Children are growing up in a world with a bigger range of online activities than ever before and it is sometimes very hard for both children and adults to know how to stay safe.
Parents/Online Safety Information
Most parents will want to reduce the risks to their children, and remembering to set parental controls can reduce the risks to children, and reduce the risk to parents when children accidentally spend online money! The internet matters website explains this quite well. Online safety is not just about protecting children from some of the dangers of the internet – it is also about helping them manage their use of technology and most of the parental controls allow adults to set a maximum time for the use of a device or app.
Internet Matters is a site paid for by many British companies. It has a lot of good advice on adding parental controls as well as on most aspects of online safety. Parental controls will only help keep children safe. The best safety feature that a child has is their parent or carer. Take the time to talk to your child about the apps and games they are using and don’t be afraid to say no sometimes!
The range of online apps changes on a regular basis and the NSPCC have a site called Net Aware. This provides unbiased up-to-date information on current apps and sites along with advice to parents about dealing with issues.
The NSPCC have teamed up with O2 to provide advice to parents and have a free helpline on 0808 800 5002. They will also give support in any O2 shop – you do not have to be an O2 customer.
ThinkUKnow is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues. It also has lots of games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.
For the youngest children being tricked into sharing pictures can be an issue. LGfL have produced a lovely free video which has some great advice and a very catchy song!
Many children will at times suffer from online bullying. It is really important that they have someone they can talk to and know that it is not acceptable. Most apps and sites will have systems inn place that allow bullying to be reported. Your child’s school may be able to help.
Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 for advice on anything that is worrying them.
Finally since 2015 is has been a criminal offence for an adult to send a message with sexual content to a child (This is Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015). If you are concerned that this might have happened please contact The Police without further using the device. This will help ensure that evidence can be preserved. The Police can be contacted by phone or from the ThinkUKnow website
Latest E-Safety News:
Think Before You Scare.!
LGfL produced a useful blog for DSL’s at https://safeblog.lgfl.net/2018/11/parents-scare-or-prepare/
Before children use a new app, parents should:
Take an active interest in your child’s online life and talk with them about how they use technology.
Ask your child why they want to use the app? How did they hear about it?
Discuss with them how they will keep themselves safe and make sure they know:
- How to block and report other users and content
- To speak to a trusted adult if they see anything or something happens online that makes them feel worried, upset or uncomfortable.
- About websites such as ChildLine and CEOP www.childline.org.uk and www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Make sure that you understand how the app works so you can decide if you are happy for your child to use it. You may even wish to set up an account yourself first.
- Does it allow video chat or the sharing of images?
- Does it allow user to communicate with ‘random’ strangers?
- Does it allow anonymous chat?
- Does it allow in-app purchases?
- Can you restrict access to the content that your child shares?
- How will your child’s personal data be used by the app?
What do other people (i.e. other parents and carers) have to say about the app?
You can usually find age restrictions within the apps terms and conditions. This is not the same as the app/google store rating.
The age limit for many popular social networking sites is thirteen. This is due to American Legislation called COPPA. The age limit is not based on suitability of content and instead applies to any website, app or online service which collects, stores or uses children’s personal information. Some apps will have age limits of 18+ as they are exclusively designed for use by adults.
If children use apps that are aimed at an older age group then this may leave them vulnerable to being exposed to unsuitable content (including advertising), as well as being contacted by strangers.
Many popular apps will have ‘help’ and ‘safety’ sections, either within the app itself or via its website. Some apps will even have content specifically designed for parents and carers.
www.saferinternet.org.uk has some useful parent guides which highlight safety tools on popular devices, and signpost to report mechanisms.
Does the app have any privacy settings? If so then help your child to apply them appropriately – for example is it possible to set the app so that only trusted friends can see information they post?
Explore the block and report features. Can your child block or report concerning users or inappropriate behaviour?
If the app doesn’t have safety or help sections or doesn’t provide the ability to report and block then you may wish to consider if it is safe for your child to use.
Talk to your child about safe and appropriate online behaviour.
Consider setting up a family agreement regarding how their internet use will be supervised and how long they can spend online. Resources to help can be found at www.childnet.com andwww.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/share-aware/
Discuss your expectations about the types of content and information they should share online, rules relating to adding friends and meeting people in real life.
Do they understand:
- That content posted online should never be considered to be private and may be copied and shared?
- That they should behave online the same as they would in “the real world” and be kind?
- How to be secure online such as by using safe and strong passwords. You can visitwww.getsafeonline.org.uk for more advice
Here is a useful guide to everything you need to know.
Seven possible conversations to have with your child around E-safety. A really useful resource.
Online Safety – Gaming Resources for Parents and Carers
The following blog provides useful information and an printable booklet that might be useful if you’re not sure about THAT game…..
What is the ‘Blue Whale story’?
In the last month many media outlets have reported on the so called ‘Blue Whale’ phenomenon which has been claimed to be responsible for a number of teenager’s deaths in Russia.
It is through research and consultation with other colleagues it has come to our attention that the ‘Blue Whale’ is an example of a sensationalised fake news story.
Snopes, online fact checking website, have found that although there have been reports of young people committing suicide in Russia over the last six months, of these reported cases none have been found to have had a conclusive tie to the ‘Blue Whale’.
We have become aware of a significant number of issues with children sharing content using the app musical.ly. Schools may wish to make parents aware of the risks of the app which has a minimum age of 13. Our advice to parents is to carefully manage their childs use of social media.
Full Details are here https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/musical-ly-app-parents-need-know/
A summary of the risks posed is shown below:-
Dangers for kids:
- 18+ content in the songs lyrics. Swearing and adult concepts in the provided music.
- Pornography, graphic content, suicide notes.
- Musical.ly users can search for other users to view or follow near their own location/city.
- User generated videos can be viewed and shared onto other social media and messaging apps increasing exposure.
- Bullying in comments.
- Users can publicise their messager usernames or social media profiles on their Musical.ly profile.
- Live.ly live streaming is not private even if you have the privacy settings set up.
- Using live streaming Musical.ly app Live.ly may mean larger exposure with mean comments, interacting in real time with viewers.
- Many fake user accounts, used to hijack views or set up to bully.
- Hacking of accounts by promotional accounts (Free Musical.ly Crowns) within the apps.
- Not easy to report accounts for being fakes or underage inside the app.
- Many underage accounts with large amounts of followers.
- Easy for users to create multiple accounts and hide them from their parents.
- Fake Musical.ly apps on the app store that charge for download or offer followers.
Safer Internet Day 2017
Durham Education Development Service has produced a PowerPoint presentation for Parents about keeping children safe online.
It’s a really interesting presentation and includes a short video with a parent whose child was subjected to online grooming.
To access the video, then please click here.
Instagram and Twitter
We have been informed about an incident in a primary school where children received obscene images and messages ( which may not have originated in this country ) and so we would like to remind parents about some online safety issues.
Both Instagram and Twitter have a minimum age policy of 13. Whilst many parents choose to allow younger children to use these services we cannot recommend this. To keep their children safe on social media parents should ensure that the correct privacy settings are enabled, and that appropriate adult supervision is provided.
Further information is available at the NSPCC site Net Aware
In addition, if you would like a free copy of the Vodafone Digital Parenting Guide then please click below:
Nearly half of teenagers surveyed in new study stated cyberbullying is bigger problem than drug abuse
A message from Claire Lilley, Head of Online Safety at NSPCC to all parents about keeping your child safe.
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