Safer Internet Day

Supporting children’s online safety

Safer Internet Day takes place every year on Tuesday in the second week February.

It’s never too early or too late to start an online safety conversation and keep it going. See our tips and tools below to support your child’s digital journey.

Practical tips to support your child

Having conversations with children about their online lives can help you to gain a deeper understanding about what they love doing and what they are concerned about. It also gives them the confidence to open up if things go wrong and gives you the opportunity to support them when they need it the most.

Here are 5 steps you can take to have ongoing conversations with children about their online lives to help them navigate it safely.

Step 1: Make it easy to talk

Create the right environment

Conversations about online safety don’t have to be awkward or feel like a lecture. Talking while you’re already spending time together — like during a meal, while driving in the car or as a part of a bedtime routine — is a great way to make discussions about online safety feel natural.

Listen to what your child has to say and give them time to form their words, even if you have concerns. Listen more than you speak, so they can see that you’re actively listening to them. Ask them open-ended questions to help encourage more meaningful responses.

A welcoming and open environment will help your child feel comfortable talking to you about their daily online lives.

Get more support here with expert advice from Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Martha Evans and Catherine Knibbs.

Step 2: Do the work before you talk

Understand what to talk about and when

When having conversations, make sure you’re informed. Explore the apps and platforms they use and read up on common online safety issues they might face. Understanding common issues and interests by age can also help you direct the conversations you have towards things you might worry about.

Advice by age

Learn more about supporting your child’s digital journey here.

Step 3: Start conversations off right

Use the right words and keep it age-appropriate

Help your child build their digital resilience by understanding where to start. For instance, your concerns for a younger child might differ from older children. So, it’s important to start off with the right context.

Additionally, getting to know your child’s interests can help you use the right language. If you know the different terms they use to communicate, what the names of their favourite video games are or who the different characters are, you’ll be better able to connect with them. They’ll also understand what you’re talking about and see that you have invested time into their interests.

Step 4: Tackle tricky topics

Find simple ways to approach tough topics

Sometimes both parents and children alike might shy away from tougher topics like sexting, online relationships, grooming and more. However, conversations about harder topics are just as important as those about screen time and bullying. They play a key part in helping children recognise risk and harm online.

Talk about reality versus media

Discuss how social media and mediums like pornography distort reality. Talk about the unrealistic standards portrayed online and how that is created for views or financial gain, not reality. Encourage them to think critically about content they see online to consider whether what they see is real.

Talk about the impacts of online content

Some content might leave young people feeling depressed, anxious or unsure. Algorithms that promote self-harm, fake news or other harmful content may impact how users think and feel about the world around them. It’s important they understand where to go if they need support such as talking to a trusted adult or contacting someone on Childline.

Explore here more advice from Dr Linda Papadopolous on how to have meaningful conversations about tough topics like pornography.

Step 5: Learn together

Use online tools to help develop understanding

Whether tackling fake news, discussing gender stereotypes or exploring online safety platforms, going on these journeys together can help you learn just as much as your child. Discover how they approach different situations, what they think about key safety issues and help them learn how to approaching risky situations to avoid harm.

Explore these interactive tools below.

Interactive tools to promote conversation

My Family’s Digital Toolkit

Prepare for your conversations with a personalised toolkit offering advice tailored to your family’s online habits and interests.


The Online Together Project

This quiz is all about gender stereotypes and can help promote discussion about important issues on social media.


Find the Fake

Have conversations about the content your child sees online and how they know when it is false or misleading.


Digital Matters is a free primary school resource for teachers

Digital Matters: Once Upon Online

Choose a topic and go straight into Once Upon Online. With your child, read the story and have them make choices to reach a positive ending.

Ask them about their choices, what else someone could do in real life and what they would do if they were in a similar situation.


PlayStation Online Safety Quiz with Sony

Press Start for PlayStation Safety

Do you know about all the PlayStation Network’s safety features? Does your child know what those features do or why they’re important?

Play the quiz together to learn more and start conversations about all the ways your family can stay safe online.


Cyberbullying conversation starters

Before online bullying happens, have conversations about what it looks like, how it impacts others and where to get help online or offline if it happens.

Explore the age-specific guides for advice on starting the conversations along with where to get support for your child and yourself.


Teacher tools and resources

Digital Matters is a free primary school resource for teachers

KS2 online safety lessons with Digital Matters

Promote conversations in the classroom with full lessons or chosen activities from Digital Matters on a range of online safety topics.


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