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Protecting Children from Online Abuse

With social isolation now in full force, children and young people’s online activities are increasing — for education, to socialise with friends and for entertainment.

With increased online activity comes increased risk of inappropriate or unsafe contact with or abuse from people you may or may not know.

The worst danger is when young people are persuaded into sexual activity on webcams or into sending or posting sexual images. 

Here are some tips.

1. Use parental controls

These can be set up to block your child from accessing specific websites, apps or functions (like using a device’s camera), filter different kinds of content, monitor your child’s use of connected devices, with reports on the sites they visit and the apps they use.

2. Set time limits

During non-school hours at home, it’s a good idea to establish time limits around when and for how long your child can be online. 

3. Stay in open areas of the home

You can establish rules like:

  • no devices in the bedroom or bathroom
  • all screens off at least one hour before planned bedtime
  • all family members switch off at dinner time
  • devices charged overnight in a place your child cannot access.

4. Know the apps and games your kids are using

Check that apps, games and social media sites are age-appropriate for your child.

Look out for messaging or online chat as well as location-sharing within apps, games or social media accounts.

5. Turn on privacy settings

Check the privacy settings on the games and apps your child is using and make sure their profiles are turned on to the strictest privacy setting.

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