Tips for parents and teachers


Expand our top tips below to find out how to: talk with children about downloading, find legal content and protect your home internet. Plus read the FAQs for the answers to the questions you ask us the most.

Find out more:

  • Talk with children about computer use Open or Close
    1. Do you know how your children are using the computer to access music, film and TV? Check which sites they are using and talk to them so that they understand which sites are safe to use. The Content Map is an excellent starting point for showing them the services available.
    2. Agree simple rules for whoever is using your computer and your network, so they don’t upload or download illegally. See our family agreement for an idea of where to start.
    3. If your child asks to borrow your credit card to buy music online, check which services they are using.
    4. If they would like to work in the music, film or TV industries, help them to understand that using legal sites helps to ensure that everyone who works to make a song, film or TV programme is paid fairly for their work.
    5. You may like to discuss with them what the consequences would be for the whole family if they were caught breaking the law. Who would pay the bill if you were served with a fine and what would happen if your internet access was disconnected?
  • Explore the web's legal music, film and TV services Open or Close
    1. There are more than 20 million tracks licensed to legal music services. A full list of services worldwide is available at and lists the services available in the UK.
    2. You may want to use a service such as iTunes or Amazon MP3, or one like Spotify which can supply music to the whole household.
    3. For film and TV, there are many legal services now available to stream or download films or TV programmes online.
    4. To search for specific film titles online visit You can also visit The Content Map for a safe and reliable guide to digital legal services.
  • Check your computer and wireless connection Open or Close
    1. Are you aware of what is on the family computer? Talk to your family about what they do online, and decide what protections are best placed to meet the needs of the users in your house.
    2. Parental controls on software systems can also be activated to block access to specific websites and pop-ups. Childnet has worked with four UK ISPs to provide videos to show how their parental controls can be set up.
    3. Make sure your computer and other internet enabled  devices are protected against viruses and spyware.
    4. Ensure your wireless connection is secure with a password and encryption (such as WPA ). Your ISP should provide information on how to protect your WiFi connection, including details on how a password can be set up to limit access to your connection.
  • Parents FAQS Open or Close

    How do I know if my child has been downloading from illegal sources and what are the consequences? and all have lists of legal sites for accessing music, film and TV, so ask your child which website they used and you can check the lists of legal sites to see if their site is on it.

    There are also a few signs that you can look out for that will give you an idea if your child has been downloading from illegal sources. For instance, films are often not available for download or on DVD if they are still being shown at the cinema so, if your child is watching something that is still on at the cinema, check to find out how they got a copy.

    In terms of the consequences, if the copyright owner of the illegally downloaded content decides to sue, there is a chance that ISP account holder you could incur a hefty punishment in the form of a fine, or having your internet access removed.

    Could I be held responsible or prosecuted if my child has been downloading illegally?

    As the ISP account holder, you may be held responsible if your child has downloaded some content illegally and the film, TV or music rights owner decides to sue. This is the case even if your child had no idea that they were accessing content illegally.

    How are people who illegally file share found out?

    Generally, those file-sharing illegally do so on public networks. Owners of the content can access these public networks and detect when copyrighted material is being shared illegally. They then identify the IP address of the computer and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) which allows them to notify the ISP who then notifies the person whose computer has been used to illegally share files.

    Music, video, TV and film companies can get a court order that requires ISPs to disclose customer details that identify infringers. The copyright owner can then take legal action against the infringers.


The ethics of accessing entertainment online is an excellent topic for discussion in a variety of lessons, such as Citizenship, ICT and Music and Film Studies.

Debate with your students

  • How do they access music, film and TV and what does it mean to them? How do people who create music or films get paid?
  • What part does copyright play in the creation of entertainment and in the different jobs in the creative industries?
  • What do they think of all the legal online services on offer?

Teaching about music, film and TV in the classroom

  • Check out Childnet's resources on copyright. When teaching specifically about film see Film Education's resources.
  • Be ©reative is a unique production competition for young people aged 11-19, offering recognition for UK creative talent plus great prizes for individual winners and their schools. It takes young people under the skin and behind the scenes of the film and TV industry. 
  • Pop 4 Schools is an inspirational learning resource which uses the pop industry to teach curriculum subjects. 

If you want to make sure that you are using music, film and TV programmes legally in school then check an online resource such as Many uses of copyrighted music, film and TV in the classroom for teaching are allowed by exceptions in the law for educational institutions.