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Online Safety

Introduction

Children are growing up in a world with a bigger range of online activities than ever before and it is sometimes very hard for both children and adults to know how to stay safe.

Parents/Online Safety Information

Most parents will want to reduce the risks to their children, and remembering to set parental controls can reduce the risks to children, and reduce the risk to parents when children accidentally spend online money! The internet matters website explains this quite well. Online safety is not just about protecting children from some of the dangers of the internet – it is also about helping them manage their use of technology and most of the parental controls allow adults to set a maximum time for the use of a device or app.

Internet Matters is a site paid for by many British companies.  It has a lot of good advice on adding parental controls as well as on most aspects of online safety. Parental controls will only help keep children safe.  The best safety feature that a child has is their parent or carer.  Take the time to talk to your child about the apps and games they are using and don’t be afraid to say no sometimes!

The range of online apps changes on a regular basis and the NSPCC have a site called Net Aware.   This provides unbiased up-to-date information on current apps and sites along with advice to parents about dealing with issues.

The NSPCC have teamed up with O2 to provide advice to parents and have a free helpline on 0808 800 5002.  They will also give support in any O2 shop – you do not have to be an O2 customer.

ThinkUKnow is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues.  It also has lots of games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.

For the youngest children being tricked into sharing pictures can be an issue.  LGfL have produced a lovely free video which has some great advice and a very catchy song!

Many children will at times suffer from online bullying.  It is really important that they have someone they can talk to and know that it is not acceptable.  Most apps and sites will have systems inn place that allow bullying to be reported.  Your child’s school may be able to help.

Children can call Childline on 0800 1111  for advice on anything that is worrying them.

Finally since 2015 is has been a criminal offence for an adult to send a message with sexual content to a child (This is Section  67  of  the  Serious  Crime  Act  2015).   If you are concerned that this might have happened please contact The Police without further using the device.  This will help ensure that evidence can be preserved.  The Police can be contacted by phone or from the ThinkUKnow website.

Durham Constabulary’s Cyber Protect Team have issued some great tips for parents on setting up the right controls and privacy settings to ensure their child stays safe online.  You can find guidance on using parental controls on smart devices, broadband and mobile networks, gaming and social media at Get Safe Online

The saferinternet message for this year is ‘Create, connect and share respect. A better internet starts with you.’

There is all sorts of information for parents on https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/
This is a link to the ‘conversation starters’ page
https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/have-conversation

Useful Links

Roblox

Roblox is a gaming platform where multiple players interact and play together online. The site has a collection of games aimed at 8-18 year olds, however players of all ages can use the site. Roblox is currently available on PC, phone, tablet and Xbox One.

Every game on Roblox is created by users, and there are a wide variety to choose from. These can vary from delivering pizzas, to roaming a kingdom as a medieval knight, to even starring in a fashion show. This variety is one of the reasons that Roblox is so popular with young people.

Key things for parents to be aware of

1. Communication: how users can communicate with others
Whilst the games are aimed at 8-18 year olds, there are no age restrictions. This means both adults and young people can play and communicate with each other on the platform.
All games  are multiplayer and include a written chat feature, which is visible to players within each individual game. Users can also make and receive friend requests during gameplay and this means that they can chat to each other outside of the game.
You can read more about the Roblox chat features and the way that these are moderated on the Roblox community guidelines and within their safety features.


2. Content: what content is available that might not be suitable for children
The Roblox Studio is a section where players use their imagination and skills to create their own games and share these with others. The ability to create and play games can be very appealing to young people who like to create the content they see online.
However, because content is user-generated it can mean that some games might not be appropriate for young children. For example, whilst the graphics are not very lifelike, some of the games feature weapons and blood.


3. Costs: How children might accidentally run up costs
By creating games, users can earn Robux, the in-game currency. You can also buy Robux in the game. Players can spend money on items, such as membership to the Builders Club. .
If game creators attract players and in-game adverts, they can earn a lot of Robux, which they can convert into real money. To do this, players must be over the age of 13, have paid for Roblox’s premium subscription, and have access to a Paypal account. This means that younger players would need to talk to an adult to be able to exchange their Robux for real money.

For more detailed instructions and guidance on how to use the safety features of Roblox visit the Roblox website.

Information from UK safer internet centre
https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/blog/roblox-guide-parents

Top tips for parents

Whatever gaming sites your children use, our advice remains the same. It is important to have a conversation with your child about the sites they use and carry on having open discussions. This will encourage them to come to you with any concerns they may have.
Involve your child in discussions and decisions about online safety and their internet usage. This will help them understand the importance of staying safe whilst having a great time online. It will also help to educate them about how they can keep themselves safe online and know what to do if something goes wrong.


1. Stay engaged and have regular conversations
Show an interest in the games your children are playing. This could be through having a conversation about what they like to play or could be through watching them play the game. You could even have a go at playing the games yourself! If children know you have an interest in the game, they may feel more comfortable talking to you about it or coming to you for help if they need it.


2. Help them understand the importance of personal information
Check that your child understands:
– the importance of keeping their personal information safe
– that they should speak to an adult straight away if the chat goes from being about the game to meeting up offline, personal information or sending images.


3. Set rules around spending money in games
Have a conversation with your child to make sure they realise that is possible to spend real money on the game. Make promises that work for your family; perhaps your child will have to ask you for permission before they make an in-game purchase.
If you want more help to create these promises for your family’s internet use, please refer to our family agreement.


4. Make use of the safety features available
Block and report: Make sure your child knows how to find and use the report and block functions. Use the Roblox how to make a report page to learn how to do this.
Safety settings: Set up the parental controls that are right for your family. You can also disable chat, set up the Parent PIN and use the Account Restrictions within Roblox. Click here for more information on how to use the Safety features.
Settings for under 13s: There are additional safety features for under-13s, so it’s worth checking your child’s account is registered with the correct age. Players under the age of 13 have a <13 symbol next to their username on the game at all times, however this is not displayed to other players.


5. Encourage them to tell you about concerns
Remind your child that they should come to you if they ever see something inappropriate, mean comments or if anything worries them within the game.

More Useful Websites

Parents may want to visit the following websites for useful advice on keeping children safe
Internet Matters an excellent site for information about setting parental controls
Net Aware – NSPCC guide to apps
NSPCC for advice on parental controls
Parentzone
Ask About Games – advice on video games for parents

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/
https://www.getsafeonline.org/
Broadband Parental Controls: How To Keep Your Child Safe Online (gocompare.com)

https://www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/parents/learning-at-home.html

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