Supporting young people with SEND online – New hot topic

Posted on 25 February 2020

Our new hot topic is designed for parents and carers of young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

The hot topic offers advice and guidance on what content a child might see online. It also covers key topics such as communication with others, friendships online, and information about appropriate behaviour online.

Becky Nancarrow, Senior Projects Officer at Childnet explains why this work is so important;

‘At Childnet our aim is to make the internet a safe and great place for all young people, and supporting young people with SEND online is a vital part of this. In order to support and help parents and carers of young people with additional needs we have created this brand new hot topic. The hot topic specifically addresses the issues affecting young people with SEND online.
When creating this hot topic we thought it was important to explore two main sides of online safety, looking at both how you can keep your child safe online, but also looking at your child’s behaviour and how they interact with others in an online space.’

The hot topic covers three key areas:

Content offering practical advice on what you can do to help prevent inappropriate images, videos, or website being seen by your child online and what action to take if it does.

Contact information about how to start the discussion about who your child is communicating with online and what are the key things to be aware of.

Conduct helping your child to understand boundaries and the importance of being kind and respectful online.

5 Top Tips for Parents and Carers:

The hot topic also provides a range of top tips for parents and carers, these include:

  1. Get involved - Find out what your child likes to do online and where possible, join in. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about what your child likes to do online, whilst also learning more about the sites, apps and games that they use.
  2. Make a family agreement - Using whatever approach works best create a family agreement to establish boundaries and actions. This agreement could be written, visual or spoken, whichever works for you and your family.
  3. Discuss online friendships – Talk to your child about strangers offline and online. Remind them that if they only know someone online that they are still a stranger, no matter how nice or friendly they are, or how long you have spoken to them.
  4. Explore who they can tell – Talk to your child about the importance of telling an adult they trust if something or someone worries or upsets them online.
  5. Give reassurance - Reassure them that telling someone is always the best thing to do and they will not get into trouble for speaking up about something that worries them.
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