E-safety Guide for Parents
IT evolves incredibly fast, and can be hard to keep up with the latest trends. The information below is designed to help keep your children and family safe when online.
*Please note that some of information below is from approved outside sources, such as internetmatters.org CEOP, BBC, LGFL.
For a wider range of information on these and other categories we recommend using this website: http://www.internetmatters.org/
Online safety advice
Early use of digital technology has been shown to improve language skills and promote children’s social development and creativity.
But it’s not without risks for young children, who may come across inappropriate content or begin to copy what older children do online. We’ll help you to understand what you can do to give young children the best experience of going online.
For a wider range of information on this subject please see this page - http://www.internetmatters.org/social-networking/apps.html
Social networking sites are a huge favourite with children, allowing them to stay in touch with friends, meet people with similar interests, and share photos and videos. Used appropriately, social networks are a great place for young people to demonstrate their creativity. As a parent, there’s plenty you can do to ensure your children’s experience is both safe and fun.
Click on the link below for further advice on social media: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/social-media-advice-hub/
Most social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc have a lower age limit of 13, this means that no-one under the age of 13 must use this website.
If your child is eager to start tweeting, posting or sharing, then there are a number of alternative social networks made for children that you can point them to.
These offer child-friendly features like games and contests but also give you a chance to use them as teaching tool to get them sharing safely.
Ultimately, these social networks give children a safer environment where they can share their experiences and engage with friends they know.
Sites aimed at younger children, like Spotlite, Go Bubble, PlayKids and Grom Social all have a social networking element. Remember, to always check any site before your child uses them.
Apps can make using the internet a more accessible and enjoyable experience, the thousands of apps available for different types of people mean it's important to make sure children use appropriate ones.
Chatting with strangers
Meeting and chatting with strangers online poses risks to young people who might be vulnerable to grooming and online (and offline) forms of sexual abuse.
Sending inappropriate content
With the physical barrier of a screen, some people feel more empowered to pressurise others into sending messages, often of a sexual or derogatory nature.
Sharing a location
Many apps share the user's location. This can put children at risk from others who actively seek out children with the intention of meeting in the real world. Sharing a location can also raise concerns with identity theft and privacy.
Many apps work on the basis of identity or phone number information. In many cases apps don't always let you know that this information is being used, meaning children could be sharing personal information. As well as on the social networks themselves, privacy and security settings are available on most devices. You can find out more at our Privacy & Identity Theft page.
Smartphones allow people to take photos and share them instantly on their social networks or post information about someone online in seconds. Sometimes this can mean young people are even more vulnerable to episodes of cyberbullying.
Although most apps now go through a process of classification and are rated based the type of content they contain, all apps are available to download by anyone who has a password to the app store.
This may expose children to explicit content, sometimes without their parents knowing. Some of this content can be illegal or simply inappropriate for children as it's meant for adults.
Apps can cost money to buy from the app store - and some of them can be very expensive.
Some of the 'free' apps make their money in different ways, by encouraging you to spend money when using the app. This can mean that bills quickly build up without you even realising it. Read more about in-app purchasing.
Some apps have been created with the specific purpose of allowing the user to hide content within them. These decoy apps can protect personal information from strangers but also allow people to hide content they don't want anyone else to see.
Online gaming means you can play in real time with people across the world through a PC, games console, tablet or smartphone connected to the internet. Games can offer children a world of adventure to immerse themselves in but it’s important to understand how children can stay safe and what games are appropriate for their age.
What does game ratings mean?
The PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) labels appear on a game's packaging indicating one of the following age levels: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. They provide a reliable indication of the suitability of the game content for different ages. Descriptors will indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. There are eight such descriptors: bad language, discrimination, drugs, fear, gambling, sex, violence and online gameplay with other people.
Information websites for parents: