The ages below should only be used as a guide.
If you can tell by looking that your child has outgrown the scope of the advice for younger children then have a think about approaching the topics for older children.
Age 6 to 9 checklist for online safety
- Create a user account for your child on the family computer with appropriate settings and make the most of Parental Controls and tools like Google SafeSearch
- Watch thinkuknow cartoons with your child.
- Set boundaries just as you do in the rest of your child’s life. Agree a list of websites they’re allowed to visit and the kind of personal information they should not reveal about themselves online (e.g. the name of their school or their home addresses).
- Decide time limits for things like using the internet and playing on games consoles. Time limits can be applied on devices such as tablets and laptops.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Bear in mind what older siblings might be showing them on the internet, mobiles, games, consoles and other devices, and agree some rules as a whole family.
- Talk to other parents about their views on things like what age to buy kids a mobile phone.
- Familiarise yourself with age ratings on games, online TV, films and apps, so that you can be sure your child is only accessing age-appropriate content.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more - you do too.
Age 10-12 checklist for online safety
- Make sure you’ve set some technology boundaries before your child gets their first mobile or games console – it can be more difficult to change the way they use it after.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
- Remind your child to keep phones and other devices well hidden when they’re out and about to minimise the risk of theft.
- Talk to them about what they post and share online – tweets, written comments, photos and videos all form part of their ‘digital footprint’ that could be seen by anyone and is available on the Web forever.
- Discuss the kind of things they see online – this is the age when they might be looking for information about their changing bodies and exploring relationships, for example.
- Hold off letting your son or daughter sign up for services like Facebook and YouTube that have a minimum age limit of 13 – talk to other parents and their school to make sure everyone is on the same page. Be wary that some children ‘fake’ their date of birth on sites such as Facebook in order to gain access (there is nothing to stop them from doing this).
- Remind them that they shouldn’t do anything online that they wouldn’t do face-to-face.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It's important that as your child learns more - you do too.