Skip to main content



How to Keep Children Safe Online: Parent's E-Safety Guide

Published date: May 2024

young girl doing homework while using her computer
The internet opens up a world of new possibilities for young people and provides a place to keep in contact with friends and play games. But just like letting them loose on the playground, we want to make sure they're safe while they explore. This guide is here to help parents, no matter your prior knowledge of social media, different online platforms and user behaviours. 

How are kids spending their time online?

First things first, let's get the lowdown on what our kids are actually up to online. These days, there are loads of platforms out there, and what's popular can change quicker than you can say "hashtag." Here's a quick peek at some favourites, depending on your child's age group:
  • Younger ones (under 10): Think colourful and creative! Roblox lets them build virtual worlds, while Minecraft gets their imaginations firing with block-based adventures.
  • Pre-teens (9-12): This is where things get more social. Despite the age limit being 13+ for most social platforms, many children under 13 use (or want to use) apps like TikTok which are all about short, fun videos, while messaging apps like WhatsApp keep them connected with friends.
  • Teenagers (13+): Teens tend to gravitate towards platforms where they can express themselves. Instagram is all about pictures and stories, while Snapchat lets them send photo-based messages and be closer to their friends. 

Knowing the Risks: Online safety for kids

While the internet is a playground, there can be some bumps along the way. Here are some things to be aware of:
  • Cyberbullying: This can be a very upsetting experience for a child that can cause harm. It might involve nasty comments, embarrassing messages, or even being excluded online.
  • Inappropriate Content: The internet is a vast space, and sometimes kids might stumble upon inappropriate content, like violence or adult themes.
  • Strangers: Unfortunately, there are people out there who might try to contact your child online. It's important to teach them about online safety. Discuss who they can talk to, how to keep their privacy and what to do if they come across someone they don't know. 
  • Privacy: With all this sharing online, it's easy to forget about privacy. We need to help our kids understand what information is safe to share and what's best kept private.
Don't worry though! There are ways to help keep our kids safe from these risks and we'll explore those next.

Making it Stick: Practical E-Safety Tips

  • Setting Limits: Screen time is important so try to decide on healthy boundaries for how long your child can be online each day. Maybe consider creating a schedule that works for your family. There are also tools available on most devices to help you manage screen time.
  • Building Savvy Surfers: Try to teach your kids to be critical thinkers online. How can they tell if something they see online is real or fake? Encourage them to question what they see and to double-check information before sharing it. There are loads of great resources available online and in libraries that can help you teach your child about online safety and critical thinking. Here is one guide to critical thinking to get you started.
  • Dealing with Bullies: Cyberbullying can be tough to manage, but there are ways to deal with it. Help your child understand how to block bullies, report them to the platform, and talk to you or another trusted adult. Some organisations can offer support and advice on dealing with cyberbullying.
  • Password Power: Strong passwords are essential! Help your child create unique passwords for each platform they use.

Talking it Out: Communication is Key for Children's Online Safety

The most important tool in your e-safety toolbox? Open communication! We want our kids to feel comfortable talking to us about anything online, good or bad. Here are some tips to get the conversation flowing:
  • Find the Right Moment: Launching into a lecture during their favourite activity or show might not be the best time to engage your child in a topic they may not be very interested in. Try to pick a quiet time to chat and see how their online world is going. Maybe after dinner or during a car journey could work well.
  • Keep it Casual: Ask open-ended questions like "Have you seen anything you interesting online lately?" or "What apps do you and your friends like?" This shows you're interested and not just there to lay down the law. You could even share some of your own positive online experiences to break the ice.
  • Be a Safe Space: Let them know they can tell you anything, even if they've messed up online. Remember, we want them to come to us with problems, not hide them. Reassure them that you're there to help, not judge. 
  • Check their device: If you feel inclined, parents can also have a look over their child’s phone or device for peace of mind. 
With these tips, you should be better equipped to keep your child safe online. However, for even greater peace of mind, Your Co-op Members can receive discounted Norton 360 packages to protect their home from a range of digital threats. 

Find out more about savings on Norton 360 here.


There are currently no comments, be the first to review.

Leave us your comment

You need to login to submit a comment. Please click here to log in or register.

Back to Article Listing