Net Aware – This excellent resource is produced by O2 and NSPCC. It is a guide for parents to the most popular sites, apps and games that young people use. Using reviews from adults and children, it helps parents decide if a site is right for their child, if it’s age appropriate and explores what risks they might encounter. https://www.net-aware.org.uk/
Internet Matters. This is a fantastic site generally with a great Parental Controls Guide. Their step by step guides will help you to set up the right controls and privacy settings on the networks, gadgets, apps, and sites children use to give them a safer online experience. https://www.internetmatters.org/
Kidsmart has different sections for children and adults. www.kidsmart.org.uk
Childnet has information about setting parental controls on home devices. www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers/hot-topics/parental-controls
The vodaphone website has a step by step diagram guide to setting up parental controls on home devices and links you with the different brands privacy pages to update/configure settings. http://www.vodafone.com/content/parents/howto-guides/parental_controls.html
Game Consoles and Video Games
Find out how to use and apply parental controls to popular games consoles. Get information on age ratings and the different games available.
- ask about games from the VSC Rating Board - helping families make sense of video games
- PlayStation safety settings
- Nintendo Switch parental controls
- X-Box core family safety feature
- Xbox 360 - security settings advice
- Xbox One - security settings advice
Pegi age restrictions: all games have an image code which indicates their content and age suggestions. Popular games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, are meant for adults and contain scenes of a graphic nature unsuitable for children.
Commonsense Media is a site dedicated to re-viewing the content of games and movies to provide parental advice. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/gaming-tips
Have a chat: if your children have set up accounts, what are they using? Be open and honest. Discuss their safety, are they aware of the risks? Make sure you, and they, are aware about how to report any issues: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/have-conversation
Personal settings and digital footprints: Check privacy settings, who can see what is being shared? We recommend putting your privacy settings to "friends only" as well as keeping secure passwords. However, be careful what you share: posts, images and memes can be copied via screenshots and, potentially, downloaded by anyone with access to your account. This could make a bad impression or put children at risk and also creates a digital footprint on the web for all to see. https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/social-media-help
Mobile Phones and Tablets
Tablets such as the iPad provide a variety of interesting activities and great education opportunities for young people.However, it is important to be aware of what these devices can do and how you can talk with your child to help them to use this technology in safe and positive way. https://saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/tablets
When purchasing a new phone, speak to the salesperson and ask them to set up specific locks and settings, this includes location settings to protect your child’s whereabouts. https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/smartphones
YouTube is very popular and many children set up YouTube accounts related to their interests. There is a big risk here of sharing personal details, such as if they upload videos of themselves in school uniforms. The following websites have advice on helping your child to navigate YouTube safely:
Always take screen shots of any messages or comments made and create a trail of evidence. Online bullies can be traced through IP addresses (if necessary). Report it to the school if required. Social media sites, such as Facebook have ways to report issues directly to them. You can also block users causing problems. The following website have some great information on dealing with cyberbullying.
Screen time can offer children opportunities to learn and develop new skills at a touch of a button but like anything, too much of it can have a negative effect on their wellbeing.
As children get older and more independent online, finding the right balance for your family can be challenging but the key is to think about it early on and set some clear boundaries around their online use. There is a risk of addiction: encourage your children to limit their time and stay off the computers for up to an hour before bedtime. The light from screens impacts on sleep patterns and it takes time for your child's brain to calm down having been active. https://www.internetmatters.org/issues/screen-time/
Setting a family agreement can be a healthy way of controlling the amount of screen time in your house. https://www.childnet.com/resources/family-agreement
Online Safety Concerns
If you need help, there are a number of organisations that can help. Safer Internet has compiled a list of who to contact with various concerns: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/need-help
THINKUKNOW is also a fantastic resource for handling online safety issues. Thinkuknow is the education programme from the National Crime Agency's CEOP command. www.thinkuknow.co.uk
If you’re worried that your child is being groomed online or exploited, you should report your concerns to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.) It is not always easy to spot the signs of online grooming and sexual exploitation so if you have any concern at all about someone your child is in contact with, you should get in touch. https://www.ceop.police.uk/
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s online activity or want to report anything, please contact any member of the online safety or safeguarding team or your child’s class teacher. They will be happy to offer advice and support and can advise you on the best steps to take.