Knowledge is Key!
What’s App – have you checked your settings?
What’s app have made some changes, some back in May, but many of us are just beginning to realise somethings have changed. It is well worth checking your privacy settings to know who can send you messages, view your profile, know your location as well as join you to groups. Internet Matters has a handy guide see https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/social-media/whatsapp/
What’s app is recommended for those over 12 years of age and as a school we would not advocate any children under this age having this app. However, we do realise that as a parent, you may choose to allow your child to use What’s app. We strong suggest checking their setting privacy list to ensure that their location is never available to others and that only contacts can add them to groups.
To know more about this app and / or the suitability of other apps for your child. Do use https://www.internetmatters.org/ or http://www.commonsensemedia.org/ as well as thehttps://parentinfo.org/ for support.
Apps parents may want to research
In order to keep children safe, it is important to have regular conversations with them to ask what they are enjoying playing online. It is imperative that these conversations are two-way, with you sharing your likes and dislikes and making time to play their games. If there is an app you are unsure they should be playing then explain that you would like to know more, perhaps research it online together to find out the pros and cons. www.commonsensemedia.org is a good site to use to find out more. You can then discuss why a game is unsuitable for their age or say that the game is perfect or even it is okay but we just need to change some of the settings. This will help you build a trusting relationship around being online and, hopefully, mean your child will be open and honest about what they use.
There are some current games you need to be aware of –
Among Us – popular with primary school aged children, rated PEG+9 (although was a lot higher when it was first released).
What you need to know: If settings are public, children can chat with people they don’t know whilst playing online.
Whilst filters may block some bad language, there are words that don’t get picked up by the filter, meaning children can still be exposed to inappropriate content whilst playing a seemingly age appropriate game.
See https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews/among-us for more information
Only Fans – lures young people in with the promise of making money in exchange for photos and videos. Users are supposed to be 18 or over, but age is rarely checked. Things can easily spiral for a young person who is promised an allowance of £££s each week in exchange for sexual photographs.
Omegle – Talk to strangers! When you use Omegle, they pick someone else at random so you can have a one-on-one chat. Pretty self-explanatory why this is so inappropriate and dangerous for children to use!
Tinder – parents may be surprised by this thinking it is a dating app for adults, but we have information from the police that they have come across children in years 5 and 6 at primary schools who are mentioning this app in their discussions and who have an account on the site.
Other sites to Support Parents –
- Internet Matters – for guides on how to enable and set up privacy settings for apps/games
- Think You Know – has some great resources that parents can use as part of home schooling their children
- https://www.saferinternet.org.uk – online safety tips for children
- https://www.childnet.com – dedicated to making the internet a safe place for children