What to share online

What to share online

When kids talk to people online, their guard can drop in a way it wouldn't in the real world. So, here's what you need to know about sharing information online.

Explore: understanding personal data

Your kids need to protect their personal data, or it could up in the wrong hands. Personal data might include their address, full name, birthday, phone number and school name. This information can all be used for bullying, blackmail, grooming, or to steal their identity.

When people ask for personal details, it might not always seem dangerous. But you should make sure your child never shares their personal data online. People aren't always who they say they are.

Talk: having the conversation

Explain that anything shared online could be around forever, even if they delete it. There's no telling who's copied or shared the information. Ask your child to think about what could happen if the wrong person got hold of their information. Let them consider the consequences, the lesson is more likely to stick that way.

Let them know you're there to help if anything goes wrong. You won't be angry and you won't overreact.

Agree: setting the ground rules

Agree what sites, apps and games are appropriate for your child. If your child's wants to use a chatroom, make sure it's moderated and you've checked it out yourself.

Set some rules around the usernames and passwords they use. They should never include personal information like the year they were born, where they live or their full name. And they should keep their passwords a secret, even from their closest friends, but it's okay to share with you.

You should also check the privacy settings and age restrictions on their social media profiles.

Manage: taking control

Help your child to understand their digital footprint. Do an online search for your child's name, their nickname, their school or their address. Check the image results as well. This will show you what information about them is public. If you have any worries, discuss the results with your child and help them edit their profile to make it safer.

And finally, make sure GPS and other location services are turned off on your child's devices. Unless they need it for an app, like maps, then you can show them how to turn it on when needed.

For more help, look at NSPCC's Share Aware campaign. You can also visit thinkuknow.co.uk for more tips on keeping your family safe online

What if someone's stolen your child's identity?

Spot it

If you get a bill for something your child hasn't ordered, or emails from an organisation they don't recognise, someone could be using your child's identity.

Change it

Get your child to change all their passwords, secret questions or other information sites use to check their identity.

Report it

Get in touch with Action Fraud and tell them all the websites that you think have been affected.

Sometimes children share things they shouldn’t online. And the effects can be devastating.

NPSCC What to share online

Other ways to get in touch

The children pictured are models. Photography by Jon Challicom.