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You can't shield your child from every risk in the online world, any more than you can offline. So how do you help them to be digitally literate (what does that even mean?) And what kind of parenting approach is most likely to help them stay safe?

Children at screens

We're always hearing about 'digital natives' as if all young people are happily at home on the internet, knowing where to find all the good things, how to avoid the hazards and partying happily together. But what if most young people were just as anxious and lost as their parents? The experts think that's much closer to the truth...

Connected

Researchers have been studying how children use smartphones, tablets and computers across Europe. So are children addicted to their phones? And how many have experienced cyberbullying? We have (some of) the answers...

Digital parenting

Top tips on staying up-to-date with what your children are doing online.

Computer gaming

Do you sometimes feel your child is sharing not just too much information, but the wrong kind of information? Do you worry that their adolescent attitudes are going to hang over them for the rest of their lives? How do you talk to them about the identity they're creating with their friends - and how the internet makes that visible to everyone?

Using smartphone

Support organisations for young people and parents who are concerned about what young people are having to deal with online.

digital infants

You don't stop educating your children once they've learnt their phonics. They need to move up to understanding the meaning of what they're reading. In the same way, once your child is online and you're filtering and monitoring in the right way for their age, there's still a job to do. Here's a useful breakdown of what it means to be digitally literate, with some good news for parents.

Filters and parental controls may not be the complete answer to keeping children safe online, but they are undoubtedly the first line of defence. It's now possible to set filters on your broadband, your devices and your applications. Here, from Internet Matters, is what you need to know.

Going online

A lot of sites and apps specify that users must be aged over 13. Why 13? Vicki Shotbolt explains and offers a guide to the age limits for various popular online activities.

Ask.fm

Ask.fm is anonymous and has been known to lead to cyberbullying and taunting. Here is CEOP’s guide to Ask.fm in a series of FAQs for parents.

Instagram

Instagram is now bigger than twitter. What's the big attraction? And is there anything you need to know?

Instagram

Some tips on responsible – and safe – use of Instagram.

Snapchat

What do you need to know about Snapchat?

Snapchat

How to be a bit more careful, and a bit better informed, when using Snapchat.

Snapchat

Does the fact that photos disappear from Snapchat make it completely safe to use? If things do go wrong, what can you do?

Social media

‘Teens turn to, and are obsessed with whichever environment allows them to connect to friends. Most teens aren’t addicted to social media; if anything, they’re addicted to each other.’

There's been quite a lot of interest recently in monitoring apps, which allow you to track your child, alerting you to where they are and what they're doing. Sounds like a brilliant idea, no? But experts warn you should think twice before putting your child under surveillance. We look at the pros and cons.

ooVoo is a group video chat service that has been the source of some controversy, with fears that children are giving away information to people they don't know. Like any popular online tool, used wisely it's great; used unwisely it can be a platform for problems. Here's everything you need to know about what ooVoo is, how to use it safely, and how to report anything worrying.

12 year-old boy sitting and looking inscrutable

What goes online stays online. Some advice to help you and your child understand the long-term implications of publishing all about your life.

iRights logo

There is deep concern about the impact the internet is having on families, especially on children and young people. iRights is a coalition calling for five basic rights that children and young people should have online. 

Group selfie

Even world leaders take selfies... In this video, Vicki Shotbolt of The Parent Zone talks about the hazards of online flirting via photos - and what to tell your child.

Technology

What are children really seeing online? Do parental filters work? Our stats may surprise you...

YouTube

YouTube's SafetyMode allows parents to restrict the content their children see. Here's our quick'n'dirty guide to setting it up.

Filtering

Google is often the first port of call for homework and curiosity of all kinds. Here's how to guard against adult content appearing in your children's Google searches.

Dog with iPad

Too many children have memories of dull ICT lessons acquiring skills that will probably be outdated by the time they start work. But the new computing curriculum, introduced this school year, is a really exciting (and world-leading) development. Simon Humphreys of Computing at School explains why.

Minecraft is phenomenally popular, especially with primary school children. Sometimes described as Lego for the digital age, it is absorbing, creative and educational - but, as with any online activity, it's as well to be aware of the basics of staying safe. Here's our guide to helping your child make the most of Minecraft.

Game controller

Video games all come with age ratings - but there are a lot of them, so what do they mean?

In just a few years, Minecraft has become one of the world's most popular games, mainly by word of mouth and despite the lack of a big marketing budget or a major organisation behind it. Already a hot topic of conversation in the playground, Minecraft is now moving into the classroom, as teachers increasingly find ways to use the game for educational purposes. Here's the lowdown for parents. 

Children need boundaries to make them feel safe - and to push against. This is as important online as off. The Parent Zone's Sophie Linington offers some tips on digital boundary-setting.

Covering eyes

If your child has come across something upsetting online - or something you think may be illegal - here's what to do about it.

What can you do if your child is talking online to someone they don't know in the real world and you're suspicious? What if you think they're being asked to do things, share images, encouraged to meet? CEOP - the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command of the National Crime Agency and one of the partners behind Parent Info - is the answer. This is how and where to report your concerns.

Elephant friends

There's some good news about young people's health (teen pregnancies down, smoking, drinking and drug taking down) but some not-so-good news (obesity and mental health problems up). A new report from Public Health England says that young people's mental and physical health are closely connected - and that relationships are the key to their health and wellbeing.

Stormy weather family

CEOP's tips for ways to start a conversation with your teenager – and where to take it after that.

Porn button

Pornography is more available than ever before, thanks to the internet. It can also be a hideously embarrassing subject to broach with your child. In this video, CEOP's Jonathan Baggaley offers some tips for opening non-awkward discussions.

Your child has come out. That’s great: it means that they feel confident about themselves and they are trusting you to be supportive.

But what do you actually say?

Rainbow steps

Is your child uncertain about their sexuality? Are you half-expecting some big 'coming out' announcement? Richard Essery of Brook offers advice for parents on how to respond.

Broken black crayon, stick man drawing

The reality of abuse is rarely like the high-profile cases we hear about on the news. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation busts a few of the myths. 

Boys on a beach with wild waves

Abusers rely on secrecy. Here are the Lucy Faithfull Foundation's tips for things to look out for and how to respond.

People walking through woods

It's hard to think about the possiblity that someone we know might be an abuser or that a child may be being abused. But there are warning signs that can alert us to potentially abusive people and it's as well to be aware of them. Donald Findlater of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation explains what they are. 

Relationships

What is an abusive relationship? How do you spot when someone is trying to exercise too much control over you? And how to warn your child against relationships that are going to hurt them?

Houses of Parliament

Are mental health problems rising in children and young people? And is the internet to blame? An influential committee of MPs calls for more support for mental illness among the young.

Good mental health

What does good mental health look like when it comes to young people?

Crayon drawing

In this video, Claire Usiskin from YoungMinds talks about warning signs to look out for if you're concerned about your child's mental health - and what to do.

Silhouette

Is depression a fact of teenage life? What are the signs of depression and what can you do if you're concerned that your child may be depressed? Young Minds' Lucy Maddox offers some advice.

Black cloud

When young people admit to having mental health problems, parents often blame themselves. There is still stigma and shame attached to this kind of illness, despite the fact that it's so common. But early diagnosis and treatment have been shown to work so it's important for parents to be open and supportive. Blaming yourself - or anyone else - doesn't help.

Boy at desk

Did you know that, on average, three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health issue?

Bullying

Alex Holmes, anti-bullying manager for the Diana Awards, offers advice on how to recognise bullying and what to do if your child is affected.

Cyberbullying

Alex Holmes, the Diana Award anti-bullying programme manager, was previously a victim of bullying and now runs the anti-bullying ambassadors programme. In this video, he explains what cyberbullying is, why it hurts - and what you can do about it.

Reaching out

Alex Holmes, anti-bullying programme manager for the Diana Award, outlines some useful things to do if your child is being bullied.

Group of cats

Why are so many girls dissatisfied with their appearance? What effect does this have on their school work and their confidence? What can you do to help?

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