Advice to protect children from upsetting content online following sharing of Christchurch video

To help parents who may be concerned their children may be affected by the circulation of a video of the mosque shootings in New Zealand, our CEO, Carolyn Bunting offers advice on how to support them.

Despite the best efforts of social media companies, there’s a risk your child might find stumble across it or find the video of the mosque attack online.

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “Seeing a video like this can be deeply disturbing for a child.”

Supporting children with parental controls and coping strategies

“The internet will be working very hard to remove the video but because it will have been shared and renamed so many times, there is always a risk of your child seeing it – so therefore make sure you sit down and have a conversation with them so they understand what has happened and that if something springs up on their timeline that they are unsure about, do not watch it and take the necessary steps to report it to the website they are on.

“Tools like parental controls and safe search settings on search engines can help to protect your children from accessing inappropriate content, but you can’t check everything they see on the internet. You need to help them avoid unsuitable content, and cope with it if they see it.

Here are our tips for parents in case children accidentally view the video online.

Parental controls

See our conversation starter guide to create a safe space for children to talk.

See guide

Tips to protect your children from inappropriate content

1. Talk to your child about the possibility of stumbling across videos like this – encourage them to check with you first before they watch a video they are not sure about.

2. If you see this video or videos like it online, report it to the social media platform you have seen it on. The internet will be working hard to take them down, but the videos may appear under unlikely names.

3. If your child does stumble across something, stay calm and discuss what they have seen and how it has made them feel to assess what emotional support they may need. Let them know that these instances are rare, and reassure them that they are people that will protect them, you, their teachers, and the police.

4. Make sure you have set up parental controls on your home broadband and all devices your kids come into contact with and set filters on individual social media apps to block out inappropriate content. Also, set up safe search mode on search engines.

5. If they can’t talk to you, there are organisations like childline where they can talk to trained counsellors about what they may be feeling.

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