Practitioners and professionals

Online safety

What is online safety?

Terms such as 'e-safety', 'online', 'communication technologies' and 'digital technologies', when used on this site, refer to all fixed and mobile technologies that children may encounter, now and in the future, which allow them access to content and communications that could raise e-safety issues or pose risks to their wellbeing and safety.

Children and young people are skilled in using computers, mobile phones and gaming machines such as Wii or PlayStation Portable (PSP). New Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is offering a new world full of opportunity and potential, with children able to express themselves, play and learn in fantastic new ways.

This 'cyber world' offers knowledge, personal growth, extensive friendships and fun. But there are also new, exclusive dangers and challenges, particularly for children and young people. There are many concerns, such as:

  • Bullying
  • Addiction
  • Health risks
  • Gambling and debt
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Desensitising children to violence and intimacy.

Everyone who is responsible for children's welfare needs to understand the strengths and the dangers of cyber world.


Where can I find out further information?

Much work has been done by agencies such as Childnet and the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to provide resources to address potential dangers on the internet.

However, the constant developments in digital technology and the emergence of new trends means that those responsible for young people are unable to be complacent with the potential safeguarding issues that could arise.

The way in which the internet is being embedded into young people’s lives as the variety of devices through which they can access material increases means that professionals working with children and young people need to be informed of the possible risks that they face. Additionally, with the growth in popularity of social networking, professionals need to consider their own digital presence.


Gambling and gaming: the risk to children and young people

The Local Authority has a statutory duty to ensure gambling facilities operate responsibly, so that children and other vulnerable people are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling. 

Gaming for most children and young people is a fun way to spend time with friends. However the gaming platforms present within  many games can be used by adults seeking to groom and harm children and young people. 

More information, advice and support on gambling and gaming