Online safety advice for parents

Keeping children and young people safe online can be a real challenge at times, technology moves at such a fast pace and is now a growing safeguarding concern. The good news is there's lots of support out there to keep young people safe online.

Online safety guidance 

  • Talk to your child about the websites, games and apps that they use. By understanding and involving yourself in their internet use, you are helping them keep safe.
  • Be positive about the internet and remember that it is a fantastic learning and communication tool.
  • Try not to overreact to minor issues. Children often worry that you may take away their internet access, they may become secretive and hide problems from you.
  • Keep PCs, laptops and games consoles out of bedrooms wherever possible. Having the laptop in a family room makes it easier for you to monitor your child's internet use, whilst still giving them privacy. We need to be asking children regularly, "Where are they going online and how are they using it?" Please don't assume all children use the internet the same way. 
  • Set clear and consistent ground rules and expectations for your child's online behaviour. If they understand what is and is not acceptable, it may help them with any problems in the future.

For more advice on keeping safe whilst using social media and playing online games, view or download a copy of our guidance document below:

A family agreement is a great way to start a conversation with your whole family about how you all use the internet and discuss together how to behave in a positive way when online at home, at school or at a friend’s house. If young people are at the heart of setting the rules they are more likely to buy into them.

Another good idea is to get young people to set the consequences. To start talking about online safety you can download the family agreement.

If you need further support or advice around online safety we recommend The Childnet International website.

  • Parent info - provides up-to-date, expert information for parents on a range of concerns.
  • Thinkuknow an award-winning on and offline safety programme with resources for parents.
  • Internet Matters - advice and support for parents to keep their children safe online.

LGBTQ information for parents

As a parent, you understandably have questions if you think your child might be gay, lesbian, bi and/or trans. We've put together some advice to support parents. 

One thing you can do is give them the information they need to make good decisions. LGBTQ young people often lack access to information about their rights, where to access support, sex and staying safe.

Even if you feel like you can't talk about it personally, try to point them in the direction of the information they need. If you are struggling to get information or resources visit Stonewalls website.

One of the hardest things for LGBTQ people to face is rejection from their friends and family. New laws have made our country fairer and more equal.

Same-sex couples can now get married and have children, and there is legislation to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace. There are more LGBTQ role models in the arts, politics and sport, and those who have a problem with LGBTQ people are on the decline.

There are some great support groups in Northamptonshire that young people can access:

The Lowdown in Northampton runs youth groups and events for young people between the ages of 13 to 25.

Q Space in Northampton also offer a LGBTQ support group and is very well run and welcoming.

Northampton Borough Council have also put a list of support groups and organisations together.

If you would like further support around LGBTQ have a look at the support and advice on the Stonewall website .

Bullying

Bullying has always been around but in past years it mostly took place in the playground. For young people bullying can now be 24/7 leaving them with very little escape due to social media and gaming. However, there is lots of support out there if you are a parent or carer worried about your child or children being bullied online or offline.  

It's really important we give children and young people enough time to listen and off-load. We need to provide them with lots of reassurance that their situation will get better. Speak to your child's or children's school or setting - you could keep a log or record to share with the school or college. Schools also should have a behaviour policy in place that sets out how they challenge and deal with bullying in general.

Encourage children and young people not to retaliate to bullying, especially with violence. Reacting with violence can have negative and unpredictable effects.

Discuss and find out more about what the child wants to happen next, and explore the options and choices available to them. What skills do they have to overcome the problem and what are the potential next steps going to be.

For further information with how to support young people or children being bullied have a look at the Anti- Bullying Alliance website.

  • ​Make sure your child knows what bullying behaviour is and why it's not acceptable
  • Explain to your child that no one has the right to pressure others into something they don't want to do – this includes bullying  
  • Who can they talk to? Who is in the child's support network?
  • Are adults around the child leading by example in their behaviour?
  • Talk to your child about where they are going online and what sort of images are they posting. If they are uploading things that are going to cause distress

You can report bullying and harassment online through the Report Harmful Content website.

If you need further support or advice around bullying have a look at the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.