Increasingly there are more opportunities for children to get online – at home, at school and through their mobile phones and games consoles.

The internet can be of great benefit to your child. It can help them with their homework and it can help them to make new friends.

The internet can also pose risks to your child. It is important to be aware of the dangers and to know how to keep your child safe online.

Understanding the internet

You may feel your child knows more about the internet than you do and find the idea of using it yourself a bit daunting. To keep your child safe it’s important that you have an understanding of the internet, how your child uses it and the terminology used online.

Your child may be able to show you what they do and how it works or your local library, college or community centre may run classes on computers and the internet.

What are the risks to children?

Accessing the internet and using mobile phones can put children at risk of:

• seeing disturbing information or images
• being the victim of online bullying (also known as cyberbullying)
• being contacted and manipulated by an adult for sexual purposes (also known as grooming)
• sharing personal and identifying information with strangers
• sending or receiving sexually explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others (this is known as sexting  when sent by mobile phone).