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ga - Ok, with so much potential danger out there, how can I protect my children from the risks?

It is important to remember that there are many positive aspects to the internet, and that the best way forward is to proactively engage with your children in their endeavours to ensure that they are able to maximise their enjoyment of the internet in the safest possible manner.

• Get Involved: Learn more about what your children are doing online. Become familiar with the systems they use, if you don’t know how to use them ask them to show you or teach yourself how to use them.

• Talk to them: Explain to them the potential dangers that exist, encourage them to talk to you if they are having difficulties or experiencing problems with other users that they may be interacting with on the Internet.

• Set guidelines: Set Guidelines in relation to internet usage, when it can be used, for how long, what kind of information that they should be giving out, encouraging them to treat other users with the same level of respect that they want people to show them.

• Use available resources: Many of the technologies that children use today have resources that can be used to help protect children from inappropriate or obscene content. Filtering, Blocking and Parental Control Systems are among some of the options available.

• Be vigilant: Keep computers where you can see them, keep an eye on the sites that they are visiting to ensure their suitability.

• Report! –Any instances of suspected online child abuse should be reported to www.hotline.ie immediately.

• If you are not sure if the material is illegal or not, it does not matter, report it to the Hotline and it will be assessed.

 • The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the "real world". Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone 1800 666 111.