Houseparty

In the current environment, many of us are using different ways to try and keep in touch with our friends and family. One app that has risen in popularity is Houseparty, which gained the no.1 spot on the app store after becoming one of the most downloaded apps since social isolation was introduced.

As a National Online Safety (NOS) Certified School, all our parents and staff members have access to guides and top tips for keeping our children safe when they are using computers and other devices. The NOS have produced a very handy guide to using HouseParty.

Download (PDF, 15.3MB)

If you do not have a National Online Safety account yet- you can sign up with the below link:
http://nationalonlinesafety.com/enrol/st-john-s-ce-primary-school-tn13-3xd
Please ensure that you select ‘Parent or Carer’ from the drop-down menu – to allocate the correct courses.

Fortnite

Fortnite is rated PEGI 12 for frequent mild violence which means it is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age to play. PEGI do not take into consideration the chat features when rating games. Fortnite contains voice and text chat, which can contain inappropriate and explicit language. You can turn the voice chat off but not the text chat.

As always, show your child how to report players for any inappropriate behaviour and ensure that they know that they should talk to you or another trusted adult if they have any concerns.

More information can be found here: https://epicgames.helpshift.com/a/fortnite/

In app purchases:
All users can purchase V-Bucks directly through the game so make sure you don’t store your credit card details and your child understands that they must check with you before making any purchases.

We always recommend playing the game with your child so you can see what they are playing and monitor the sort of chat that they are listening/contributing to.

YouTube Restricted mode

Does your child use YouTube?

Have you set up the restricted mode? Restricted Mode (available on the website and app) allows the user to restrict access to mature or objectionable content.

Childnet have produced a parent’s guide to YouTube Restricted Mode, which illustrates how it works and what you should be aware of:

https://www.childnet.com/blog/a-parents-guide-to-youtube-restricted-mode

Remember that this mode may not be 100% effective. YouTube Kids may be a safer option for your family as it provides additional settings such as a content filter by age as well as providing a more contained environment.

Online Safety Tips For Children

Technology and the internet are part of our daily lives. It’s almost impossible for our children to avoid coming into contact with the online world. From social media apps to messaging services to online gaming, it’s important that we, as trusted adults, help to protect them from harm. But it’s just as important that they too know how to respond to online dangers.

The National Online Safety website has created a useful guide for children outlining various online safety do’s and don’ts to help empower them to make the right decisions when interacting with the online world.

Download (PDF, 5.73MB)

Download (PDF, 5.73MB)

Hollie Guard App

The Hollie Guard app works on iPhone, Android and Windows devices. The app allows you to  keep an eye on your children while they are traveling to and from school using the Journey feature, so whenever they use this feature, their emergency contacts (you) are informed about where they’re going.

Users can also use this app to get help quickly while out if they’re in danger. If a user is
in danger, they shake or tap their phone, which activates Hollie Guard and automatically sends their location and audio/video evidence to their designated contacts.

Visit their website for further information or to register your interest:
https://hollieguard.com/

Apple – parental controls

If your child has an Apple device then you/they have probably updated their device to iOS 13.3 by now. Did you know that this update included two new screen time features for parents?

Communication limits
This new feature allows you to limit who your child can call, FaceTime or Message during allowed screen time and during downtime. During allowed screen time, users can be contacted by everyone or by contacts only, which prevents unknown contacts from contacting them.
You will need to go to Settings – Screen Time – Communication Limits to set up. iCloud syncing of Contacts must be enabled for this feature to work

Contact list
The contact list for children lets parents/carers manage their child’s contacts on their child’s devices.

The above two features are in addition to the parental controls offered by Apple. To set up parental controls or for further information about all of the other parental controls available
(such as preventing explicit content) then visit Apple’s website here:
https://support.apple.com/engb/HT201304

Apps to watch out for

There always seem to be new apps being released and with that, you need to be aware of any risks in using these new apps (such as privacy concerns/stranger interaction).

Common Sense Media have produced this article outlining some of the apps that may be currently on your child’s radar:
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/apps-to-watch-out-for

Try and have regular chats with your child and take an interest in what they are doing online/whilst using their phone and provide support when necessary.

Smart speakers

Have you invested in a smart speaker for your home?
“Hey, Google” or “Alexa, play some music” may be your key commands now but have you set up the correct parental controls? For example, when using a supervised account on a Google nest, children can’t make purchases.

Google Nest:
https://support.google.com/googlenest/answer/9039704?hl=engb&ref_topic=7196250

Amazon Echo:
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-setparental-controls-on-the-amazon-echo

Smart Phones

Did your child get a new smart phone for Christmas or are they using yours? Have you made  sure that the correct parental controls have been set up to help protect your child whilst using the device?

Example controls include setting the device so only age appropriate apps can be downloaded
and the ability to disable in-app purchasing (or don’t store your payment card details) to avoid
any hefty bills.

iPhone advice:
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201304

Android advice:
https://www.internetmatters.org/parentalcontrols/smartphones-and-other-devices/android-smartphone/