Unlike previous generations, the online environment is an integral part of children’s lives and therefore we can no longer consider their well being or safety without also considering their relationship to technology.
However, staying safe online is fundamentally about behaviours rather than the technology itself and if approached from this perspective, we can begin to gain confidence to support our children.
All gaming consoles, handheld devices and operating systems for PC and Mac are equipped with parental control systems, allowing parents to protect their children’s privacy and online safety according to various parameters.
With these control tools, parents can:
– select which games children are allowed to play (based on the PEGI age ratings)
– control and monitor the use of digital purchases
– limit access to internet browsing by applying a filter
– control the amount of time that children can spend playing games
– control the level of online interaction (chat) and exchange of data (text messages, user-generated content).
Follow the link to find information on finding these setting on different consoles, handhelds and smartphones/tablets. Click Here.
Momo is an online “game” that encourages young people to harm themselves and in some cases even take their own lives. If you need more information and guidance about this please click here.
Sexting (Youth Produced Sexual Imagery)
Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages.
They can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones, laptops – any device that allows you to share media and messages.
The NSPCC provide a wealth of information for parents/carers to understand the risks of sexting so you can talk to your child about how to stay safe online and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable. For help and advice visit;
The NCA’s CEOP Command is here to help children and young people. They are here to help if you are a young person and you or your friend (up to age 18) has been forced or tricked into taking part in activity which makes you uncomfortable with anyone online, or in the real world. They also have advice and links to support for other online problems young people might face, such as cyberbullying and hacking. Visit their Safety Centre for advice and to report directly to CEOP, by clicking on the Click CEOP button.
The BBC has launched Own It, a website for 9 to 12 year olds, to help them maximise opportunities in the digital world as well as helping them to develop the confidence and resilience to tackle the everyday challenges they face online. Have a look at what is on the website by clicking on the link below:
If you’re unsure how you can safeguard your children from digital threats, this guide is for you. This guide identifies the many things that put children at risk and reveal what you can do as a parent:
Internet Matters have a free tablet based app to help parents have conversations with their children about staying safe while online. The App is an interactive game, where parents and children work together to answer multiple choice questions on a number of topics, e.g. cyberbullying, privacy & identity, inappropriate content. The app has been developed to target parents with children aged 8-11. Each answers a number of questions in order to earn points towards a ‘tilting’ game which can be played together. Download the tablet-only app for free from Appstore or Googleplay
Protecting your Child on the Internet Advice
The vpnMentor website has a very useful blog found here with lots of information about ‘Protecting your Child on the Internet’. It covers:
Streaming content and smart TVs
Gaming consoles and online games
Privacy and information security
Viewing inappropriate content online
This means you can dip in and out of it easily depending on the nature of your concern or the advice you want at the time.
Website, App and Games Suitability
The NSPCC have recently contacted school to promote their new website which provides parents, teachers and other adults with information about websites, apps or games to see if it is suitable for your child to be using. All you have to do is go to https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ by clicking on the link, then enter the name of the website, app or game into the search engine at the top. You will be provided with a wealth of information from recent research and surveys. This ensures you are able to make informed decisions on whether your child should be using the website, app or game.
The UK Safer Internet Centre has produced a very informative leaflet to support parents and carers with Online Gaming. The leaflet covers how and where to play, the risks associated with Online Gaming, some Top Tips, the SMART rules we recommend the children follow, FAQs and places to look for Support and Further Guidance: Online gaming an introduction for parents and carers 2017;
A good website to regularly view is Connect Safely which provides an up to date forum of the safety implications associated with new technology. If you can keep up to speed on eSafety and technology then there is more chance your child will be following good practice.
Vodafone have produced a Digital Parenting Magazine which informs parents about the various technologies children are accessing today. There is information on:
You Tube Safety
Click here for a parent factsheet about your child’s safety when using YouTube (produced by The Key Support Services).
If you would like more information or advice on Cyberbullying please look at our Cyberbullying Advice page by clicking here.
Here is a great resource with lots of guidance on privacy settings and advice on apps your children might be using: