Safer Internet Day took place this year on the 9th of February. It is an annual awareness day in which the UK Safer Internet Centre invites everyone to play their part in making the internet a safer place.
I think it is safe to say that over this year we have all increased our internet use. Whether that’s increased time on social media, chatting to family and friends or online gaming to name a few. The internet has become a lifeline for many and a necessity too.
Many of the children and young people we support are also spending more time online and expanding the ways that they use the internet. They may have joined online communities or started using video-calling platforms. Children who receive support from services may also go online to contact their support workers.
Whilst we recognise that increased screen time isn’t always healthy, we must also accept that they too are experiencing vast changes and speaking to friends, support services, or even just having some ‘down time’ online will be hugely beneficial for their wellbeing and mental health.
However, it is because of this that conversations about managing risk and being safe are so important. Increased online use puts children and young people at a greater risk of bullying, exploitation, sexting and radicalisation.
Whether you're a professional who works with young people, or a parent, guardian or carer, it's important you feel equipped to help your children or young person stay safe online.
Please see below a list of resources that you can easily use in your support sessions or in those all-important conversations at home:
If you live in West Sussex and have any concerns about your child or young person's online activity, please contact us to see if we can provide support.