The Parent Club is the Scottish Government’s resource for parents and carers across Scotland. It helps parents and carers in raising their children and creates a community for members to support each other. Their new ‘Child Online Safety’ digital hub launched on 8 February to coincide with Safer Internet Day.
The Parent Club’s Guide to Online Safety states: “Whether your child is taking their first steps into the online world or using it quite a lot, talking to them about navigating the internet safely is one of the most important things you can do to help keep them safer. The more you connect and communicate with them, the more likely they are to understand your concerns. And the more likely they are to come to you if they feel like something isn’t right. Part of those conversations should be about agreeing the rules and boundaries together, so they feel involved and understand that everything you’re doing is to keep them safe.”
The ‘Child Online Safety’ campaign aims to raise awareness in parents and carers of the online dangers for children and young people and to show them how to support their children to stay safe online. The campaign features practical advice on how to implement safety measures and guidance for starting a conversation with children and young people about online safety and boundaries. Importantly, it reassures parents that the same skills and instincts which keep a child safe in the physical world can be applied to the online world.
“66% of 8-11 year olds have their own tablet and 49% have their own smartphone.”
Esther Bates, Marketing and Fundraising Assistant for Children’s Health Scotland, said: “It is essential that the Parent Club releases resources to help parents and carers keep their children safe online. While the internet can be an amazing place for children to learn and socialise with their friends, it can also be a negative experience if left unchecked. Having an open conversation with your child or young person about the dangers of the internet and knowing what resources are available to guide you can make a huge difference for children and parents.”
The ‘Child Online Safety’ campaign has four key messages:
- Opening up about online safety – encouraging parents and children to talk about online safety, setting rules, and developing good habits online as they get older.
- Protecting your child online – many children will engage in risky behaviour online, despite parents believing they have put sufficient safety measures in places.
- Being aware of online dangers – the campaign aims to help parents prevent exposure to inappropriate content, messaging strangers, grooming, unauthorised spending, and online bullying.
- Making your child feel safe – helping parents to take an interest in their child’s online activities, having fun online as a family, and building trust and confidence in their child. This makes it easier, if something does go wrong, for children to feel comfortable and safe about telling a parent or a trusted adult.