Perhaps inevitably, the lockdown has led to a significant increase in screen time for many of us. Whether it be catching up with loved ones, scrolling through Facebook, or binge-watching the latest boxset on Netflix, technology is helping us all to keep connected at a time when the collective health of our nation demands that we must remain physically apart. Indeed, we’ve also seen some overwhelmingly positive examples of how online platforms – and particularly social media – can be used to help keep us informed at a time when having reliable information is crucial.
All of us will have seen the prompts to official Covid-19 advice that have been prominent across multiple sites including YouTube, Twitter, and Google. But despite this, we can’t afford to ignore the stark dangers which still exist online and have the potential to put large numbers of people – and particularly children and young people – at risk.
What you don’t know CAN hurt them
The current standard advice from experts in the field of e-safety is that talking to children and young people is the best protection against the risks they might encounter online. Whether in school or at home, open conversation helps build confidence and resilience. It is imperative that you can have an open conversation with your child about how important online safety is. If you cannot do this, and you do not know how to put suitable controls in place your child is at risk and we, as parents, must take responsibility for ensuring we do all we possibly can to keep them safe.
There are many ways to start this conversation with your child, and it might be a good idea to use the information and resources on this page.
Remember that filtering is only part of the solution
No filter or parental controls tool is 100% effective, and many of the risks that young people face online are because of their own and other’s behaviour. It is therefore important to talk to your children about staying safe online with your child and make sure they know that they can turn to you if they get into any difficulty. Other services that are popular with young people also provide tools that are helpful to activate in addition to filters. The link below takes you to the UK Safer Internet Center guide to controls on a range of media - TV streaming and social media included.
AGE – THE LAW
The minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, but a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent’s permission.
For many parents, the convenience of knowing where their kids are at all times is more than enough to warrant the price of a smart phone. In fact, a solid 90% of children under the age of 16 in the UK have a mobile. But as with anything else, smart phones come with both their pros and their cons, and when you’re talking about kids, the issue gets even trickier.
From cyber bullying to inappropriate web content, being able to contact strangers, being able to rack up hefty cell phone bills, all these things come to mind when we start thinking about the dangers of impressionable kids using a mobile. And truth be told, those dangers do exist. There’s no avoiding the fact that you do run a risk by giving your child a mobile.
Follow the link below for specific advice on keeping your child's mobile phone safe, the Tigger Mobiles page is long, but scroll down as it does give excellent advice and recommendations on apps that can help to keep the phone safer.