Police chiefs have offered a set of handy tips for parents struggling to keep up their youngsters online.

As our region’s teens join new social media sites and the rise of technology continues to pick up pace, many families will be finding it difficult to know the best ways to keep children safe.

Some estimates by the likes of Forbes have suggested that COVID-19 has meant hat internet use is up by some 70% in households in the UK.

In terms of being online, more parents than ever are reporting that their child’s internet usage has almost certainly increased during the pandemic, whether it’s for entertainment, or due to the need to attend remote lessons for school earlier in the year. For many parents, balancing their child’s online safety with everything else that’s going on can be very challenging.

To help, Cumbria Police online safety experts have put together some expert tips. And please look out for further campaigns this summer focusing on your child’s online safety.

• Talk regularly with your child about the good and not-so-good aspects of the internet. Get them to show you what they’re doing and try it out for yourself. Get to understand new online technologies and trends. Discuss potential issues like stranger danger, accessing inappropriate content, bullying, oversharing personal information and spending too much time on their devices.

• Discuss and agree boundaries and rules from a young age, including time limits and appropriate online usage. Empower your child, but remember that they don’t have the maturity or experience to always make the right decisions.

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• Apply parental control software and apps on computers, mobile devices and games consoles, privacy features on social networking sites, safety options on search engines and safe location settings on devices and apps. Turn on ISP family filters.

• Explain and encourage safe searching, websites and apps. Check what your child is watching on streaming sites like YouTube and TikTok, as well as what they’re sharing. Social networking, picture/video sharing, gaming and other sites and apps have lower age limits for a reason.

• Download apps only from recognised sources like App Store and Google Play. Add your own email address when setting up accounts and apps for your child.

• Keep yourself up to date with new game and social media trends, especially those with negative publicity because they may be violent, encourage gambling or leave the way open for messaging anybody.

For more information and further tips, visit their website: cumbria.police.uk



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