YOUNGSTERS across Bucks are learning how to spend their time online more safely today, thanks to Safer Internet Day 2014.

Organised by the Safer Internet Centre the day aims to promote the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones for children and young people.

Sorin Mustaca, security expert at anti-virus software company Avira, has some helpful tips to support schools and parents with children experimenting online:

Educate: Explain what sort of behaviour is appropriate and what isn’t, and discuss the risks of giving out personal information and interacting with strangers. Make sure their privacy and security settings are up to date on the social media sites they are using.

Cyber bullying: Often starting as a few jokes, cyber bullying can soon get out of control without any way of turning back. Explain the importance of not responding to derogatory and rude comments, and advise them to contact the websites’ admin team. Take screenshots of negative comments to prove what has taken place in case it is needed as evidence at a later stage.

Use Parental Controls: Make sure somebody is monitoring conversations, not to spy on our offspring, but to protect them from any inappropriate behaviour. There are tools that will monitor multiple social media sites and alert you if adult themes appear on their networks, or if the child in question makes friends with an adult.

Carefully select content: Keep an eye on what your children/students are posting (status updates and pictures) to ensure it isn’t compromising – warn them that once it’s out there it can still be found years later and the Internet never forgets.

Be Friends: Strange as it may seem, being their friend online gives you immediate access to their content and you can easily follow their activities. Be aware that you still won’t be able to see their private messages.

Understand it all: Take time to get to know the sites they are using and actively use them yourself so you are fully aware of their capabilities. If it’s a bit overwhelming blogs, magazines and podcasts can quickly bring you up to speed.