Keeping up to date with children’s use of technology is challenging for many adults. It can be hard to supervise what young people are viewing and creating online, who they are chatting to and texting, and what they are downloading. Many children may have better technical skills than you; however they still need advice and protection when using internet and mobile technologies.
There are a large number of resources that will help you to meet the challenge help parents or carers keep up to date with how children are using the internet, and how to support them in using these new exciting services safely and responsibly
There are organizations that can help if you or your child get into difficult situations on the internet or your mobile phone. The following guidelines will help you to decide which channel to use.
If you know about a child who is in immediate danger and you need an urgent response, always call 999 and contact the police.
If you are suspicious or know that a child is being groomed by an adult on the internet, then you should report directly to the police and you can do this online, see www.ceop.gov.uk.
Remember that wherever you experience a problem online you can make reports to the provider of the site or service you are using — look out for Report Abuse buttons or how to flag inappropriate content on social networking sites for example.
If you come across content online which you think might be illegal, such as indecent images or video of children, or racist material, then you should report this content to the Internet Watch Foundation, and you can do this online at www.iwf.org.uk.
If you know a child who is upset by any contact they have had with anyone they have met on the internet or mobile phone they can always call Childline in confidence on 0800 1111 or visit the NSPCC’s There4me website (www.there4me.com ).
Who can you report cyberbullying to? Well it really depends on the seriousness of the bullying, and where it is happening. Either way it is a good start to report it to the provider of the service where the bullying occurred, whether that is a website owner, a social networking website or a mobile phone operator. It helps to keep records of bullying emails or texts as evidence. If you child is being cyberbullied by pupils at school then you should talk to the school.
Using premium rate services, such as purchasing ringtones, or TV voting, is very popular. If you have problems with such services, if your child has an unexpectedly high bill for example, then you should contact your mobile phone operator. If you want to make a complaint about such a service, then you should contact the premium rate service regulator, PhonePay Plus, see www.phonepayplus.org.uk/.
You can find the contact details and websites for all these organisations here on the Think You Know website for parents.