Consider creating a Family Agreement , setting clear expectations and boundaries

For helpful advice on online safety, such as how safe certain sites are, how to set parental controls, game ratings explained, chat safety, app info and reviews and more, view our Online Safety section within our Resources page here


Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages. They can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones, laptops - any device that allows you to share media and messages.

Sexting can be seen as harmless, but creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child. A young person is breaking the law if they:

  • take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend
  • share an explicit image or video of a child, even if it’s shared between children of the same age
  • possess, download or store an explicit image or video of a child, even if the child gave their permission for it to be created.

Sexting may also be called:

  • trading nudes
  • dirties
  • pic for pic

Worried About A Child or Do You Need Help?

Children’s Reception Team
(IOW Social Care)

Phone Number: 0300 300 0117. Call any time day or night

Report your concerns about yourself, a child or friend to Children’s Reception Team (IOW Social Care)


If there is immediate danger call 999

Phone Number: 0808 800 5000 or if you are 18 or under call 0800 11 11

A leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening.

Phone Number: 0800 11 11

A free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, however you want to get in touch. We're here for you online, on the phone, anytime.