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Harmful and inappropriate online content

inappropriate online content

We all have our own ideas of harmful and inappropriate content. Violent or pornographic images will be top of the list of worries for most grandparents, though it is also sensible to be concerned about gambling websites, chat rooms where there's no adult supervision, or video-sharing websites and forums that encourage anti-social or reckless behaviour, such as substance abuse or vandalism. 


What you can do

Talk to your grandchild about what’s appropriate for their particular age and maturity. Discuss the possibility that they might come across unsuitable or upsetting content inadvertently via a search engine or by clicking on a link or pop-up, or mistyping a website address.

Have Parental Controls and SafeSearch in place, especially for younger children. Many of the leading internet, mobile and games providers offer them, helping you to block access to 18-rated content for younger users. Remember that leading social networking services like Facebook have codes of conduct and community guidelines that don't allow obscene images or offensive messages to be posted by their members - so if someone makes a valid complaint, they'll take action, such as removing content and suspending members.


Top tips

1. Don’t just use Parental Controls on your computer

You can set them up on all sorts of digital devices (eg games consoles and mobiles).


2. Google SafeSearch is also available on your mobile devices

Use the browser to access the homepage. Choose "settings" at the bottom of the screen and you'll see the option to select Strict or Moderate.


3. Explore the internet with your grandchild

If they're using Google as their search engine, make sure you have Google SafeSearch in place. Moderate SafeSearch is turned on by default, but you can change your setting to Strict to keep out explicit text as well as images. Modify your computer's SafeSearch settings by clicking on the Search settings at the top right of the Google homepage. 


4. Discuss the importance of age limits on video-sharing websites like YouTube

Although YouTube has community guidelines for content, you may prefer to screen out videos with mature content - so opt in to Safety mode. Click on the link at the bottom of any video page to select Safety Mode and lock it for that browser with your YouTube password.


5. Talk about the implications

Explain why your grandchild shouldn’t click on links or open attachments sent by people they don’t know or respond to surveys or questionnaires.


And finally...

Your grandchild might be worried about getting into trouble if they tell you they’ve come across something that has upset or disturbed them online, so make sure they know they can talk to you at any time and that you won’t take their internet access, mobile or games console away!

If you’re worried that something your child has seen is not just inappropriate but could be illegal, report it to your internet, mobile or games provider. Go to the 'Help' or 'Safety' areas on their website to find out how.


For more information and advice, read our online safety tips for grandparents.










Images: Shutterstock

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