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For many of us, we see our online lives and offline lives as different, but children are growing up with technology and the internet and for them there isn’t a difference; online life and offline life is just life.
Technology can move at an extraordinarily fast pace and it can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they’re doing online, who they might be speaking to or discussing the potential risks and issues.
Talking regularly with your child is the greatest tool to help keep them safe online. Talking regularly and making it part of daily conversation, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed. It also means when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you.
But it can also be easy to become overwhelmed with the different technology, the language that children use, the huge number of games and apps which are available and the potential risks.
There are potential risks for children online. Consider these things when you talk with your child about what they’re doing online:
When they’re playing a game, using an app, watching YouTube channels, what sort of content is there? Have they seen any inappropriate content and if so, what did they do? How did it make them feel?
Most games and social media apps have various communications features, from text chat to voice chat, messaging and private messaging, video and image sharing, livestreaming and more. Ask about the friends they play with. What is the difference between online and offline friends? Do they talk to people they don’t know online? If so, why and what are they sharing?
There can be lots of different reasons why children talk to people they don’t know online, such as same interests, talking gaming tactics and even for support and advice.
When they play those games or use those apps, what is their behaviour? Do they feel anxious? Do they sometimes get angry, e.g. playing fast-paced games and constantly losing?
The online world gives us access to a huge amount of information and services, but the scale of information available also means that there is content that is inappropriate for children. What is or isn’t appropriate is up to individual parents and carers to decide, and could be based on things like age, ability, beliefs and family values.
Parental controls allow you to block and filter upsetting or inappropriate content. They work across your WiFi, phone network, individual apps and devices.
Parental controls can help you to:
If you need any support with parental controls, please contact school. We are more than happy to support you in setting this up to ensure your children are safe online.
The National Online Safety website has launched #WakeUpWednesday campaign. Each Wednesday they publish a new platform guide for parents with information about how to keep children safe online. It focuses on different platforms such as instagram, facebook, tiktok even gaming like Fifa23. The purpose of the campaign is to ensure parents move at the same speed as their children where social media and gaming is concerned. School will publish each guide on the school’s Twitter account so please make sure you follow our school account SS Simon & Jude (@OfficeSssj) / Twitter
Below are some useful examples of parent guides: