Online Safety

The internet and all it can offer, is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with friends and family, however parents and carers need to be aware that it is possible for people who are unknown to children and young people to communicate with them via the internet.

Here are some things to consider if your child has access to a mobile, tablet, laptop or games console.

Buying a mobile phone for a child or giving them your old mobile?

Most mobile phone providers offer free parental control services which limit the content children can access via the mobile network to items suitable for under 18s. However, they may not always be automatically switched on. Check with your service provider that the parental control settings are switched on, and ask for them to be switched on if they are not. This is particularly important if the phone was used by an adult before.

Parental controls

You should set up parental control on all the devices that your child uses. This includes those devices that belong to other family members when your child uses them. Setting parental controls will help to keep your child safe while they are online by:

  • Blocking inappropriate content 

  • Limiting in-app purchases

  • Managing which apps children are allowed to download.

You can set up parental controls on individual devices and on your home WiFi. Most service providers will offer free parental control services and will help you to activate this if you contact them.

You should also activate the privacy settings on each app that your child uses, as well as ensuring that location sharing is ‘off’ on their device. 

These are some of the most popular social networks your child uses

Snapchat is the fastest growing social media app with users sharing photos, videos, and text. The ‘snap’ is on screen for up to 10 seconds before disappearing, or there is an option to have no time limit. There’s also a feature called Snapchat Story that lets you share snaps in a sequence for up to 24 hours.

Snapchat rules

Report to Snapchat

Snapchat safety centre - for instructions on applying security settings.

TikTok is a free app for making and sharing short videos. The videos are tall, not square, like on Snapchat or Instagram’s stories, but you navigate through videos by scrolling up and down, like a feed, not by tapping or swiping side to side.

TikTok rules

Report to TikTok

TikTok safety centre - for instructions on applying security settings

Step by step instructions for controls and settings.

Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app available on Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone. People can upload photos or videos to our service and share them with their followers or with a select group of friends. As with all the apps above, users can view, comment and like posts shared by their friends.

Instagram rules

Report to Instagram

Instagram safety centre - for instructions on applying security settings.

Facebook is currently the largest social networking site in the world with over 2 billion active users. It allows users to connect and share with their family and friends online. Users create their own profile page which they can regularly update.

Facebook Messenger allows users to chat either one to one or in groups. 

Facebook rules

Report to Facebook

Facebook safety centre - for instructions on applying security settings.

YouTube is a free video sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos. Users can also create and upload their own videos to share with others.  Every minute of every day, more than 35 hours of video is uploaded.

Read YouTube rules

Report to YouTube

YouTube safety centre - for instructions on applying security settings.


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