During school closures, children will inevitably spend a lot more time online and on their devices.
DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT – lots will be schoolwork or catching up with friends. But there are ways to keep them safe, healthy and happy.
- Don’t worry about screen time, aim for screen quality. Scrolling through social media isn’t the same as making a film or story, or Skyping Nan.
- Check the safety settings are turned on. Whether it’s your home internet, mobile devices, consoles, apps or games, there are lots of settings to make them safer. The key ones are – can they chat to strangers, can they video chat or ‘go live’, are their posts public?
- Get your children to show you their apps and games. You don’t need to know all about the latest app or game, but if your child shows you what they are doing and with whom, you’ll probably see if it’s appropriate or not. Remember 18+ games are harmful to children!
- Don’t try to hide the news about coronavirus. If you don’t talk about it, your children might read inappropriate pages, believe scare stories or simply catastrophise in their heads. Why not watch Newsround together and talk about how they feel.
- Remind them of key online safety principles. There are too many to list, but remember human behaviour is the same online and off-line. Remind your children to be a good friend, to ask for help if they are worried or if someone is mean, not to get undressed on camera and most important of all… to ask for help if they need it.
- If you aren’t sure, ASK! School can help and there are lots of resources online to support you too.
For advice on setting parental controls see https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/
See the Thinkuknow website for guidance and support with keeping children safe online.
During previous lockdown a daily worksheet was available every day at digisafedaily.lgfl.net for parents of primary pupils to download and use at home. Each day parents & pupils could find a new tip to remind them about staying safe, together with a quiz question and reminders to get active & creative – answers available on next day’s sheet. These are still available for use.
Click here for Thinkuknow Parents Helpsheets
To report harmful content: https://reportharmfulcontent.com/
For parent guides to apps, including recommendations for kidsafe apps and video platforms, search for Common Sense Media or NSPCC’s NetAware. https://www.net-aware.org.uk/