Internet Safety & Harms

The internet! An amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways.

However, just as technology can play a positive role in young people’s lives, it also has a downside, offering a means for children, young people and adults to be bullied, harassed or abused. It’s never too early to start thinking about keeping children safe online and developing good habits when using technology. As they grow older, it is important that they learn to balance the benefits of time spent on and offline with the awareness of how positive and negative content and behaviour online can impact their own and other’s emotional and mental wellbeing. 

Social Media Apps

Social media has continued to grow in popularity with children and young people. Currently, the minimum age to open an account on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, YouTube and Snap Chat is 13. 

Despite published age restrictions, a growing number of children are using social media networks, with or without their parent’s knowledge and consent. By accessing sites before they reach the appropriate age, young people risk being exposed to content which is intended for older users when they use sites that are not designed for people their age. 

Parents have an important role in helping to prepare their children to stay safe online before they start to use social media platforms. The first thing to do is familiarise yourself with popular social media sites. Net Aware offers parent’s useful information about each social network, including age guidance for users. 


Cyber-bullying is any form of bullying which takes place online using technology such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. It occurs through many different avenues such as SMS, apps, social media such as Facebook and Instagram or internet gaming. It can cause significant emotional distress and impact a child’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Unlike some other forms, because of how and where it occurs, children are subjected to cyber-bullying at all times when they are online, including once they are home from school. It tends to be more extreme as young people will say things online that they wouldn’t say in person and due to the nature of the internet, messages can be much more far-reaching.

Cyberbullying can take many different forms


Sending threatening or abusive text messages


Sending upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games


Intentionally leaving someone out of a game or activity


Such as embarrassing images or video’s


Creating fake accounts or stealing online identities to embarrass someone


Advice for parents and careers to help keep children safe from bullying


How to prevent cyber-bullying and what to do if your child bullied online

Resources for Schools on Internet Safety and Harms

Education for a Connected World Framework

The digital knowledge and skills that children and young people should have

Thinkyouknow Jessie and Friends

Online safety education for 4 – 7 year olds


Resources to support safe use of the internet and to help safeguard young people you work with 

Safer Internet UK

Online safety resources to help children and young people stay safe online

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