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Talk: having the conversation

Teach your kids the difference between legal and illegal downloads. Help them understand why illegal downloading is unfair to the people that have created the content, and why it could them into trouble.

Talk about how to spot emails that could be hiding viruses. These emails often try to get you to click a link, ask you for personal details or sound too good to be true. If they get a dodgy email, make sure they don't click the links, download the attachments or reply. The email could be from someone they don't know, or from one of their friends who's been hacked. If it looks suspicious, report the email as spam and delete it.

Explore: avoiding dodgy downloads

Most of the things we download are under copyright. That means it belongs to the person, group or company that created it, so you normally have to pay for it. If you use sites that offer files for free, you could be downloading illegal files. You could also be downloading viruses or spyware that could corrupt your device or steal your personal details. These can also be found in suspicious email attachments, pop-ups and USB sticks.

Agree: setting the ground rules

Cover downloading when you set ground rules for devices. Make sure you kids understand they should only ever download from trustworthy sites like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or Netflix.

Need help creating ground rules with your family?

Take a look at our family agreement template. It’s designed to help you create a set of rules that works for your family.

Don’t forget to review your rules together regularly to keep them up to date.

Manage: taking control

Always keep your anti-virus software up to date to reduce the risk of viruses and spyware.

Get your kids to show you the sites they use. If you need to, check the internet history. If the history is completely clear or almost empty, your kids might be deleting it to hide the sites they're downloading from.

For younger children turn the internet off, or set to airplane mode, on their devices so they can't get online at all.

You can read more about Apple security features online, and get help and advice from Microsoft. Or talk to one of our O2 Gurus. You can also call our helpline on 0808 800 5002.

The children pictured are models. Photography by Tom Hull.