Following recent training at Portland House Nurseries and coverage in the national press this news item aims to highlight some of the issues regarding internet usage and offers recommendations to keep you and your children safe. New technologies, including gaming, can offer our children many exciting and positive experiences. However nurseries and schools are increasingly aware of the negative impact that some online gaming is having on the education, achievement, sleep and behaviour of children. To find out more about the online games your children are playing and obtain advice offered to parents/carers based on research, please do listen to the Radio Verulam’s Parent’s Show podcast ‘Computer games and your kids’ http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-parents-show/id443161154 The internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children's use of technology can be a challenge, especially if you feel that your children may have better technical skills than you do. However, children and young people still need support and guidance when it comes to managing their lives online and using the internet positively and safely. For detailed information please visit http://www.childnet.com/ufiles/Keeping-Young-Children-Safe-Online.pdf and download the fact sheet. Setting parental controls on phones, computers and tablets can also be a minefield Vodafone offer a free magazine called digital parenting with information on all these issues, it can be ordered from their website or downloaded from here http://vodafonedigitalparenting.co.uk/ On average 3-4 year olds use the internet for 6.5 hours per week In our ever growing technological world children are now using computers, tablets and mobile phones from a much younger age and for a significant amount of time per week. Whilst the internet is a fantastic educational resource it can also be a dangerous place where people can hide their identity and inappropriate websites can be accessed easily. What you can do… • Check websites are suitable before your child visits them. • Use the internet together so that you can see what your children are looking at. • Ask other parents and staff at nursery or school what websites they recommend. • Ensure that the games and sites your children are looking at are age appropriate. Talk to your children about keeping safe online. Use the internet together. Set up parental filters. Change factory default codes on cameras and mobile phones. Change your passwords regularly. Further information on E-safety can be found at: www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety http://www.childnet.com/ http://www.internetmatters.org/ www.saferinternet.org.uk Children access explicit content online Children learn fast. Before we know it they have worked out how to switch on the computer, search for sites and play games online. Often children access inappropriate content online by mistake, however, sometimes they do so because they are curious and sometimes because they are lured in to websites by games or prizes. What you can do… • Ensure your home page is set to a child-friendly website. • Set ‘safety mode’ on ‘YouTube’ to filter out explicit content. • Set up parental controls and privacy settings to prevent children from accessing inappropriate material. ‘Home hackers’ spy on you and your children… with YOUR webcam Footage from inside homes, offices and shops is being intercepted and broadcast live on the internet – without the owners’ knowledge. Footage includes babies sleeping in cots, children playing on their computer in their bedrooms and the elderly relaxing at home. What you can do… • Ensure you change the factory default security code on your webcam/baby monitors/domestic security cameras/CCTV units. • Turn off the remote viewing option on your devices. Further information on E-safety can be found at: www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety and www.saferinternet.org.uk.