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.
We’re helping parents to be Share Aware – because, just like in real life, children need your help to stay safe online.
Talking to your child is the best way to help keep them safe. You’ll have had conversations about crossing the road, bullying and talking to strangers. But, with the digital world changing all the time, it’s harder to have conversations about staying safe online. That’s why we joined forces with the NSPCC to create Share Aware – our straightforward, no-nonsense advice that’ll help you untangle the web.
Our goal is to get every family in the UK chatting about their kids’ online world, just as they would about their day at school. Because having regular conversations about their favourite sites and what they like doing online will help you make sure they’re safe. By following these four simple steps, you can act as a team so you can enjoy the online world safely:
- Talk to your child about staying safe online
- Explore the online world together
- Agree rules about what’s ok and what’s not
- Manage the software and tools your family use to reduce risks
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
- What if someone's stolen your child's identity?
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.
Get your child to change all their passwords, secret questions or other information sites use to check their identity.
Get in touch with Action Fraud and tell them all the websites that you think have been affected.
Be Share Aware – Safety advice from a 10 year old
The children pictured are models. Photography by Jon Challicom.