Both the NWG and UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC)recognise that everyone has a responsibility for helping young people stay safe online. One of the areas that we were keen to develop was information for parents/carers on their own online use which in turn can help to protect their families. Many parents/carers have not been shown how to be safer online, are unaware of the complexities of online grooming and are overwhelmed by the internet and their child’s use of it but still try their best to keep their child safe.
Drawing on the advice, knowledge and support that the UKSIC Professionals Online Safety Helplinehave to offer and with the NWG network’s unique role in tackling CSE, NWG have collaborated to produce Online: Onguard – A Guide to Becoming a Safer Parent Online.
The leaflet explores with parents/carers the importance of their own online safety and how through positive role modelling they can teach their children to become safer online too. The leaflet uses a traffic light system covering ten topics including streaming, grooming, gaming and dating. among others. Each section identifies something for parents/carers to consider, an action to complete, things to avoid and prompts for questions and discussions in the home. It also has a list of services and websites for support.
Children know so much about the internet and social media yet we need parents/carers even more to be talking and listening with their children about sites and platforms they are using and to be alert for changes in behaviours and concerns online. Parents/carers can learn so much from their children and parents have a vital role in helping children understand the wider world and context around the internet, to help their child to think critically about the online world and who they are talking with. We need to empower parents to feel confident and knowledgeable about the online world, to tap into community assets such as local groups, schools, libraries, other friends to share and develop skills and knowledge and to inform parents about what to do and where to go when they have concerns.
The internet is a fantastic tool with limitless opportunities but it is also global, fast and anonymous and can leave families vulnerable to risks. We hope this guide will help professionals working with parents and parents themselves to become support safer digital parents and in turn help children to be safer online.
NWG and UKSIC