With the summer holidays fast approaching children and young people will have more free time to spend with friends, family and online.

For some, this will be spent using the internet to keep in touch with friends, catch up with the latest apps and online trends, and playing their favourite games.

Sit down together

For parents, the summer holidays are a great chance to sit down with your children. Together you can visit their favourite sites and play their favourite games, this is a great way to stay up to date with online lives and show them that you’re interested in what they are doing.

The holidays are also a good opportunity to have positive conversations about the internet, so if something ever does upset your child online they would feel more confident in confiding in you.  Our conversation starters are a great tool to help encourage an open dialogue with your child.   

Social media and staying in touch

During the summer holidays, young people may want to keep in touch with their friends through social networking sites or games. It’s a good time to ask them about what sites they use, and check any age requirements as many social media sites require users to be at least 13 years old

Encourage your children to use the privacy tools on the services they use, so that the content they post is only available to people they know and trust in real life. To help your children set these up, we have a guide to the privacy settings on the different sites .  You can also download the UK Safer Internet Centre’s safety checklists for popular sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.  

Talking about their time online

The holidays are also a good opportunity to talk to your children about their online friendships, the sites they use and encourage best practices online.  Why not:

Sharing holiday pictures

Some children may want to share photos and videos of what they are getting up to in their summer holidays online. Talk to your children about what types of photos are appropriate to share, and who they are okay to share with. Photos can hold clues that give away personal information. For example, if you share a selfie of you and friends, are there any landmarks or street signs that give away your location?

This is true for photos you might share of your children too! It’s always worth asking children if they are happy with an image you want to share online. Our Safer Internet Day research found that 2 in 5 (40%) of 8-17s said that in the last year their parents or carers have posted a photo of them that embarrassed them, rising from 34% of 8-12s to 46% of 13-17s.

Make a family agreement

A family agreement is a great way to start a conversation with your whole family about how you all use the internet and discuss together how to behave in a positive way when online at home, at school or at a friend’s house. 

The agreement involves generating promises, these are positive statements about how your family want to look after each other online and how you should treat others online. The summer can be one of the best times to sit down as a family and agree these promises together.

Most importantly: enjoy the summer holidays!

This blog was originally posted on the Childnet Website

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