Digital Parenting

Before the Internet, parents felt that they had some control of who their children communicated with. Many houses had one phone and parents felt confident that they knew who their children were talking to.

The web has changed this and parents find it difficult to keep track of the multiple accounts and Apps that their child is using. The development of technology means that children and young people can easily speak to strangers and access inappropriate content.

This is why digital parenting is such an important skill today as children need to be given rules about how much ‘screen time’ they are allowed in a day, what type of Apps they are allowed to download and most importantly the risks of talking to people online.

There is often an argument that children and young people are ‘digitally savvy’ and that they can run circles around their parents when it comes to technology. This may be true with many families, however they do lack the life experience and wisdom that makes them more vulnerable to potential grooming by others on the Internet.

So what can parents do? In the first instance, it is important that they communicate with their children about what they are doing on the Internet. Children cannot be monitored 24/7and as they grow older into their teenage years, there has to be an element of trust and independence, so that if something did happen, then they would be able to tell their parents.

Secondly, parents need to upscale their knowledge and look at sites which help them to filter and put parental controls on devices. On Christmas morning, after the presents have been opened, children will ask how you work certain toys and parents will look at the instruction booklet for help. As many devices don’t specifically come with advice on parental controls, this is where sites such as comes in handy to look at setting controls on specific devices.

Finally, we must try and teach our children the rules about being safe when using technology and the Internet. When they are very young, we highlight safe ways to cross the road and to be careful near deep water. In the digital age, this now must be extended to enjoying the Internet, but doing it in a safe way.

Coming Soon: Our new parent online training course will be available soon. The new course will look at how children and young people use technology and the Internet, develop parent knowledge and understanding of the digital world and support them in becoming a better ‘digital parents’. Log into your E-safety Support dashboard to preview the existing staff and governor training courses and to check for product updates.

Written by Tim Pinto on May 06, 2016 08:29

New Government Measures For Online Safety…Same Old Story?

Before Christmas, the Department of Education announced new measures to protect children from cyber bullying, access to pornography and online radicalisation.

The proposals included:

  • Schools to have robust filtering in place so that children are not allowed to access inappropriate sites. This also includes access to content promoting extremist ideology which could be used in the process of radicalising children and young people.
  • Teaching about online safeguarding through the PHSE and Computing curriculum.
  • The measures have been welcomed by a number of bodies including the National Association of Head Teachers. The DfE will also be working with a number of other partners including the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and the National Crime Agency CEOP Command to update resources for parents and a new online training package will be launched for health professionals to assist them with handling online risks.

    However, questions have to be raised about the timing and how effective these measures will be? Releasing consultation details about the proposed measures three days before Christmas is surely not the best time to engage with practitioners as they take their deserved rest after a hard term. In addition, the focus on producing new resources for parents seems a little misguided when Vodafone and other organisations produce valuable magazines and leaflets which cover the same ground.

    Great strides have been made over the past eight years with internet safety in the UK, but these latest measures seem to go over old ground and represent nothing new. Compared to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner ( in Australia who provide a vast array of updated resources for schools and parents, there seems to be a lot of duplication with the current measures.

    In recent staff training, I showed the CEOP educational film, ‘Jigsaw’. It is over five years old, but it still gets many educational professionals concerned about what parents should be doing to protect their children. One staff member spoke about how this should be shown in doctors surgeries and on primetime television. In many ways, there needs to be a united strategy from the public and commercial sector so that it is not only schools who are targeting parents with the positive e-safety message.

    As I visit educational establishments, there are many comments for practitioners that they are concerned about the impact of unmonitored use of devices by toddlers and young children. There needs to be a real focus from policy makers to look at how to provide more support for parents as they support their children in the digital world.

    If you would like to add your thoughts to this topic, please use the comments section below

    Written by Tim Pinto on January 11, 2016 15:05

    10 – The official age children should own a smartphone

    New survey by Internet Matters reveals how parents of 8-11 year olds want minimum age enforced for smartphone ownership

    Internet Matters InfographicInternet Matters this week launched its ‘Back to School’ survey which reveals the majority of parents (84.6%) would like a minimum age for smartphone ownership in the UK - with age 10 being the most popular minimum age. With millions of children back to school this week, the new research shows that over half (65%) of 8-11 year olds own a smartphone and nearly a quarter (23%) of parents let their children take their phone to school. The survey is complimented by a Back to School e-safety advertising campaign and a new online safety guide by Internet Matters which helps parents keep their children safe online.

    Carolyn Bunting, General Manager at Internet Matters, commented: ‘With such a huge amount of young people owning smartphones and the acceptable age of doing so being 10, parents need to be more aware than ever of what their children are doing online. That’s why we have launched our brand new online safety guide, so that parents remember these safety precautions in their back to school shopping list for their children.”

    On the anniversary of changes to the National Curriculum in England, which made e-safety a compulsory topic for primary schools, the ‘Back to School’ survey shows parents believe the responsibility lies with them and schools to ensure their kids are safe online. Whilst nearly three quarters of parents (72%) said their primary school teaches their children e-safety, 67% of parents think it’s up to them to keep their kid’s safe online but 90% think schools could do more. Whilst mobile technology brings enormous benefits to young people, the majority of parents (82%) would prefer that mobile phones were not allowed in primary school.

    The research highlighted huge regional variations of smartphone usage among children with Newcastle revealed to be the kids “smartphone capital of Britain” - with 90.5% of primary school children aged 8-11 owning one, compared to Manchester (65%), Birmingham (61%) and London (55%). Brighton and Hove came bottom of the table with 40%.

    Child psychotherapist Catherine Knibbs commented: “It is no surprise that 10 appears to be the most popular age parents feel comfortable letting their children own a smartphone as this is the age that children move from a more simplistic view of the world to being more independent, think in a more complex way, and show the ability to understand the consequences of their actions. This adult-like behaviour in children makes parents feel more comfortable that their children are grown up enough to own a smartphone, but it’s a tough decision as parents need to balance this new found freedom with a level of supervision and boundary setting to ensure safe internet usage.”

    Bunting, further commented: “Every parent agonises over that all-important decision of when to give their children a mobile phone. Whether it’s peer pressure, a sign of maturity, or out of peace of mind, every child is different and parents know intuitively what the right age is for their child. Giving children this great tool comes with responsibilities both for parents and children. We would urge parents to ensure they have the conversation with their children about how to be responsible on their phones and ensure that the safety settings are in place across all their devices and search engines.”

    For more information on Internet Matters Back to School campaign please visit

    Written by Internet Matters on September 03, 2015 12:33

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