Keeping children safe online

A Parent’s Guide to Fake News

safety net fake news What is Fake News?
“Fake news” is made up news. The information is false, an invention, a lie. It takes the appearance of real news to trick people into thinking it is true. Fake news can be used to profit from by tricking, influencing and brainwashing viewers.
fake news pokemon Fake News can be spectacular
Sometimes fake news is shared because it is sensational. Like this item about a car accident supposedly caused by playing Pokemon Go. In this case, the authors used a real photo, but they gave it a title that had nothing to do with reality.
This is a trick often used by those who invent fake news. This item was shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times online. The authors made money from paid adverts.
safety net fake news Fake News can involve a celebrity
Celebrities attract attention. A common invention is having a celebrity claim where they shop and eat. News items like this share very quickly, even though they are totally false.
safety net fake news Fake News that tries to sell something
Too good to be true stories which are obviously 100% false, flood the Internet. Young people are often the preferred targets: miracle looks in just one week, become a better athlete, do well on your exams, etc. You must remember, just because something has been shared by friends and thousands of times, it doesn’t make it true.
safety net fake news safety net fake news Fake News can promote fear and glorify gangs, violence, hate and radicalisation
We need to be mindful that as young people spend much more time online, they are very likely to come across many different types of fake news. If we do not engage with their online activities and support with careful guidance, there is a real risk children will start to believe everything they see and read.

What you can do to help keep your child safe online

  • Always discuss regularly with your child what they watch, follow and read online. Ask them why they find it interesting.
  • If your child follows an online influencer or group, then you should do the same too. This way you will be able to keep an eye on the content they are receiving.
  • Regularly discuss current types of news. What is fake news and what is not.
  • Always discuss with your child the importance of gaining your permission if they are thinking about making a purchase or subscribing to something online.
  • Always let your child know that they should always say if they see or hear anything online that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable and to never arrange to meet someone who they have met online.
  • Let them know that they do not have to feel as though they have done something wrong, nobody is going to get cross and it is not their fault.
  • If you are concerned with anything you or your child has seen or asked to do, please call Childline or tell your child’s school.

Always encourage your child to:

tell a trusted adult
Tell a parent or trusted adult, like a teacher.
older brother or sister
Tell an older brother or sister.
childline 0800 1111
Tell Childline.

They will know how to help.


Our award-winning Safety Net workbook

Safety Net book and pages

Safety Net is an award-winning fun and colourful resource packed with 24 pages of engaging content, illustrations, crosswords and wordsearch puzzles proven to help children stay safe when using the Internet, social media, gaming and more.

The friendly format will encourage your child, from an early age, to be open about what they do and see online without fearing they have done something wrong.

Suitable for:

  • Children 6-14 years.
  • All parents to read to their young children.

Now available as a standalone resource outside of our school workshop and webinar programmes.

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