Prevent exposure to inappropriate content

How to keep your child safe online

Get tips on how to use tech tools to filter and block inappropriate content on children’s device and what conversations to have to keep them safe online.

Get support on how to protect children from explicit content online
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Parental Control tools can help protect your child from accessing inappropriate content but can’t block everything.

In addition to controls, having regular conversations about what they may see will help children build good coping strategies to deal with whatever the internet throws at them.

Many sites have a minimum age limit of 13 – including YouTube and Facebook. Explain to your child that age limits are there to help protect them from seeing things they may not be ready for.

Talk to other parents and your child’s school to see what sort of rules they’re following and what they would recommend.

Find out the kind of things your child likes to do online and agree which websites and apps are best for them and set some rules. Talk about how they search the internet; there are child-friendly search engines that are especially suitable for children.

Let your child know that they can talk to you or a trusted adult if they come across anything that upsets them online.

3 tips to prevent exposure to adult content

Block adult content

Set parental controls across platforms and devices. Parental controls can help block and filter content to prevent exposure to inappropriate material.

Cross-device parental controls include:

Use the Little Digital Helps Toolkit, created with Tesco Mobile, to get personalised parental controls advice.

Find suitable sites for your child

Talk to your child about their interests to help them find suitable sites to visit and apps to use. Review these sites as they get older and use anything new together.

Learn how to help children find new apps here.

Talk with them about their digital life

Parental controls are a great safety net. However, they cannot replace the benefits of open conversations.

Talk to your child about what inappropriate content is and why it’s harmful to some. Discuss their own experiences and ask them to take you through how they have dealt with it.

Together, discuss the process for reporting inappropriate content and how you can support them. Some children feel awkward about going to their parents, or like they might get in trouble, so open and regular conversations will help them feel like they can come to you if something goes wrong.

How to talk about adult content

As soon as your child starts to use the internet -- or before -- talk about what they might find there. Here are some tips to support you.

Talk about what it looks like

Prevent exposure to inappropriate content by helping your child understand what it is.

Explain that sometimes they might come across things that they’d prefer not to see, or that you would prefer they didn’t see. This content might show scary things or things that make them feel uncomfortable. Or, it might be content that is violent, sexual, hateful or misleading. As such, you as their parent might not want them to see it.

Agree on ground rules

Once your child understands what inappropriate content is, clearly explain what is or is not acceptable for them to access. With older children, you might involve them in these decisions while helping them set safety features on their favourite device or platform.

With your child, decide on the content best-suited for their needs, maturity and development. Violent video games, for instance, might scare one child while another isn’t bothered at all. So, decide together what works and revisit those ground rules as they grow.

Have regular check-ins

Have these conversations regularly. Ask them about their favourite game or content creator, whether they’ve seen anything worrying and what they did to tackle it.

Normalising conversations can help children feel more willing to come to you for help. It can also help you pick up on any misunderstandings or gaps in their understanding of actions to take.

Conversation guide

Get tips on talking about your child's digital life.


How to manage access to adult content

As a parent you have some decisions to make about how you want your child to engage online and on social media and what measures you want to put in place to help protect them.

Along with setting up parental controls, you can also encourage your child to use child-friendly search engines, such as Swiggle. Additionally, you can activate SafeSearch settings across search engines like Google and Bing.

You can also activate the safety measures offered by different sites. TikTok, for example, has Family Pairing to help you manage your child’s digital experiences.

Explore other social media apps guides to manage access to inappropriate content.

Explore our how-to guides

Learn how to manage parental controls and prevent access to inappropriate content.


How to use TikTok’s privacy settings

YouTube Kids

How to set YouTube Kids

Google SafeSearch

How to turn on Google SafeSearch
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