Respect and healthy relationships online – how the Children’s code can help

Feb 8th '22

The theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day is respect and healthy relationships online. The digital world is a space for children and young people to hang out with their friends, to connect with distant relatives and to learn and explore. It’s crucial that children feel as comfortable and confident in the online world as they do in the real world.


Regulators, technology firms and parents all have a role to play in keeping children safe online. They collectively ensure respect for young people’s privacy online and drive action to make the digital world safer for them.


What can I do if my child is unhappy with someone’s behaviour online?


1: Look at the platforms’ community and behaviour standards

Many online platforms have community and behaviour standards that set out how their service operates – the ICO’s (Information Commissioner’s Office) Children’s code says that these policies should be accessible to parents and children.


These policies also set out what you can expect if users don’t follow behaviour or community standards. Internet Matters’ advice page includes a list of the community standards from the most popular social media sites, live streaming platforms and gaming apps.


2: Talk to your children about respect and relationships online.

Talk to your children to explain what is expected of them and their friends in online spaces. You should show them how to report any unacceptable behaviour they see or experience. ChildNet has a helpful guide showing you how to report on some of the most frequently used platforms.


Safer Internet Day has tips, videos and activities to help guide you through these conversations.


The Children’s code states that online services should set privacy at high by default. Children can change these settings, so talk with your child about keeping their privacy set to high. This gives them more control over who they share their data with, and who can engage with them online.


3: Raising your concerns

If you’re unhappy with how an organisation has handled your complaint, you have the right to raise a concern. The ICO believe that the organisation responsible should deal with it. They expect them to take your concern seriously and work with you to try to resolve it.


How does the ICO’s Children’s code help protect children online?

ICO’s world-leading Children’s code plays a vital role in helping to make the internet a safer place for young people. The code is clear – companies need to ensure their policies and standards are upheld.


If online platforms and services don’t actively uphold or enforce their own rules and conditions, then you have the right to make a complaint to the ICO.


Learn more about ICO’s Children’s code and how it can help keep children safe online.


Source: ICO


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