Did you know that 73% of children have an online presence by the age of 2? 1 in 10 children are given their first mobile before they’re 5 years old. Half of 4 and 5 year olds think it’s ok to look at any videos or photos on the internet. 83% of 4 to 11 year olds have to follow rules when using a smartphone, tablet or computer including which websites they can visit, how long they can be online and where they can use their devices. The internet plays a big part in all our lives, giving us many amazing opportunities. As in other areas of our lives, there are risks involved in using the internet. Being aware of how to keep ourselves safe, and teaching our children how to keep safe, will help us all to get the best out of the internet.

These SMART rules are helpful:

S encourages users to stay SAFE by not giving out personal details when you’re chatting or posting online.Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.

M highlights the dangers of MEETING someone who you only know online. Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.

A warns users that ACCEPTING emails, pictures or texts from people you don’t know can be risky – they may contain viruses or nasty messages!

R reminds us that information and people we find online may not be RELIABLE. Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family.

T encourages children to always tell a parent, carer or TRUSTED adult if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.

It’s never too early to start thinking about how to protect your children online…here are some links to different websites where good advice about using the internet safely can be found.  If you need to report anything you or your child finds then click on the CEOP link. If you feel you need to speak to someone from school regarding this, please do get in touch with us. If you know of any other sites that you feel would be of benefit to other parents please let us know.for information about how to do this, take a look at these links…

Share Aware

Online Safety                Digital Parenting

Keeping Young Children Safe Online

Online Safety                  NSPCC

CEOP                                 Kid Smart

Boys, Girls & Media Messages