It has been over two years since I last passed on some advice about keeping children safe online. Two years is a long time in technology time and nowadays children can access the internet and social media from an array of devices, phones, iPods and tablets, game consoles, many of which portable. This means that youngsters are more likely to be out of parental sight when using the Internet (unlike the family desktop located in the corner of the dining room, a few years ago).

Whilst computers and the internet offer a wonderful resource of information, of sharing ideas and making friends, we need to protect and more importantly educate ourselves and our children to be safe. Kids need to be online stranger aware, conscious of their own and others privacy, as well as understand the pitfalls of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the risk of viruses and other internet baddies.

For some parents and carers this presents a challenge as their own PC and technology knowledge is below that of their school aged children. However, there is a fantastic website created for schools, parents and carers run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. It is a site for adults and children which educates in a fun way about the dangers and how to go about talking to your children about their online safety:

Many internet providers offer family protection software. The ‘PuterTutor household uses the McAfee Family protection provided by BT, but there are others available if you Google “family protection online”. You simply install the software and set a master password. Then you can create safe settings for each child depending on their age. These safe settings vary from filtering profanity and porn, to stopping online games and email. You can even limit surfing time if older children aren’t doing their homework.

Many tablet computers and iPods have built in parental controls which can be used to block inappropriate games and online content. This is especially useful on YouTube, where an innocent search for Thomas the Tank Engine clips can introduced an innocent toddler to a plethora of swear words!