After reading this post you will be better prepared. You will be ready to protect. You will be a formidable defender of your children.
In this research on safeguarding children, I will be focusing mainly on those children that use mobile phones and the internet.
My research is presented into four substantial parts. The first concentrates on the child. The second on the criminal. The third on proactive defence and the fourth on robust response.
The purpose of my research is to establish and be able to answer the following question.
Can we take a passive role when safeguarding our children on mobile phones and the internet?Warren Luke 2019
I will lead you through the reasons your child may want a mobile phone and how schools are managing the new risks posed.
Though even with policies in place, certain types of bullying remain a risk and I will refer to respected peer-reviewed studies and specialist agencies whilst exploring the emotionally harmful effects such actions could have on your child.
I’ll explore and present the cunning strategies child abusers use to dupe and trick children into meeting with them. I will find that once a child agrees to and meets with a paedophile, it is near certain they will be abused.
Towards the end of this post, I’ll provide numerous guides to help you harden the security on many of the social media accounts your child uses and I will recommend using a parental control app to further strengthen your child’s defences.
I will suggest that one of your strongest weapons will be effective trusted communication channels with your child, who should be encouraged to speak openly with you.
Where risk or harm manages to breach your defences and your child is at risk of or subject to harm, I will suggest that a fast and robust response must occur.
This includes contacting one or more of 1) CEOP, 2) Police, 3) NSPCC, 4) Local Authority, 5) Crime Stoppers.
You should call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency.
- 1- CHILDREN USING MOBILE PHONES
- Should Every Child Have A Mobile Phone?
- Why Do Children Want Mobile Phones?
- Do Schools Allow Children To Bring Mobile Phones Into Class Anyway?
- Does ‘Your’ Primary School Child Need A Mobile Phone and If So, Why?
- What are the Cell Phone Effects on Child Development?
- General Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Phones For Children
- What Is Cyberbullying?
- 2- CRIMINALS SEEKING CHILD VICTIMS
- What Is Grooming of A Child?
- The Strategy of A Paedophile
- The Grooming Process
- The Offline Meeting
- The Secret
- How to Identify Grooming Behaviour from The Perpetrator Early On
- 3- PROACTIVE DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN
- What Is Safeguarding and Child Protection?
- Here are Some Best Practices for safeguarding children
- What Does Ethical and Nurturing Practices Mean?
- Is It Ethical to Look Through A Childs Phone?
- Native Parental Control On Android
- Best Parental Control Apps for Children Under £50 Or $60 Guide
- Zift/ Net Nanny (£45 or $55)
- Norton Family Premier (£30 or $37)
- Kaspersky Safe Kids ($15 Or £12)
- 4- EFFECTIVE SECURITY SETTINGS FOR CHILDREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- GUIDE 1: What are the Best Security Settings for Facebook?
- GUIDE 2: What are the Best Security Settings for Twitter?
- GUIDE 3: What are the Best Security Settings for YouTube?
- GUIDE 4: What are the Best Security Settings for Instagram?
- 5- EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO CHILD THREATS AND RISKS
- What Do You Do If You Suspect an Online Predator?
- How Do I Report A Child Exploitation on the Internet?
- What Is CEOP And What Does It Stand For?
- What Can I Expect From CEOP Child Protection Advisors?
- The Advice From 2 Of Our Largest Police Forces Is Simple but Clear
1- CHILDREN USING MOBILE PHONES
Should Every Child Have A Mobile Phone?
My son thinks so. He said it to me. Face straight and intention clear. Dad, “Every child should have a mobile phone in school!”
Why was he saying this?
Because his school had just decided that they were going to ban mobile phones during the school day.
Because one young child had decided he was going to be famous, posting a school fight on YouTube.
My son couldn’t see how this was fair. I agreed with him. But didn’t tell him that.
Instead, I sat him down and with my serious ‘Dad’ face. Explained how the school was responsible for child safety and child safeguarding. He wasn’t swayed.
I wasn’t about to give him statistics on paedophiles and child abuse.
But as I said, I did agree with my son in part. I agreed that it is often the case that children should have mobile phones. I sometimes use them to remind my children where they live.
But I don’t agree that every child should have a mobile phone. (or tablet, or phablet or any other digital device). Children have different levels of maturity and so should be approached as individuals.
I told him so.
He asked, “Why?”.
All I could think of to say was, “Because I say so”.
This was the beginning of smarter, harder questions. I wanted to be able to answer them honestly, authoritatively and fairly.
My research began.
Why Do Children Want Mobile Phones?
Many parents just think it’s the norm and can sometimes leave their children playing on their phones for hours. Not even knowing what they are doing on there.
I don’t like that.
We need to look at what attracts children to mobile phones and then decide if we can secure those things enough to keep our children safe or not. If we can’t. We don’t allow our children to access it. If we can. We allow them. With caution.
So, let’s understand, how they can be safe, why they are so keen to use mobile phones, and how we can better understand, monitor and advise them.
The most common reasons children are so passionate about mobile phones is to:
- Use social media (more on that later)
- Stay in touch with their friends
- Use apps and games
- Communicate with family
- Feel older than they really are
- Provide a safety vector in the event they have a need to call home or the police.
Do Schools Allow Children To Bring Mobile Phones Into Class Anyway?
Most UK schools now have a strict policy on children using mobile phones in school. Many of them claim the policy is necessary to improve student performance. Some share my views of ‘child safety and safeguarding first’. Some don’t.
Roding Primary School in England acknowledges that mobile phones are common and have a range of uses for parents and children.
The school permits children who walk to school to bring their mobile phone, but on the condition, it is turned off and out of sight for the duration of the school.
This seems like a relatively balanced approach and appears to actively encourage children to own and have mobile phones to use when they walk to school.
The problem with the policy is that it’s rather generic, stating that the taking of a photograph would constitute removal of the phone. In theory, this would mean taking a selfie of an image of a tree would breach the guidelines.
Difficult to police and too non-specific.
West Park school, in the UK, go further and define misuse actions which children using mobile phones could commit.
- Deliberately creating a situation containing humiliation or embarrassment for another child so you can record it.
- Bullying by text message and other means
- The sending of provocative images and text messages
I like this policy more. It’s very clear and absolutely focused on child safety and safeguarding.
There is no mention of convenience or distractions as being a motivating factor for the policy and it is easier to police.
Rather than ‘a photograph’ breaching the rules it specifically describes provocative images as being forbidden.
I wish all schools who were developing mobile phone policies for young primary school children would define exactly what constitutes misuse.
Clear boundaries. Teach them. Tell them. Enforce them.
In summary, some schools have an outright ban on mobile phones for school children. Others have rough guidelines. Some have clear and well-defined mobile phones policies. Others have nothing.
For us to make effective decisions we have to be familiar with our school policies.
If you haven’t already, go to your school website and see what their policy is. See if it protects your child. See if it works in unison with your own guidelines and rules that you will set for your child. See if it is effective or a waste of space.
Does ‘Your’ Primary School Child Need A Mobile Phone and If So, Why?
If you didn’t know already, France recently banned mobile phones for primary school children. UK parents tended to agree with the country’s decision.
It’s hard not to, with studies that find exam results improve for schools with phone bans.
Although looking into the matter further, it appears to me that the main motivation for France to ban mobile phones for children under the age of 15, was to mitigate distraction and improve performance rather than increase safety and reduce cyberbullying.
Therein lies the problem. I don’t care about exam results. Not for my current research anyway.
I care about the safety and well-being of children who use mobile phones and how these phones act as a vector for child abusers and paedophiles.
I won’t be distracted by performance and distraction claims. You shouldn’t be either.
As a parent I want you to know that you shouldn’t feel guilty that you are considering giving your child a mobile phone. Neither should you be complacent.
I will show you how to be assertive and mitigate the risks for your children. So, does your child need a phone? If so then what age should you give them one? This, of course, is not a minor question and I won’t treat it as such.
According to recent research, the average age that I child is given a mobile phone is 10.3 years old. Let’s call it 10. Primary school age.
But I’m not average and neither should you be. You won’t decide to give your child a phone because everyone else does. You’ll give it when you’re confident you can effectively handle the risks.
What are the Cell Phone Effects on Child Development?
After studying conflicting accounts regarding cell phone effects on child development I realise that there is no conclusive evidence a child’s brain is affected by the use of a mobile phone.
That doesn’t mean cell phone effects on child development don’t exist. Quite the contrary. Dr Jenny Radesky of Boston Medical Center observed that bonding and parental attention were affected by the use of cell phones and children were potentially losing out on emotional learning. But, that is for very small children.
I have not satisfied myself that primary school children are affected in the same way and so when deciding whether to let your child use a mobile phone or other digital devices I am not persuaded that we need to be concerned about limitations of brain development.
General Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Phones For Children
Now, you need to know the risks.
I want to introduce you to two of your child’s greatest threats. Grooming and cyberbullying.
What Is Cyberbullying?
The simplest definition of cyberbullying describes it as bullying that takes place on digital devices like mobile phones and tablets. I like it. Simple and unambiguous.
You may be thinking cyberbullying is not as serious as some other matters. You may be right. But reading on, you’ll see the kind of psychological damage that our children can suffer and you may change your mind.
During my hunt for reliable research findings, it became evident that….well… there isn’t much research on the subject matter.
In it, they discuss some interesting matters, regarding children and their use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Children using mobile phones.
We have discussed why children may want mobile phones. Some of the risks they may be a victim to. We have even seen that schools are clamping down on mobile phone use, but I think it’s important to build our understanding of the psychological effects.
This research allowed me to get an understanding of the kind of psychological and mental health risks we could be exposing our children to.
The study from Claire P. Monks et al involved primary school aged children. 116 boys and 114 girls aged 7 – 11 were used and the research focused on the amount of distress that is caused to children from cyberbullying. The results of which were:
- 58% felt worried
- 58% felt afraid
- 57% were upset
- 48% were worried
- 39% were angry
- 40% felt depressed
Now, I don’t know about you but for me, ‘child’ and ‘depressed’ are two entities that should never be in partnership.
I was concerned. Not surprised.
The report went on to find that victims of traditional bullying are more likely to ask the bully to stop, but child victims of cyberbullying are less likely to ask the person to stop and only 40% would report the matter to police.
Only (75%) of children would tell someone if their use of a mobile phone made them a victim to cyberbullying.
I’d like to see that rise above 90% with some of the safety methods and strategies I will discuss later.
For now, here are the plain facts in a graph that I put together.
Should children have phones at school at all if these risks and dangers are so prevalent?
Well, the roads are dangerous. People die. We don’t forbid our children from crossing them. We teach them how to do it properly.
I have always believed in educating my children on how to navigate complex situations most safely and I think that is one way we can be comfortable allowing our little ones to have and use a phone.
Recall, my greatest motivation for allowing my child to have and use his mobile phone, even during school was to aid my communication with him.
Research published by Nielson appears to show I am not alone.
From a sample of almost 5000 parents, Nielsen found that 90% of them allowed their children to own mobile phones to aid communication with them.
Another study appears to agree that teaching your child how to use a mobile phone safely is essential to reducing risk to them.
Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, warns that children being given new communication tools such mobile phones run the risk of being isolated and bullied if they are not taught the methods for communicating online.
Phones and digital devices have the power to make or break your child. Literally.
For that reason, whether children should have phones at school is not a black or white matter. It is something that requires a thorough analysis of your child as a person and a thorough analysis of the risks and how to handle them. I will help you with the second point.
Hopefully, you’re now beginning to build your knowledge. Building your confidence so you can make effective, correct and well-informed decisions for your child.
If you are responsible for the care of children in an organisational setting, then I strongly suggest you visit the NSPCC website where there are some templates and examples of anti-bullying policies and procedures you could adopt. Even parents could gleen some excellent tips and advice from them.
2- CRIMINALS SEEKING CHILD VICTIMS
What Is Grooming of A Child?
The NSPCC describe it as an action where a perpetrator works on building an emotional and trusted relationship with a child so that they can use manipulation and deceit to exploit and abuse them. Know this too.
Grooming prevention needs your full attention. Always.
Our children are taught to respect adults and more mature children. This can lead to confusion from the young child and leave them vulnerable to abuse simply by doing what we say.
The wolves are waiting. Paedophiles. With their sexual interest in children, they can spend months or years planning attacks with military-like precision.
Sometimes worming their way into roles such as mentors or other dominant figures where they can use psychological trickery and dominance to pursue their sexual goals.
Sometimes strategically building relationships with parents of victims, building trust, growing in brazenness, placing themselves into the personal lives of young children. Then abusing them.
I want you to remember this.
Relationships between paedophiles and children can appear relatively normal to children and the unknowing parents and colleagues.
Which is why victims are often left confused with who they can trust and unable to recognise they have been groomed at all.
The paedophile. An expert manipulator. A calculated hunter. Often manages to confuse the child to such an extent that the child can feel emotionally attached to them, even feel that they love them. That they need them in their life.
The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.Sun Tzu
For as long as children exist, paedophiles will lurk.
As parents, we have an absolute undeniable duty to protect our children from such vile criminality and that’s why, within this post, I will tell you how to disrupt the systematic, often predictable, tactics that paedophiles use. We will hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
The Strategy of A Paedophile
To better understand this my research brought me to the peer-reviewed article ‘Internet-related child sexual abuse: What children tell us in their testimonies’, by Carmit Katz.
20 victims of child abuse were interviewed. Only 8 were able to relive and talk about the matters. A small but vital collective.
Reading it brought home the fact that child sexual abuse on the internet was rapidly rising and the perpetrators seemed to be dynamically evolving as technology changed.
The Grooming Process
The report established that an identical process was identified by all of the children.
The perpetrators first met the children online before communicating with them and building a rapport.
Then the paedophile would try and obtain the victims’ phone number and arrange an, in person, offline, face to face meeting.
The Offline Meeting
Out of the 12 children, 8 of them agreed to the offline meeting. The children were confused during the meeting after observing the age of the perpetrator. One child said, “I thought he was seventeen, and suddenly, he was old, like my daddy”.
100% of those who agreed to the offline meeting was then sexually assaulted.
The report found that in all cases the perpetrator successfully managed to persuade the child not to tell any parent, sibling or adult figure. Though several children did disclose the secret to peers, who in some cases, were pleased for them, rather than worried.
The main take away from this research is that paedophiles use systems of selection and manipulation.
They observe potential victims before selecting one of their choices, then they trick the victim into two way communication.
From there they use the child’s naivety and other weaknesses to obtain photos and videos of a sexual nature, using psychological tricks to make the child feel important.
Most worryingly, a very high percentage of children can be duped into meeting the perpetrator with ALL that do, likely to be sexually assaulted.
How to Identify Grooming Behaviour from The Perpetrator Early On
Although there is no hard and fast way to spot a person who is trying to groom your child, there are indicators that should raise your concerns. Some of them are:
- An adult or older child who appears to be more intent on building friendships and relationships with younger children, than with people their age.
- Someone who keeps on giving treats to a child, where it just doesn’t seem proportionate or right. The perpetrator could be trying to create a bond between the child and themselves.
- Constant touching or hugging that seems excessive could be a sign that a perpetrator is testing the boundaries of your child. Seeing how far they can go.
- The sharing of sexualised material to the child could be an attempt to make the child think such communication and behaviours are normal.
What signs may a child give that they are being or have been groomed? My concerns would be raised in the following circumstances:
- A child that is usually bubbly and happy who becomes upset, withdrawn or distressed may be a sign that they have been groomed.
- If a child shows sexualised behaviour, language or understanding of sex, it may be that they have been groomed and led astray by a third party.
- Children that go missing for long lengths of time and spend more and more time away from home would raise my concerns regarding grooming.
- Spending increasing amounts of time on their devices and demanding privacy when they do so could be a sign of grooming.
- Suddenly changing their clothing style to one that seems too adult may be a sign that the child has been groomed.
As I said, spotting grooming from the perpetrator or knowing what signs to look for in your child is not a science.
Sometimes some of the things that I define as signs are completely innocent and normal behaviour.
We have to take a step back and look at each concern with a balanced objective eye ensuring we neither overreact nor underreact.
3- PROACTIVE DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN
What Is Safeguarding and Child Protection?
The importance of child protection must never be underestimated. What child protection means for different organisations or you as a family can vary. But generally, it can be best described as one of the following positive actions:
- Taking positive steps to ensure children and young people can reach their full potential.
- Offerings the provisions that children need including a safe and efficient care system
- Nurturing children and promoting healthy development whilst protecting them from the things that harm that development.
- Having systems and procedures in place that protect a child from abuse.
Here are Some Best Practices for safeguarding children
1. Open and Pleasant Communication
One of the best practices is to encourage open and pleasant conversations with our children.
No need to be too strict so they remain secretive but also no need to be a rollover. Rather, let your child feel comfortable speaking to you, but remain assertive and in control of your child’s safety.
To that end, define specific (no blurry lines) allowances as to which websites or social media sites your child is permitted to use.
Before they use the websites show them how to report inappropriate behaviour and have them show you that they understand how to do it.
Reassure them, that you can always help them if they come across a situation, they are not comfortable with.
2. Personal Information
Another one of the best practices is to explain to your child the importance of keeping some aspects of their personal information private and how online criminals can use available information to dupe them.
Teach your child to keep their location, school and home address private and realise people they talk to online may not be who they say they are.
3. Tell Them the Dangers
When it comes to roads, we tell our children how to cross the road safely to avoid getting killed. When it comes to phone safety and internet safety, we are not so forthcoming. We should be.
Tell your primary school child that there are people online who seek to trick, lie and manipulate them to cause serious harm.
Tell them, these perpetrators are excellent liars and touch on the tactics that they employ.
Tell your child, that if they remain vigilant and aware, then they will not fall for such tricks.
4. Private Areas of The Body
Tell your child that certain areas of the body should never be touched by strangers. Try allocating areas of the body colours, with the more intimate parts been allocated a colour such as red.
Tell your child that red areas should not be touched by teachers, tutors, or other unspecified people for unspecified reasons.
Teach your children that there are and should never be ‘any’ secrets.
What Does Ethical and Nurturing Practices Mean?
Someone who operates nurturing practices should embrace five core practices.
- Health. A child should be provided with an environment and lifestyle that promotes good physical health and mental health. This can be achieved through various means, including sports and mindfulness.
- Nutrition. A child should be encouraged to engage in dietary practices that give them the correct amount of nutrition to support their healthy development.
- Safety. Caregivers should protect children from harm. Policies and procedures should be adopted that ensure a safe environment for children.
- Early learning. Children should be encouraged to learn from a very young age. Indeed, babies are learning from the moment they are born. One to one care with lots of eye contact and gentle interactions can encourage new learning opportunities.
- Responsive Care. For this practice, you must be sensitive to what the child is feeling. Some children are too young to speak. Some are too scared to speak. Help the child to reach the goal they are trying to communicate to you. If the child is playing hide and seek, look surprised when they find you. If the child is telling you about their day. Look them in the eye. Interact with them and offer, a human touch, a gentle pat on the back, if they have done well.
Someone who operates ethical practices should:
- Respect the rights of children.
- Recognise the qualities and potential of each child
- Ensure children are afforded such environments that promote cognitive, emotional and physical development.
- Make sure services are accessible for children with special needs
- Embrace all ethnicities and religions.
- There must be no discrimination to a child.
Is It Ethical to Look Through A Childs Phone?
Having read the information I have presented so far I hope you no longer ask the question, “Is parental control necessary?”, but rather are deciding exactly how you can implement effective parental controls for your child.
One element of parental control is looking through your childs phone. Should parents look through their child’s phone? Absolutely! If you don’t, how are you going to safeguard them?
In the previous section, I described some best practices for keeping your child safe including setting your expectations as to which websites your child should or should not visit.
Children, as awesome as they are, are not fonts of honesty and are not immune to temptation or forgetfulness.
So, “Is parental control necessary?”. Absolutely, yes! Can you put parental controls on a phone or don’t you know how? Read on and I will help you.
Below I will show you the best way to handle parental control on ANDROID. Yes, I know some of you have iPhones but I think if I can explain Android phones here (the most common mobile phone operating system), then I will equip the iPhone users with enough ideas to allow them to experiment on their operating systems.
Native Parental Control On Android
Not everyone likes to download a parental control APP. If you are one of those then this part is for you.
I have put together a simple guide below. Though the protection is essential, it offers the minimal compared to the more intrusive apps and strategies discussed further on. Think of this as the minimum you should be doing.
Best Parental Control Apps for Children Under £50 Or $60 Guide
If you need something a bit more robust to protect your children whilst they are online then you may want to know which are the best parental-control apps for children.
Zift/ Net Nanny (£45 or $55)
This parental-control app will suit you if you want to monitor your child’s web actions but not their phone calls.
It is exceptionally good at web filtering and could just be the protection you need for your child. The app will allow you to track your child’s location, control ho much time they can spend on their phone and block apps that they aren’t allowed to use.
You can get this app on Android and IOS.
Norton Family Premier (£30 or $37)
I think you will like Norton Family Member if you trust large proven brands. Norton is a leader in the cybersecurity arena and with technology to combat the most sinister computer viruses and threats, they are well placed to protect your child.
This provider has all the options you will need and is exceptionally well featured Android but unfortunately, app management and text-message monitoring don’t work on IOS.
Kaspersky Safe Kids ($15 Or £12)
A weaker contender, but one that’s good for those on a tight budget.
It is ok for PC, Macs and smartphones and allows you as a parent to filter websites, set time limits and set location tracking so you know where your child is at all times.
App management doesn’t work on Android and so if this is important for you, you may want to look elsewhere.
Furthermore, iOS cannot monitor calls or text messages and so if this level of control is required then you will again, need to look elsewhere.
4- EFFECTIVE SECURITY SETTINGS FOR CHILDREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Security settings are often overlooked by parents but can be an excellent and effective way to protect your child.
Below I will show you the minimum security and parental control settings you should be using on Google YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
GUIDE 1: What are the Best Security Settings for Facebook?
Here is my guide on hardening the security settings on any Facebook accounts your child may use. I suggest using these settings as a minimum.
GUIDE 2: What are the Best Security Settings for Twitter?
The following settings will help to keep your geographical location secret, making it harder for strangers to locate you.
They also hamper a perpetrator who may have come across your email or phone number and who tries to track down your twitter account.
It also reduces the number of profanities a child is presented with in direct messages.
GUIDE 3: What are the Best Security Settings for YouTube?
I suggest using these settings on YouTube to limit the risk of inappropriate content from being displayed to your child and to mitigate the risk of a perpetrator from learning about the child’s behaviour and interests.
Please remember, YouTube is age restricted to 13+.
GUIDE 4: What are the Best Security Settings for Instagram?
I suggest using these settings on Instagram to make sure that only people following you can like or comment on photos or videos.
Don’t share posts from Instagram to other social networks as anyone who clicks the link can circumvent your privacy settings and access your photo via the link.
5- EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO CHILD THREATS AND RISKS
What Do You Do If You Suspect an Online Predator?
If you suspect an online predator is trying to groom your child then you should be the one responding to current risk to your child.
For that reason, don’t delay in making a report to CEOP, cybertipline, or your local police force, depending on your location and exact circumstances.
How Do I Report A Child Exploitation on the Internet?
In the UK report a child exploitation matter via CEOP.
In the US report a child exploitation concern via cybertipline.
What Is CEOP And What Does It Stand For?
CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. It is a command of the National Crime Agency.
CEOP can help you to protect your child from online grooming and sexual abuse but not from bullying. Bullying is not in the remit of CEOP.
If your child is being bullied then one option in the UK is to contact NSPCC.
What Can I Expect From CEOP Child Protection Advisors?
An agent will call you back and discuss your concerns, helping to make sure your child is safe and discussing a plan of action if necessary. Though if your child is in immediate danger you should, of course, dial 999.
The NCA is a formidable agency with some very unique skills at its disposal and if your child is in danger CEOP will use its specialist skills to help identify the perpetrator and using police partners, bring them to justice.
The Advice From 2 Of Our Largest Police Forces Is Simple but Clear
The Metropolitan Police Service and Greater Manchester Police say that if you need to report issues regarding child abuse then use one of the following:
- Police– call 101 (or in an emergency 999)
- Visit a police station and speak to a police officer
- Contact NSPCC
- Contact Crime Stoppers
- Contact your local council
Mobile phones and the internet present new dangers for children but with effective mitigation steps can be a positive addition to your child’s life.
You should no longer be asking yourself, “What are the risks of a child using a mobile phone?“, but rather “How can I reduce the risks?”.
We cannot take a passive role when maintaining the safety of our children on mobile phones and the internet. That is now abundantly clear.
A parent or carer tasked with safeguarding children has to take a proactive role to protect them from harm.
The effect of social change where mobile phones and internet access are becoming even more prevalent is that children are being exposed to levels of risk that didn’t exist before.
There is no scope for passive protection. The consequence of taking a passive approach is that the child you are supposed to be caring for can be presented with situations and threats that place them at grave risk.
Threats that they are unable to deal with due to immaturity, naivety or the complexity of the deceptions that perpetrators utilise.
I find that an effective way to mitigate risks for your child is to:
1) Understand why your child wants a mobile phone. The motivation that leads them to want a phone at home and school. See if there are other ways to achieve what they want, such as using your home computer, under your supervision.
2) Make sure your child’s school has a robust mobile phone policy in place. One that protects your child from cyberbullying and reduces the risks of grooming.
3) Build an awareness of the types of dangers your child is exposed to and the lengths that perpetrators will go to when seeking to exploit the child.
4) Know how to implement government level safeguarding best practices that embrace ethical and nurturing practices for your child.
5) Always look through your child’s phone if they are at an age where child grooming is a risk.
6) Mitigate the risk to your child by using parental control applications and by hardening the security settings of any social media accounts that are used.
7) Respond to child abuse or harm robustly through CEOP, where a child protection officer will contact you, or the police. To report a crime, in England, you should call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency. You can also speak to NSPCC, Crime Stoppers or your local council.
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Why You May Decide to Trust Me
I am Warren Luke. A father. I hold child safety close to my heart. The words I present here, to you, are sincere and I truly believe they are the best way to begin safeguarding your child.
Whilst researching how best to keep children safe whilst using mobile phones or other digital gadgets I have analysed and read a wide variety of information.
This information includes, but it not limited to, academic reports and journals where the professional research of popular and trusted academics helped inform me of the most pertinent facts along with legislation and law from the areas responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children.
What Is The Cybertipline?
In the US, cybertipline is a congressionally mandated reporting mechanism for reporting child sexual exploitation. It is operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and chaired by Patty Wetterling the mother of Jacob Wetterling, who was sadly kidnapped and murdered in 1989.
This post has concentrated on child protection legislation UK.
First of all understand that in England the child safeguarding role is performed by three safeguarding partners, local authority, the clinical commissioning group and the police. They are governed by some statutory obligations and legislation.
The most notable of which is:
The child act 1989 which is concerned with 1) the welfare of the child 2) trying to keep the child in the family setting wherever possible 3) effective partnerships between various agencies.
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, sets statutory child safeguarding obligations on agencies including 1) Local authorities 2) NHS organisations 3) The police 4) The British transport police 5) The probation service 6) Governors of prisons 7) Voluntary and private organisations 8) Early years and childcare 9) Faith organisations 10) Directors of secure training centres 11) Youth offending teams.
Safeguarding Children: Working Together Under the Children Act 2004 is a very informative document that many organisations refer to when implementing safeguarding steps into their organisation. It was created by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Children and Social Work Act 2017 is the newest child welfare legislation which has become the umbrella child welfare legislation, encompassing critical aspects from older legislation. The NCCA describes the key aspects of the legislation.
CPS (2013) Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse last updated 22 November 2018.
What are the 6 principles of child safeguarding?
What Are The 3 R’s in Child Protection?
- Response to Child Abuse
What Are The 5 P’s in Child Protection?
The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995: describes them as 1) Prevention, 2) Paramountcy, 3) Partnership, 4) Protection 5) Parental Responsibility.
What Is Child Protection Policy?
If you are tasked with creating a child protection policy then you should include the following as a minimum.
- Purpose and scope of your organisation’s policy statement
- Legal framework
- Vision: Acknowledge your responsibility to safeguard children and promote safe working practices.
- Key ways that you will keep children safe
- List of related procedures such as staff code of conduct, anti-bullying policy
- Staff roles including those delegated with child safeguarding dutiesSource
Reports and Sources Which I Used
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Booker, A. (n.d.) Teaching kids body privacy, personal agency, and consent begins while they’re in diapers – Adriel Booker [Online]. Available at http://adrielbooker.com/teaching-kids-body-privacy-personal-agency-consent/ (Accessed 15 September 2019).
Defend Innocence (2016) ‘6 Perpetrator Child Grooming Behaviors Every Parent Needs to Know’, Defend Innocence [Online]. Available at https://defendinnocence.org/6-perpetrator-grooming-behaviors-every-parent-needs-to-know/ (Accessed 17 September 2019).
https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-do-smartphones-affect-childhood-psychology/ (n.d.) How Do Smartphones Affect Childhood Psychology? [Online]. (Accessed 15 September 2019).
https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/what-is-sexual-grooming/ (n.d.) What is sexual grooming? [Online]. (Accessed 15 September 2019).
Influence Central (n.d.) ‘Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives | Influence Central’, [Online]. Available at http://influence-central.com/kids-tech-the-evolution-of-todays-digital-natives/ (Accessed 15 September 2019).
Katz, C. (2013) ‘Internet-related child sexual abuse: What children tell us in their testimonies’, Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 1536–1542 [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.06.006.
Leeds Safeguarding (n.d.) LSCP – Section 11 [Online]. Available at https://www.leedsscp.org.uk/Practitioners/Section-11 (Accessed 25 September 2019).
Monks, C. P., Robinson, S. and Worlidge, P. (2012) ‘The emergence of cyberbullying: A survey of primary school pupils’ perceptions and experiences’, School Psychology International, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 477–491 [Online]. DOI: 10.1177/0143034312445242 (Accessed 14 September 2019).
Nielson (n.d.) Mobile Kids: The Parent, the Child and the Smartphone [Online]. Available at https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2017/mobile-kids–the-parent-the-child-and-the-smartphone (Accessed 15 September 2019).
NSPCC (n.d.) Grooming [Online]. Available at http://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/grooming/ (Accessed 15 September 2019a).
Williams, A. (2016) How Do Smartphones Affect Childhood Psychology? [Online]. Available at https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-do-smartphones-affect-childhood-psychology/ (Accessed 15 September 2019).