Children's Online Safety Test
At Virgin Media O2, we want internet users of all ages to enjoy all the wonderful things the web has
to offer, safely. However, when it comes to educating your kids about the internet, you might feel out
of your depth, when they’re learning, playing and chatting to friends on websites and apps you’re
To get you up to speed on the things you should be keeping an eye out for, check out our Children’s
Internet Safety Test below, and keep on top of how your little ones are making use of the world wide
How to introduce the kids to the internet
It's important to build trust with your child and talk to them about the potential issues they may face online. Be someone that they can confide in, and reassure them that you're always there to offer support and protection should they need it. Take a look at our resources below to help you on your way.
How to keep your children safe online
In today’s digital age, the internet is an integral part of your children’s lives – from using online resources in school to staying connected with their friends through social media or games. But the internet can also be a dangerous place where children can be exposed to inappropriate content or even threatened. As parents, it’s important to stay aware of the issues and know how to support your children should they need your help.
What are some of the issues facing kids online?
While the internet can be a superb resource for your children, it also brings a host of potential risks, from cyberbullying to viewing damaging and sensitive content. It’s vital to build a relationship of trust with your children regarding their internet use so you can ensure they’re staying safe. And with Virgin’s highly effective parental locks, you can have peace of mind whenever they log on.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when people use connected devices to bully someone, perhaps by sending threatening messages or posting spiteful comments about them. A cyberbully can be someone you know or a stranger. It can occur at any time and can be just as upsetting as traditional forms of bullying. Because it occurs online, it can be harder for parents or teachers to be aware of it.
What are some examples of cyberbullying?
This is when someone is deliberately left out to induce feelings of rejection and isolation. Children can find this particularly damaging when members of their own friendship group exclude them.
When someone pretends to be someone else online and posts something silly or inappropriate. It can be intended as a joke but in some cases, it can cause serious negative repercussions.
When someone spreads false or negative information about a person to damage their reputation.
Making constant comments to try and get a reaction out of the person. Some trolling can be intended as a harmless joke but often it has a malicious intent.
When extreme or offensive language is used to try and cause stress or anxiety to the victim.
When someone is groomed to build a relationship of trust and trick them into providing personal details or photos – which are then used to humiliate the person.
Creating a fake social media account or email address to pretend to be someone else and then use it for negative purposes.
The use of online forums, apps or doctored images to try to insult and spread fake rumours, gossip or untruths about a person.
Constant online abuse which can occur on messaging apps or via comments on social media sites, chat rooms or gaming sites.
This highly intimidating form of cyberbullying is when a person tracks another in the digital sphere and sends them negative comments, which can include threats, to frighten and terrorise them. In some cases, this can even lead to physical stalking in real life.
How common is cyberbullying?
A 2014 study by Bullying.co.uk found that 56% of young respondents had witnessed cyberbullying and 43% felt unsafe online.
Anti-bullying charity ditchthelabel.org estimates that more than five million young people in the UK have been the victims of cyberbullying at some point.
And a 2020 study conducted by Cambridge University Hospital, the University of Cambridge and South London and King's College London found that the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had caused a spike in bullying online.
How can parents prevent cyberbullying?
It’s vital to build trust with your children so you can ensure they feel comfortable and safe to come to you with any issue they may be facing online. Do not threaten to ban them from going online as a result of being a victim of cyberbullying – that can discourage children from coming forward. Block and report the cyberbullying but never delete the evidence. You can compile this to create a case should it escalate to the point where you wish to involve the police.
How can you report cyberbullying?
In the UK, you can report harassment, malicious messaging or the distribution of private sexual images without consent online or by calling the police on 101. Social media sites will also have the option to report an account and block them.
If you have evidence of abuse originating from a Virgin Media IP address, fill in our Abuse reporting form. The information you need to include in your report depends on what kind of abuse you’re reporting.
What is social media?
It’s a website or app that allows members to participate in a social network and share or view content.
Is there an age limit on social media and how can you keep children safe?
Most apps have a minimum age of 13 but it’s important to check before allowing your child to set one up. Previously, social media sites may have only asked the user to enter their age manually before proceeding with their account set-up. But the Government’s Online Safety Bill is reportedly set to punish sites with severe fines if they fail to stop underage children using them.
Social media apps also have guidelines for appropriate content and the option to report a post or user if they have breached those guidelines.
What should not be included on social media sites?
It’s important that children don’t post content that could reveal personal or sensitive information about them. Ensure your child knows that they must not reveal their live location or address to anyone.
What is inappropriate content?
This may refer to content that is upsetting to you or your child, content viewed by a child that is intended for an adult audience, inaccurate information or information that could encourage your child to commit dangerous or unlawful behaviours.
How can you report and block a website for inappropriate content?
At Virgin Media, we created Web Safe for our customers: a tool that allows the bill payer to restrict internet access in their home based on particular sites or times of the day. You can also take our Children’s Online Safety Test, which will fill you in on what to look out for.
What are parental controls?
At Virgin Media, we pride ourselves on our parental controls. We created Web Safe for our customers to make browsing safety a no-brainer.
Virgin Media’s Child Safe lets the account holder block websites they consider inappropriate for children. It’s easy to customise by clicking on the Categories, Websites or Set timer filters. Clicking on and opting into Child Safe will automatically block the following websites:
- Suicide and self-harm
- Address hiding
Parental controls on social media
Most social media companies have built-in parental controls for their younger users.
Accounts used by under-18s are automatically set to private with their location sharing off by default, so exposure to strangers is minimal. The same applies to the Messenger app. You can also log on to Settings on Facebook and conduct a Privacy Check-up.
This app has created many ways for parents to keep their children safe. You can block accounts, block commenters, hide offensive comments, create your own manual comment filler, check log-in activity, set up a two-factor authentication – to reduce risk of hacking – and take off location tagging.
Photos and videos are automatically wiped after a day, they can still be recorded and reposted on Snapchat or other social media sites.
The best way to safeguard your child is to adjust the privacy settings and put restrictions in place so they can share and view content only from approved contacts.
While users have to be 13 to have an account, TikTok doesn’t require any age verification. The app does have Daily Wellbeing tools that can filter out content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. You can find this in the Settings option.
Top tips for mums and dads
Stay ahead of tech trends with these important resources for parents with web-ready kids.
Switched On Families
Modern life is busy, and you may not always be present when your child is using the internet. That's why we've put together an interactive guide to give families honest and useful advice on keeping web safe, called Switched On Families. Stay informed and make sure your tribe is benefitting from all the good stuff the web has to offer, with none of the risk.Go to Switched on Families
Virgin Media and other major broadband providers have launched Internet Matters, a not-for-profit organisation offering parents further resources to help them keep their children safer online; while supporting broadband parental controls.Go to Internet Matters
Reporting online threats
If you come across illegal terrorist information, pictures or videos on the internet, they can be reported through a dedicated government site. You can remain anonymous if you want.Report an incident
Online safety tips
How to protect your loved ones from the harmful aspects of the web.Learn Online Safety Tips
A parent's guide to cyberbullying and how it relates to their children.Read 'Cyberbullying' Article
Online identity theft
How does online identity theft work and how can you protect yourself.Read 'Identity Theft' Article
Inappropriate content online
How to prevent children from finding offensive content on the web.Read 'Inappropriate content online' Article
The burning question for parents: how do you manage your kids screen time?Read 'Screen time' Article