To help parents in Leicester, computer software called CyberSentinel* has been made available for families to download for free.
CyberSentinel helps to keep children safe on home computers by blocking inappropriate websites, restricting the time children can spend online, and controlling access to chatrooms. Boundaries can be set easily by parents and changed as children get older.
It will be offered to parents and carers of children and young people for free for a period of 18 months from when it is downloaded to their home machines. After this time, families will have the option to buy the software for themselves. Parents will be issued with a unique “key code” via their schools, which will allow them to download the software for free.
*Pick up a voucher code from Beaumont Leys School reception.
Know what your children are doing online and who they are talking to. Ask them to teach you to use any applications you have never used. Keeping the computer in a family room means that you can share your child’s online experience – and that they are less likely to act inappropriately (i.e. via webcam).
Help your children to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends — personal information includes their messenger ID, email address, mobile number and any pictures of themselves, their family or friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it. Remind them that anyone may be looking at their images and one day a future employer could!
If your child receives spam/junk email texts, remind them never to believe them, reply to them or use them. It’s not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don’t know. They won’t know what they contain — it could be a virus, or worse — an inappropriate image or film. Help your child to understand that some people lie online and therefore it’s better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust.
Always keep communication open for a child to know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach young people how to block someone online and how to report them if they feel uncomfortable.