Apps to help children stay safe online
The BBC have a website and app called Own It. The website has a lot of content for children to help them navigate their online lives, and the free smartphone app comes with a special keyboard which can intervene with help and support in the moments that children need it the most. It can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
SafeToNet is an app for parents to help them safeguard their children from online risks like cyber-bullying and sexting, whilst respecting their child’s rights to privacy. The SafeToNet Foundation is providing UK families with free access to 1 million licences during coronavirus.
In the recent parent questionnaire, 57% of the parents that answered told us that you do not know what the CEOP logo is for.
CEOP is set up to allow parents or children to report inappropriate and sexual behaviour online, with dedicated child protection advisors on hand to support. Some websites have this logo built in, or you can visit the website.
This link will give you more information: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
Gaming and PEGI ratings
Many of our children use both the internet and gaming devices to access a whole host of games. However, the content of these may not always be appropriate for the age of your child. PEGI ratings are designed to give you an idea of what the games contain.
36% of you that responded to the questionnaire said that you were unsure what a PEGI rating is, and only 43% are happy that your child knows what they are.
Our children are playing a range of age-rated games, with 32% playing 3+ games, 28% playing 7+ games, 28% playing 12+ games, 6% playing 16+ games and 6% playing 18+ games. These are spread out across the four year groups.
PEGI ratings are content appropriate, not a difficulty level.
This site is great for judging games before you buy them or for seeing what other parents and children think: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
Mental Health and excessive use
Managing time on the internet and gaming can be tricky and some children are spending a huge amount of time online. Some parents in the questionnaire have expressed concerns about their children’s mental health or the potential to become addicted. These links offer insights and advice:
https://www.parents.com/health/mental/managing-mental-health-digital-age/ – This website contains advice and the impact of different aspects of the internet.
Reporting online content
39% of the parents that responded to our questionnaire said that they were unsure of how to report inappropriate content online.
Many websites have their own reporting system in case of inappropriate or incorrect content. Look at the top or bottom of the site, in their settings or in the menu. For those sites that do not have a report button, there is a way you can report the content.
This is how to do report on Google Chrome, you may need to check your browser.
The legal age for the majority of social media platforms is 13 (with the exception of WhatsApp, which rose from 13 to 16 in May 2018), but we are aware that many of our children use some of these platforms.
Here are some good tips for supporting your children when using social networking sites, and can answer a range of questions that you may have.
Reporting on social media
When things are inappropriate, for whatever reason, it is important to know what to do and how to report the content to the platform. If it is not reported, there is not a lot the platform can do.
With 32% of parents that told us their children have social media and 39% of parents unsure of how to report inappropriate content, it is important to share this information.
This link gives a basic guide to some of the bigger social media platforms. Generally, all platforms will have a way to report content, usually in the settings. There is a separate link for WhatsApp, as this platform is not in the first link.
Social media acronyms
For some children, social media contains its own language, full of acronyms. Here is a list of some of the more popular ones used in chats and direct messages.
Posting and the digital footprint
In conversations with our children, many of them did not realise the impact of their digital footprint. Here is some advice for parents and children:
Filtering and Privacy settings
Filtering and privacy settings are vital in ensuring that your child is not exposed to inappropriate content or is accessing anything they shouldn’t. Many parents during the questionnaire expressed concerns about everything from online bullying, to accessing inappropriate content. Filtering and privacy settings can help with these concerns.
Most devices are different, so these links give an overview of how to set them up on the most popular devices.
IPad and other Apple products – https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201304
Nintendo Switch – https://www.nintendo.com/switch/family-fun/parental-controls/
Anything that is not on the list is easy enough to search and find instructions for.
In the parent questionnaire, around 26% of the parents that responded told us that their child spends 8 or more hours a week using the internet or gaming.
During the children’s survey, 49% of them told us that they use the internet or play games daily, with 19% of those doing this before and after school.
School holidays can create difficulty when balancing the amount of time spent online. Here are some useful links to help:
Nearly half of our children have told us that they use the internet or gaming devices and some parents have expressed worries about how much time children spend on these devices.
Most iPhones have a system built in where you can restrict screen time, and there are apps you can download for Android devices. You can control the content your children are accessing, or set up set screen times that turn off when you want them to.
iPhone/iPad – https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT208982
A good way to build up good communication between you and your children when talking about the online world is to create an agreement. This can be about usage, content, behaviour or creating a balance. These links give you advice and a template that you could use:
YouTube – content and reporting
YouTube does its best to stop inappropriate content from getting though. However, it cannot filter everything and does rely on the public to support this. On any video (whether signed in or not), you can report a video.
These links are great for guiding you through YouTube and also show you how to apply filters and restrictions:
The internet is always changing, and there are a stream of ever-changing trends. Here are a few links and a great website to tell you about how to deal with some of the latest trends:
Latest E-safety news: