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19/12/13 00:01

Christmas safety online

Top tips to keep festive gifts safe.

The Scottish Government is issuing five top tips to keep children and young people safe online over the festive season.

The move follows a recent Scottish Government-led summit on the issue of online safety which brought together experts from the public and private sector, along with internet service provider TalkTalk. With smart phones, tablets and computers increasingly popular Christmas gifts, the advice is being given to ensure children and young people can enjoy their presents safely and responsibility.

Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, said:

“We are living in a digital world where children and young people are embracing new technology. We all recognise what a fabulous resource it is and, by working together, we can help people use it with increasing confidence.

“We need to ensure safety while not demonising the internet. The recent online safety summit I hosted with the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages identified that better information sharing between parents and young people is key to improving online safety. It is vital the positive benefits of the internet are maximised by children and young people, but that they know who to talk to and where to go if something goes wrong.”

Alexandra Birtles, Head of External Communications at TalkTalk added:

“Children and young people today have an intuitive understanding of technology; they are accessing the internet at a younger age than ever before, with many getting their first smartphone as early as the age of nine. Whilst this bodes well for creating a digitally-literate generation, it’s crucial that children understand how to use this technology effectively and safely.

“If you're planning to give your child a gadget for Christmas, this is the perfect time to educate them. Talk to them to explain how and why we need to use the web wisely, and make sure you've activated parental controls before you give them their new kit. Ask your broadband provider for help with this."

Notes to editors

The top tips are:

Talk about it

There’s no better way to protect your children than by talking to them about what they do online, how they are connecting with others and if they know how to stay safe. They will already be learning about online safety and behaviour at school so why not start by asking them what they already know and what their favourite websites are? Adults need to know where young people are going online, just as they do if they’re going to a physical space. It is important to stay connected and talk to your child about how they are using social media – keep talking to them and listening so they know you take it seriously.

Don’t give out too much information

Be careful about revealing personal information on social networking sites and ensure that your children are making use of the privacy settings available on the sites. Talk to your child about what information they share online and with whom – would they feel OK with their family seeing what they have shared?

Take advantage of parental controls

There are a range of parental controls you can use to help protect children from accessing inappropriate content online. There’s more advice on the different kinds of controls available at www.saferinternet.org.uk


Know where to get support

Parents and other adults need a proper understanding of what the digital landscape really looks like, where they can turn for advice and who will support them if they need to take action. If something does happen to your child, such as bullying online, there are lots of places to get support.

These include:

respectme www.respectme.org.uk

Parentline. www.children1st.org.uk/what-we-do/our-services/search-our-services/parentline-scotland/

CEOP www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Encourage responsible communication and safe use

Remind your child that online relationships are no different from relationships off-line and that they should be respectful and polite and never give away any personal information. Think about setting up a code of conduct with your child, similar to what you will have at work. This is an agreement about how smart phones, laptops or other devices are used and what will happen if they are misused. Discuss this with your child so they are clear about what they can and cannot do. Although it is worthwhile talking about your child’s rights when using technology, it is also important to discuss the responsibilities that come with these.

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