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We all use search engines; for example Google, Yahoo or Ask, and if we want an answer to something, chances are we will search the internet for it. Our children are no different.
While searching holds obvious benefits for children and young people – researching school projects for example – it also carries a risk of exposure to material that is inappropriate, potentially harmful or even illegal.
- Do some searching yourself. Test a few ‘innocent’ words and see what comes up. This is a good way to check your computer settings and ensure inappropriate content is being filtered out.
- Talk to your child about being as accurate as possible when searching – the more words you use the more relevant the search results will be.
- Remind children that not all information held on the internet is reliable. You must not believe everything you read!
- Know the difference between ‘automated search results’ and ‘sponsored links’ which are results that are paid for. Search providers will differentiate between the two and it is important you can tell the difference.
- Take the time to get to know the search provider you and your children use. Have a look at their safety advice and research their filtering processes.
- Consider installing filtering software onto the computer to help protect your child from inappropriate / harmful content.
- There are some search providers designed for children – www.swiggle.org.uk is one such site, www.kidclicks.org is another. See also our Useful Links section.
- If you come across inappropriate or harmful material – report it to the authorities. Find out more about reporting content in our Useful Links section.
Download this ‘Parents Guide to Search and Search Providers’ – created by Childnet and the Home Office.
You can also read further information and advice on internet safety by following this link.