Things will go wrong online. How you respond when they do will make all the difference in the long term.
What to do if your child has been sexting
Sexting - also known as ‘trading nudes’ or ‘dirties’ - is when someone shares sexual or naked images or videos of themselves, or others. It may seem harmless but it’s illegal, even if it’s a child doing it. It’s not nice to hear your child has been sexting - but it’s likely they will be embarrassed and worried too.
Stay calm and reassure them that you can help. Try to find out who the images or videos have been shared with, and if it’s someone from school, notify a teacher to stop it spreading further. Visit thinkuknow.co.uk for more.
What to do if your child has seen inappropriate or upsetting content
From violent videos to porn to extremism, children of all ages may see things online that upset or worry them. As a first step, find out how they’ve come across it. It may have been an accident or simply that curiosity got the better of them.
If it was intentional, stay calm and have an open conversation about why they wanted to look at this type of content. Avoid punishment and let them know you’re always there if they want to talk.
What to do if your child has been trolling or bullying someone
Most children do unkind things at some point, but this isn’t necessarily a reflection on them as a person. They might be unkind to others for attention, to fit in, or even because they’re being bullied themselves.
Don’t beat yourself up but it’s important to deal with the issue. Give your child a chance to explain. Keep an open mind and find out the facts.
The main goal is that your child learns from their mistakes. Make sure they know it isn’t acceptable and that we should be kind online as well as face to face. Visit internetmatters.org for more information.