Upgrade to Chrome Upgrade to Firefox Upgrade to Internet Explorer Upgrade to Safari

Help & Information

Online Safety

Not that long ago, the term ‘online safety’ would not mean much to anyone and would have had no real relevance in our schools.

Parents would not have been concerned about their children’s use of technology and children and young people themselves couldn’t have dreamed of the ways in which technology would form an integral part of their existence. The twentieth century’s explosion of technology has been unprecedented and it is so embedded in our daily lives, it is hard to remember a time when it did not exist.


This technological revolution has changed our lives irreversibly and many of us wonder how we ever managed without it. Most of us use a mobile phone, check email, shop via the Internet and stay connected through social networking sites. However, many adults will admit to having less knowledge about technology than their children do and certainly the way in which children and young people use technology is very different to adults.

Online Safety at a simple level means being safe on the internet. Some people also include the safe use of technology in this as well. However, the pace at which technology is evolving can make it difficult to know what to include when talking about the safe use of the internet.

Online abuse can take shape in a number of forms including:

  • Online Bullying
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Grooming
  • Emotional Abuse

Online Safety begins at home. As a parent or carer you play a key role in helping your child to stay safe online, so it is important to chat regularly to your child about the sites they use and visit.

  • Ask them how they stay safe online, do they understand what is OK and not OK to share.
  • Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use. Our App Information sheets can help with this.
  • Ask them about their friends online and how they know they are who they say they are.
  • Encourage them to support others if they see online bullying taking place – even if they report it to the site it will help.

 Inappropriate Content

As children start to explore the internet, they may come across content that isn’t suitable for their age, or that may upset them or worry them. Sometimes, innocent searches can lead to not so innocent results.  And sometimes, because children are curious, they may look for things.

Inappropriate content can include:

  • Cruelty to humans and animals
  • Self harm websites
  • Pro-anorexia and eating disorder content
  • Online porn – Read the report from the Children’s Commissioner for England here
  • Hate sites
  • Sexual abuse and rape
  • Violence and other distressing content
  • Terror attacks and bombings

If young people see inappropriate content online, it is important to know how to reassure them and help them know what to do and where to go for support.

If your child is worried about something they have seen online, let them know they can talk to you about it:

  • Talk with them about what they’ve seen – let them know what is, and isn’t, appropriate for their age.
  • Reassure them they can come to you, another trusted adult or a BulliesOut Mentor if they have seen something that worries or concerns them.
  • Seek advice on setting up parental controls.
  • Avoid raising awareness by ‘sharenting’ or sharing explicit or inappropriate content you’ve seen online. Sharing content of physical or sexual abuse is illegal and can be extremely upsetting to the child and others who come across it.
  • Report any inappropriate, illegal, explicit, identifying or distressing content to CEOP through their website.
  • Block any distressing, inappropriate or upsetting content on social media websites.

If you are worried your child may have been taking, sharing or receiving inappropriate or explicit images, it can help to:

  • Talk to them about what they’re sharing or have seen, and if they know who else has seen the pictures.
  • Remind them that people online may not be who they say they are. Watch our Always Protect Yourself Online video together.
  • Explain that they should always think carefully about what they share online, as once it’s been sent, they lose control of it.
  • Let them know that taking, sharing and receiving certain images is illegal and can have upsetting consequences for all involved.
  • Ensure they understand they can always come to you if they see anything that worries or upsets them online.

Having a calm and open conversation is one way for you and your child to explore what is happening in an honest and supportive way. Talking about it will help you decide the best action to take to ensure your child is safe. If you are concerned that a child has been, or is being sexually abused, you should report it. You can report directly to CEOP or your local Police force. If you think your child is in immediate danger call 999. Report an incident to CEOP.

Whatever your situation it is likely that you will need support for yourself, as well as for your child. Talk to a friend or relative who you trust, who will listen and support you or get in touch with our e-Mentors.

Return to Website

Need to talk?

If you are being bullied or are concerned about someone who is, you can receive help and support from one of our trained Mentors through our e-mentoring service.

If you would like a Mentor to email you, please contact: mentorsonline@bulliesout.com

If you would rather speak to someone over the telephone, you can call Childline on: 0800 1111

For any community-related issues, such as anti-social behaviour, we would suggest contacting your landlord, the local police or your local environmental health department (where applicable), as we are unable to deal with these types of complaints.