What are the issues arising from accessing the internet?

  • Your child may slow down their cognitive development.
  • Your child may access inappropriate games, films or music.
  • Your child may suffer abuse or bullying by instant messaging apps, social networking (eg. FaceBook), video calling, chatting to other players in games.
  • Your child may be at risk because of their online behaviour by passing on gossip, photos or information among friends this can be a form of bullying, and once posted it can never be removed so children need to think before they post or send anything.

So what can you do?

  • Make sure that you child doesn’t spend too long each day on the internet and/or games etc. Encourage them to read, play with lego, colour in or play outside. This short presentation explains the possible side effects of spending too much time online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri4_CW9P41s
  • Have your computer or laptop in a busy part of the house such as the kitchen, this will make it easier for you to supervise your child. Remember, the internet can be accessed from a number of mobile devices, for example smartphones, tablets, so you will need to keep an eye on where your child accesses these too. At bed time remove these devices from your child’s bedroom.
  • There are free parental controls and filters available, to help you set safer boundaries for your children, but you will usually be required to set them up. This website has tutorial videos on how to do this: Internetmatters.org . All Mobile phone operators (such as O2 or Vodafone) also provide such parental controls for free. The websites of device manufacturers (such as games consoles) should also outline the controls to which you have access. Filtering options can be found within websites themselves, for example on YouTube also ‘safe search’ settings can be applied to search engines such as Google.
  • For console games check that they are appropriate via the PEGI (Pan European Games Information). Some online games may also be age rated or be classified ‘PEGI OK.’?Many games allow children to play with other internet users and may have chat features enabled. Choose games with a “safe chat mode” where simple predetermined phrases can be used. Always check that your child is accessing age appropriate content, for example for Facebook you must be 13, and that they haven’t setup an account with a false date of birth. Make sure that they know NEVER to share any personal information with people that they don’t know personally.

What if I need to report a problem? If you are suspicious about the behaviour of others online, reports can be made to CEOP

A parent and carer’s guide to the potential impact of the internet on their children’s well-being


Worried about the apps or programmes your child may be accessing? Find out more here

Here is an example of a parent guide to snapchat