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E-safety and children. Are you aware of the dangers?

September 13, 2016

The dangers of the internet are growing as the age of children gaining access to the internet drops.

Unfortunately there are many risks online. As well as being a victim of cyberbullying and grooming, children uploading visual content of themselves is also becoming a risk as different media data is being linked to them.

The risks of the internet can be split into three categories:

  1. contact
  2. content
  3. conduct

Contact

This refers to the situation where children are in the position of being cyberbullied or groomed. These risks are unfortunately not only posed by strangers over the internet. Unfortunately, children’s peers can also cyberbully and therefore children struggle to distinguish between the two.

As a result of this, there is no longer the push on making children aware of ‘stranger danger’. Instead there is a growing focus on making sure children are careful about the information they display online, as well as being aware of others online.

Content

Refers to situations where children may be at risk of seeing upsetting, inappropriate or illegal content.

Examples of this content are:

  • violence
  • pornography
  • hateful material
  • gambling
  • inappropriate adverts
  • sites about mental illness or eating disorders
  • Extremism etc.

REMEMBER: not all the examples given are illegal in itself. A lot of content is not intentionally created to harm children. It is also important to note that children will not necessarily find the material given above. It is more likely to be found intentionally rather than accidentally.

Conduct

Conduct is about situations where children are in the position of actors. They may be involved with production or uploading of inappropriate content, the piracy of materials, or hacking.

Two main conduct risks are:

  • downloading music/videos illegally
  • Sexting

Firstly, illegal downloading. Children are becoming more curious and are aware of new software. There is easy access to a range of downloadable music, videos, and software. A lot of the downloadable software etc. is legal but not all downloadable content is. Therefore, be aware of what children are downloading. Illegal downloading or file sharing can expose children to a number of risks. Such as viruses, unsuitable images and fines.

Secondly, sexting, which is the act of sharing sexual messages or sexually explicit images or videos using smartphones or other devices. This may sometimes be referred to as ‘cybersex’ and images and videos can be shared between friends and strangers.

What do children worry about?

Children’s worries have changed over the years. Before it was about content and what they would see on the internet. Nowadays as children get older, they worry more about contact and conduct. This is as a result of being able to put so much personal information up about themselves.

You can prevent risks

  • Talk about content, contact and conduct. Educate your children or the children you look after, so that they can understand any content they are exposed to. Ask questions about what they are doing who they are speaking to and discuss how they should conduct themselves.
  • Be approachable
  • Be honest
  • Finally, don’t judge

In conclusion, do not look at the internet as being pure danger. The internet is also educational and as a fun activity for children. Just be aware of all he different areas of the internet and also block specific websites and apps that are on devices, as well as creating passwords that need you to consent prior to a download.

If you are concerned about the internet and want to either refresh your knowledge or widen your training you can book and complete our Level 2 accredited e-safety training course here.

E-safety

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

Posted by Harmony at Home Head Office Team | Filed Under Childcare Training Courses, Expert Advice 

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