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Website Guidelines Internet Safety Issues

Staying Safe & Noticing Dangers: Parents Need To Ask Themselves the Following Questions

  • Can you use a computer and are you internet savvy?
  • Do you know if your child has access to the internet?
  • If so what do they do online?
  • Who do they chat to?
  • Have you any internet safety precautions in place?
  • Have you spoken to your child about the dangers faced on the internet?
  • Do you know what an App is and if so, do you know their purpose?

CARI’s Guidelines for Safe Internet Use by Children and Young People

  • Place computers in a public space where everyone can see what is being viewed.
  • Remember that phones, I pads, and other tablets can also access the internet.
  • Social media sites can be good for your teen but they do need to be monitored. Ensure your child has made you a friend on their page.
  • Educate yourself on internet talk, language and talk to your young person about what they do on line.
  • Monitor time spent on line to ensure it is not excessive. Do you have a time limit in place?
  • Compile a list of safe sites and chat rooms.
  • Warn young people about unsafe sites. Encourage them to become critical users, e.g. is this information true? Encourage conversations/debates as to the benefits and usefulness of some sites.
  • If you come across apps or sites that are abusive you can report to www.hotline.ie or make a report to your local Garda station.

Teaching Children and Young People To Stay Safe Online - Key Safety Tips

  • Do not give any personal information about yourself to someone you have met on the internet. e.g.  Address, phone number, where you go to school.
  • Do not send a picture of yourself in naked or sexual poses to anyone even your boyfriend, this relationship might not last and if it ends badly your photo could end up shared with people you did not wish to see it.
  • Remember that the age of consent in this country is 17years. If you are found to have/send images on/from any device that are explicit and are of young people you are breaking the law and could face a prison sentence.
  • Do not stay in chat rooms if someone makes you feel CREEPY or uncomfortable.
  • Be always aware of the possibility that everyone may not be who they seem and that people who prey on children and young people can pretend to be someone else.
  • If someone suggests that you meet up somewhere its usually best not to do this, however if you have decided to go ahead and meet them always inform an adult and ask for advice or permission.
  • If you receive messages that are of an abusive nature, sexually or bullying inform an adult and ask for support.
  • Having a plan is always a good idea so put one in place.
  • In your mind, pick one person from all the adults that you know. This person would usually be a person that you know well and that you feel safe with and trust. Let them know that they are the person you have chosen to go to for advice and support in the future. Knowing this will help should you ever need help or advice?
  • If you feel that you don’t have a supportive adult in your life there are lots of support services available to you e.g. helplines, support sites for young teens.

Internet Safety Resources

Specific Apps Information
There are thousands of Apps developed and designed for children and young teens. These include Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Kik and Snapchat, to name but a few. When used correctly they provide a fun and safe environment. It is important therefore that parents know and understand the safety features required for children and young teens.

Facebook is a social networking site designed to encourage people to upload, comment and share life experiences. When used correctly the site provides a safe platform in which teens can keep in contact with friends and family. It is important however that children and teens, have the correct safety settings in place on their accounts. Parents are therefore encouraged to educate themselves and supervise their children, should they allow them to have a Facebook page.  Facebook does provide a ‘Help’ tab in which parents can edit the privacy settings for their child’s personal account.

Instagram is a photography based site. Users can upload, edit and create photos which are then posted to their Instagram accounts. Instagram then offers users an option of sharing any of the photos through Facebook.  Instagram accounts if not secured properly can be accessed and viewed by any person through the internet by simply typing the name or any tag given to the photo into a browser e.g.  (Google/Bing).

Tinder was developed as an online dating App which in recent years attracted a younger audience who have turned the app from a dating site to a social networking site. Tinder works off GPS signals and introduces other Tinder users; based on geographical location. Users within a close proximity are shown to the child/teen (who decides) by clicking a “yes” or “no” button they decide if they like the look of a person. If both parties click yes a chat box is then opened allowing the user to chat to a stranger.

Kik is a messaging App designed for younger teens, allowing them to chat, send pictures and use editing tools like paint to draw over pictures. Chat is restricted to people in the user’s phone book.  Clicking on the ‘more apps’ link brings them to another page within the app. The user then is shown two images of young teens, either male or female and asked to vote for the person they believe to be “cuter”. Once a user has clicked on the image, a chat box appears starting with the pre-written introduction of “hey cutie”. Teens are then able to chat to strangers.

Snapchat allows users to send flashes of images or videos for an allocated time between 1-10seconds, to contacts added. Contacts are made through phone numbers, but can be added by searching through names in the search column. While the images flash on screen and are not automatically saved to the receiving device, it is possible for the recipient to screenshot the image and save it to their personal device without the sender knowing.

Although the above mentioned Apps are used a lot there are hundreds of other Apps that need to be monitored.