Here are 12 top tips so that you can guide your young ones in enjoying their new digital gifts safely and responsibly throughout the year to come. Merry Christmas!
Among Us is one of the most popular games of 2020.
What is Among Us?
Among Us is free to download and is rated 9+ by the App Store due to infrequent/mild horror/fear themes and infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence. You play with 4 – 10 players whose task is to prep their spaceship by completing a series of tasks. However, one of the crew is an imposter who is trying to sabotage the game and kill the other crew members.
What do I need to be aware of?
- In-app purchases – In app purchase are available priced from £1.99 – £2.99.
- Play privately – games can either be played publicly or privately. To just play with people you know, set it to “private” and share the room code with them (this is the safer option).
- Chat facility – If your child is playing a ‘public’ game (or even in a private room with people they don’t know) then due to the chat facility, they may meet and chat with people which always creates an element of risk.
- Inappropriate behaviour – If someone is being rude, then only the host can ban that player from the room so you are reliant on the host.
There is the ability to censor chat to filter bad words out (although there may be words that get through the filter)
You can read more about Among Us here:
Parent Zone have developed the app ‘Meet Ollee’ who is a virtual friend that helps your child think about how they’re feeling.
Meet Olee is aimed at 8-11 year olds and their parents.
Would you like to monitor what your child is doing online? The best app to use will be dependent on what devices your child is using but this helpful article from Internet Matters reviews the top monitoring apps for you:
Have you set up appropriate safety settings for your Smart speaker?
Find out more here:
What is TikTok?
You must be over 13 years of age to use TikTok.
Users can watch musical clips, record 60 second clips (it includes lots of lip synching and dancing), edit them and add special effects.
Is your child using TikTok?
TikTok have created their top 10 Tips for you, which provides a really useful overview of settings to make TikTok a safer environment: https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/tiktoks-top-10-tips-for-parents
Find out about TikTok’s privacy settings and choose the most appropriate for your child. It is safer for an account to be set to private (therefore only people your child chooses to accept can follow them) although you would still need to talk to your child about only accepting requests from people they know in real life. You can also set whether or not people can comment on their content.
As with any app/website your child is using to interact with others, ensure that they know how to delete, report or block another user as well as know how to report any inappropriate content that they come across:
TikTok has a direct messaging element so users can chat to each other (TikTok now automatically disables Direct Messages for registered accounts under the age of 16) as well as the ability to comment on each other’s content. There is a risk on TikTok that cyberbullying can occur, or a user can receive unwanted attention from a stranger. TikTok have produced this list of available settings to reduce the risk of this happening https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/anti-bully?lang=en. It is important that your child understands that if they come across anything that they don’t like or makes them feel uncomfortable then they should speak to you or another trusted adult.
Family safety mode
TikTok have created Family Pairing to help you keep your child safe whilst using TikTok. Family Pairing allows parents to link their own TikTok account to their child’s account.
Does your child use an Android device? Then you may like to set up Google Family Link, which allows you to set digital ground rules for your child. Once set up, you will be able to view your child’s activity so you can see what they are accessing and how long they are spending on each app (including setting time limits and adding a bedtime), manage in app purchases and hide specific apps from them as well as being able to remotely lock their device.
If the device is connected to the internet, then you can also locate the device.
More information can be found here:
How can I make my connected home more secure?
The Internet of Things (IoT) are everyday objects that connect to the internet including devices such as smart speakers, smart home controls, Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes and fitness trackers. There are also toys that have internet connectivity. There are potential risks associated with the ‘IoT’ such as devices collecting too much personal information, children accessing age inappropriate content, in app purchases and the opportunity for hackers to access our information.
The Think U Know web team have put together a useful list of what you can do to help make your connected home safer for your child.
Young children are spending more time online today and this includes watching videos and playing games on their devices. An article published on the ‘Think U Know’ website looks at the benefits of children accessing the internet, and shares advice about how to make sure your child has a safe experience online.
You can access the whole article here:
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.
If you do not have a National Online Safety account yet- you can sign up with the below link:
Please ensure that you select ‘Parent or Carer’ from the drop-down menu – to allocate the correct courses.