Government provides new online safety advice for families during Coronavirus lockdown

The government has today (Thursday 23 April) published new advice to help people, particularly children, stay safe online during the UK coronavirus lockdown.

The impact of working and studying from home

The fact that more people are working from home and with those that have children, it’s to be expected that many children are using the internet more than ever. However, there are increased risks of exposure to online harm such as cyberbullying and fake news and misinformation.

What is the government’s advice?

Following a virtual meeting held by the Minister for Digital and Culture and others, the guidance is a ‘four-point’ plan that recommends:

  • reviewing security and safety settings,
  • checking facts and guarding against disinformation,
  • being vigilant against fraud and scams and;
  • managing the amount of time spent online.

Minister for Digital and Culture – Caroline Dinenage said:
“Staying at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives means we are spending more time online.

This means we must all be extra vigilant, follow good security practice and make sure our children are safe too. It’s also important that we check the facts behind what we read and remember to take regular breaks.

We are completely committed to making the UK the safest place to be online, and that’s why we have brought together a wealth of practical advice which I urge parents to use and share with their children.”

What else is being done to help online safety for children?

As well as the advice mentioned above, the new guidance encourages people to consider:

  • the impact screen use is having on their wellbeing,
  • tailored advice for parents to keep their children safe online,
  • using parental controls to manage what children can access, for example: switching on family filters to protect children from inappropriate content and;
  • having conversations with children to encourage them to speak to a trusted adult if they come across anything online that makes them uncomfortable.

UK Safer Internet Centre Director and Childnet CEO, Will Gardner, said:
“Technology has proved to be enormously important in these unprecedented times. We know that children are benefitting hugely from being connected, but we also know it’s even more important that we take steps to keep them safe and happy whilst online.

That’s why we welcome guidance which brings together practical and simple advice for families in this difficult period.”

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