New research shows one out of six (16%) parents never or only rarely talk to their children about online safety issues. Internet Matters is today urging parents to speak to their kids about their digital life as often as they do their school life.

The research of over 2,000 UK parents has found some children as young as four are experiencing online harm, with many online issues increasing steadily as they get older.

Around six out of 10 parents admit they are concerned about issues including online grooming (58%), viewing sexual or violent content (58%) and spending too much time online (68%).

Yet in the last six months alone, only a third of those parents have had any kind of conversation with them about it.

Internet Matters has launched updated age-appropriate resources to help parents have the right conversations with their kids about their online life at the right time.

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Explore together

Talk to your child about what the internet is and explore it together so you can show them all the great fun and educational things they can do. Reassure them that if they see anything upsetting, they should come and talk to you.

Be involved

Encourage them to use devices in the same room as you so you can keep an eye on how they’re using the internet. Stay inquisitive about what they are doing and encourage them to share their enjoyment with you.

Put yourself in control

Activate parental controls on your home broadband. Most Internet-enabled devices also offer parental controls. For example, Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS, and Google’s Android all offer ways to control the apps and sites your child can visit.

Search safely

If you let your child search independently, make sure safe search settings are activated on Google and other search engines or set the default to one designed especially for children such as Swiggle.

Use passwords

Keep your devices out of reach and set passwords on all your internet-enabled devices and don’t share them. Then you’ll know when and where your child is accessing the internet. Also, use passwords to make sure they’re not making additional purchases when they’re playing games or using apps.

Use age-appropriate sites and apps

Choose safe, fun, and educational sites and apps for your child. Use age ratings in the app stores to check suitability. Make use of platforms and services designed with children in mind like YouTube Kids, Sky Kids, BBC iPlayerKids, and Nick Jr.

Set boundaries

It’s never too early to start setting boundaries. Set some rules about how they use connected technology, including which apps and sites they can use and how long they can spend on them. Internet Matters have created a family agreement template that you can use to get started.

For more information on how to keep your child safe online and to visit the updated age guides head to www.internetmatters.org/advice.

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