Government urges parents to keep children safe during lockdown

The UK government has issued new guidance around minimising children’s exposure to inappropriate content online during lockdown.

The four-point plan released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) outlines advice to parents to ensure children are less exposed to risks of cyber bullying and disinformation.

Recommendations outlined in the guidance included reviewing security and safety settings, checking facts and guarding against disinformation, as well as being vigilant against fraud and scams, and limiting the amount of time children spend online.

Use of parental controls to manage what children can see online is another recommendation, as well as switching on family filters, and encouraging children to speak to a trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable after seeing something online.

The guidance follows a virtual event held on 22 April 2020 with digital minister Caroline Dinenage, security minister James Brokenshire, and child safety organisations Barnardo’s, Internet Watch Foundation, NSPCC, ParentZone, Samaritans and UK Safer Internet Centre around the impact of coronavirus on child online safety.

“Technology has proved to be enormously important in these unprecedented times. We know that children are benefiting hugely from being connected, but we also know it’s even more important that we take steps to keep them safe and happy while online,” said UK Safer Internet Centre director and Childnet CEO, Will Gardner.

In March 2020, cyber security awareness and training body Sans Institute also published guidance and advice for parents around keeping children safe online.

The government’s advice around keeping children safe online follows the announcement in February 2020 around it’s intentions to appoint communications watchdog Ofcom as the regulator to enforce a statutory duty of care to protect users from harmful content.

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