Support for Parents

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

It can seem difficult to keep up-to-date with the technology that children use. You can find more information and support about digital technologies below.

These have been provided as a support resource for the Online Safety for Parents Presentation by Catshill Learning Partnerships.

Download the leaflet

How do I report concerns?

If you feel in danger right now please call 999. You can report to CEOP if something has happened online which has made you feel unsafe, scared or worried.  CEOP works to keep children safe from sexual abuse and sexual grooming online. Report abuse or concerns to CEOP here.

If you’re being bullied online, or want to speak to someone right now, contact Childline here.

Reporting checklist

Bullying – What to do

  • Thank them for talking, try not to get upset, stay calm, reassure your child that you will help sort it out
  • Don’t take over, ask them what they want to do, discuss options and make sure they are happy what will happen next
  • If it is happening at school, talk to their teacher about monitoring, reporting and a lunchtime club they can join
  • Ask your child if there is a member of staff they can talk to.
  • Encourage your child not to react as if their being bullied. Tell them to remove themselves from the situation and report any bullying to an adult.
  • Monitor your children and check in with the teacher. Try to stay positive
  • Focus on the child’s strengths. Do activities that they enjoy to build confidence and self-esteem
  • Keep a log of evidence in case you need to take the matter further

Screen time checklist

  • Have family guidelines  – like meal and bed times
  • Establish a behaviour pattern as early as possible
  • Set and agree boundaries based on location, days and times
  • Share  – Both your own and their online screen time and experiences
  • Encourage creativity over watching- drawing, painting, coding, stories, videos
  • Extend play beyond the screen – dressing up as a character, role play off the device

How do I set up parental controls?

These controls are designed to help parents and carers manage their child’s online activities; however they don’t replace the need for adults to support and advise children using the internet. This online tool from Internet Matters  helps you to set up a personalised list of the controls used in your home on all your devices.   There is also advice on how to use the controls, with videos and step-by-step instructions.


Setting up children’s devices

Set up your child’s device using this checklist from Internet Matters.

Checklist for setting up children's devices

K9 Web Protection is a free Internet filter with parental control software for your home Windows or Mac computer.

k9 web protection

Where are the safe search settings?

SafeSearch can help you block inappropriate or explicit images from your Google Search results. The SafeSearch filter isn’t 100% accurate, but it helps you avoid most adult content.

Restricted Mode is an opt-in setting available on the computer and mobile site that helps screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube. You can think of this as a parental control setting for YouTube.

Google Safe Search  – Google Guide

YouTube Restricted Mode – YouTube

Where can I get guidance on the social media my children may be using?

You don’t need to know the ins and outs of all the apps and sites that are “hot” right now (and if you did, they wouldn’t be trendy anymore). Knowing the basics, what they are, why they’re popular, and what problems can crop up when they’re not used responsibly can make the difference between a positive and a negative experience for your child.

The site from Internet Matters below contains links to the parental guidance pages of most of the social media apps. CEOP have also produced useful guides and these are listed below.


Potentially risky sites for Children

Some sites have been identified as potentially risky for children. These include:, Tumblr, Secret, Foursquare, Snapchat, Keepchat,, Yik Yak, Kik Messenger, Omegle, Whisper, After School.


Instagram – CEOP guidance

Whats App – CEOP guidance

Oovoo – CEOP guidance

Kik – CEOP guidance


Snapchat is very popular with young people. It is a free app that lets you send a photo, short video or message to your contacts. The ‘snap’ appears on screen for up to 10 seconds before disappearing. Concerns have been strangers adding you, you cannot control what you see when you open a Snapchat from someone else and others can screenshot your Snapchats and then share them.  The NSPCC  Netaware and Connect Safely have produced guidance for parents.

Pokemon Go


This is a very popular game that involves walking towards and capturing cartoon characters or Pokemon’s that are displayed on the screen of your smart phone.  They are captured by by “throwing” a virtual ball from your screen.

Risks are centred around walking into objects, straying into unfamiliar or dangerous environments, access to personal data, the cost of in-app purchases and meeting strangers. There is useful guidance from the NSPCC , Parent Zone and the UK Safer Internet Centre.

A very popular music creation app. You can upload your own videos, remix others’ work, or browse content created by other users and by famous artists. Unsurprisingly as it involves popular music, there can be swearing and sexual content in the songs. Some families have encountered explicit sexual material despite the available settings and controls in the app. During an eight-day investigation, Channel 4 News found that nearly half of the streams viewed contained inappropriate content, directed to girls as young as nine.
No live moderation took place and none of the explicit exchanges – some lasting over an hour – were closed down. More details from Common Sense Media.

Identify the social media sites being used

The NSPCC’s Net Aware site is a great tool for identifying the social media that young people are using.


Conversation Checklist

  • Know what is on your child’s tablet or phone
  • Ask how they are using apps, who they are adding, the conversations they are having and who they are talking to
  • Agree a “contract” to look at their phone and check messages
  • Show an interest in their digital habits
  • Talk to them about what they are looking at
  • Be honest and direct
  • Make sure they know what to do if something goes wrong
  • Let them know they can tell you anything. However shocked you are  – don’t show it.

Age Appropriate Guidance

The following points may help in identifying actions that are appropriate to children of different ages.


  • Explore together
  • Put yourself in control
  • Use passwords
  • Search safely
  • Be involved
  • Manage access
  • Help them through games
  • Set boundaries


  • Agree boundaries
  • Explore together
  • Put yourself in control
  • Use airplane mode
  • Stay involved
  • Talk to siblings
  • Search safely
  • Check if it’s suitable


  • Have free and frank discussions
  • Manage their devices
  • Put yourself in control
  • Stay safe on the move
  • Have an agreement
  • Start discussions about social networking early
  • Keep private information private
  • Check age ratings


  • Stay involved
  • Keep their information private
  • Stay safe on the move
  • Be responsible
  • Talk about online reputation
  • Adjust controls
  • Show you trust them
  • Don’t give in

Online Gaming checklist

  • Play together in a communal room
  • Check age (PEGI) ratings
  • Set up parental controls
  • Take regular breaks
  • Check play history

Social Media via Gaming Consoles

There are many games-specific chat rooms and ways to make friends online through consoles and other internet sites. Gaming platforms have their own way of allowing users to communicate. The popular social gaming platforms are Steam, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Nintendo Network, Twitch and YouTube. Find out more from Internet Matters.

Information for parents and activities for young people


CEOP’s ThinkUknow site has  information for parents and lots of fun activities for young people.

CEOP Think you know

Internet Matters App

Internet Matters have a free tablet based app to help parents have conversations with their children about staying safe while online. The App is an interactive game, where parents and children work together to answer multiple choice questions on a number of topics, e.g. cyberbullying, privacy & identity, inappropriate content. The app has been developed to target parents with children aged 8-11. Each answers a number of questions in order to earn points towards a ‘tilting’ game which can be played together.  Download the tablet-only app for free from Appstore or Googleplay

Romeo and Juliet

This short film that tells the age-old story of Romeo and Juliet… with a modern twist. It shows how the lives of these young lovers might play out online today, including the Lark ‘tweeting’ and Romeo ‘friending’ Juliet.

Teaching Social Media skills

There sites such as Grom Social or Club Penguin that are designed for young people and have safeguards in place such as filtering and strict rules against forbidden activities. It can be used to get a feel for the types of actions and activities one can engage in via social media. We suggest you talk to your children about communications basics, including what these types of platforms are good for and why people use them. It is a good idea to get them to work with them to show the ins and outs of social media accounts.

Language and acronyms

Web hosting reviewers WhoisHostingThis have produced a useful infographic that lists the sometimes confusing acronyms like “IDK” that young people use.

How do I keep my family safe and secure?

Free Wi-Fi is ideal when you and your family are travelling. Coffee shops, airports, hotels, shopping centres, restaurants and bars all have  free Wi-Fi these days. However they also pose a huge risk to your online security. All it takes is a single hack of a Facebook account, banking password, or Gmail account (which has access to everything) to put you and your family at risk. Even at home it is possible for someone to hack into your child’s webcam and take photos or record conversations within minutes.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to access any public network but your activities remain like they were on a private one. The VPN hides your IP address by encrypting your connection. It means that you can browse the internet anonymously so that your web searches are not logged. It is much more secure to go online in this way.

A VPN is easy to install on your PC, tablet, phone or TV streaming device such as Amazon FireTV with an app or a download. Expect to pay around £4 a month to protect all your devices. There are free VPNs around but these can be quite limiting. Also bear in mind that VPNs pay affiliate sites to recommend them. Some sites are honest and give good recommendations, but with so many VPNs out there, it is hard to find recommendations of VPNs that don’t play the commission game. Take a look at   and also for more information and reviews of free and paid for VPNs.

To find out more about online safety, contact us.