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How to keep your children safe online

Silhouette of a young girl using a laptop computer

Being a parent has never been easy. Things are arguably harder nowadays, as you have two worlds in which to safeguard your children. Online safety is a vital lesson for kids to learn, but with such a wide range of dangers, it can be hard to know where to start.

Here are a few conversations that are important to have with your children.

Stranger danger

You've probably already warned your children not to talk to strangers in person, but it's equally important on the internet. Anybody can hide behind a keyboard and pretend to be someone else. Teach your child never to agree to meet someone that they met online, even if they claim to be another child or someone they know.

Personal information privacy

There are all sorts of reasons that websites ask for personal information. As adults, we can judge whether or not a website is trustworthy, but even we still get it wrong sometimes.

It's safest to teach your child to ask an adult before entering any personal information online. Whether that means forms or chat rooms, children should never offer up personal information or hand it over when asked.

Pieces of information that your child should protect include their name, address, phone number, email address, school and images of themselves.

Credit cards

When you're a child, a credit card can seem like a gateway to endless money. As a parent, you know that this is far from true!

Not only do internet users need to be wary of online scams, but many genuine purchases are inviting to children. As well as there being plenty of real-life toys available to buy, many video games have microtransactions. These are often small amounts, but they can add up quickly and lead to solely virtual items.

Make sure your child knows that your credit card details are not to be used online without permission. Or, ideally, prevent them from having access to them altogether.

Fake news

Misinformation is rife on the internet. Anyone can post online, so it's difficult to know what to believe. This is made harder by developing technology, as it is easy to fall for deepfakes and AI-generated content. Teach your children to be sceptical of anything that they read online, even if it looks like there's photo or video evidence. If they're unsure, encourage them to see if a trusted source has said the same thing.


Kids are vulnerable targets for radicalisation, and manipulative extremists know this. For example, Andrew Tate’s ideology has been spreading to teenage boys online and causing real-life issues in schools. Encourage your children to talk to you about what they see online so that you can catch extremist views early and teach them differently.


Computer viruses are a common danger on the internet. Consequences can range from stolen data to loss of files, which can be especially bad if your child uses family devices. Teach your children not to download files from unfamiliar websites, and not to click suspicious links in emails or pop-ups.

Dangerous trends

Viral content is a fundamental part of social media. People often mimic what they see other people doing, which can result in trending challenges. While many trends are harmless, others can have devastating consequences. In recent years, trends have included cooking chicken in medication, eating a spoonful of cinnamon, and choking yourself or someone else until they pass out.

Explain to your child that dangerous behaviour has consequences. Just because their friend or other people online managed to escape unscathed, doesn't mean that they will too.


Bullies are one of the most difficult aspects of growing up. The rise of the internet has given them new ways to target victims and made them harder to escape. Stalking and harassment can psychologically harm anyone, but especially young developing minds.

Teach children about blocking, reporting and restriction features on social media. Make sure they know who to tell if they ever face cyberbullying.

On the other hand, it’s important to stop children from participating in cyberbullying too. No parent ever wants to think that their child is capable of being a bully, but it’s always best to teach them that people on the other side of the screen are real and that the negative comments will impact their lives.

Safety first

Used safely, the internet can enrich lives and be a source of entertainment. By teaching your child about these dangers, you can help them to avoid risks and to have positive experiences online.