During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are relying even more on online technology.
Due to lockdowns and high-level restrictions, children are spending more time at home and may not be able to see friends and family in person. This makes keeping in touch online extra important.
Many children are spending more time online – and expanding the ways they use the internet. They may join online communities or start using new video-calling platforms. Children who receive support from services may go online to contact social workers, counsellors and others in their support network.
While all this can bring benefits to children’s mental health and wellbeing, children can be exposed to risk online.
When children spend time online they may be exposed to:
Europol has reported an increase in some countries in offenders attempting to contact young people via social media since the outbreak of the virus (Europol, 2020)1.
Some children may have limited access to the internet at home. This may impact their level and quality of education, their contact with friends and wider family, and potentially affect their mental health.
To help you understand and tackle the risks all children face online, we’ve pulled together some resources, including updated information on communicating with children via social media, running online services, tips for parents and carers and advice to share with children.
ReferencesEuropol (2020) Catching the virus: Cybercrime, disinformation and the COVID-19 pandemic. [Accessed 13/01/2021].