As part of our determination to keep children safe, we work closely with parents to ensure that children are kept safe online. To support this, please find below a range of information provided by National Online Safety.
Yubo, a location-based social networking app which used to be called Yellow, has been dubbed ‘Tinder for teens’ in the media due to its similarities with adult dating app, in which users swipe to find matches. Its official guidelines do not permit users under the age of 13 on the app, while those aged between 13 and 17 must have parental permission to create a profile.
YouTube is a video sharing site/application that enables you to upload, view, rate, share and comment on a wide variety of videos. Consisting of a huge resource of information, advice and entertainment, YouTube now has 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users who watch a billion hours of video daily. Most of the content on Google-owned YouTube is uploaded by individuals, but organisations and media companies also oﬀer some of their content via this platform.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with more than 1.5 billion people in more than 180 countries using it to send and receive text, photos, videos and documents, as well as make voice and video calls through an Internet or Wi-Fi connection. The free app oﬀers end-to-end encryption, which means that messages can only be read by the sender and the recipient in one-to-one chats, or all members if it is a group chat. Not even WhatsApp can read them.
Online bullying – also known as cyberbullying – is bullying that takes place ON THE INTERNET or via electronic devices and mobile phones. It can include: Sending someone mean or threatening emails, direct messages or text messages; Hacking into someone’s online account; Being rude or mean to someone when playing online games; Posting private or embarrassing photos online or sending them to others; Creating fake social media accounts that mock someone or trick them; Excluding someone from an online conversation or blocking them for no reason.
Twitter is a social networking site where users can post ‘tweets’ or short messages, photos and videos publicly. They can also share ‘tweets’ written by others to their followers. Twitter is popular with young people, as it allows them to interact with celebrities, stay up to date with news, trends and current social relevance.
Twitch is a gaming-focussed live-streaming service, owned by Amazon, where you can watch others play games live and listen to commentary as they play. It has 15 million daily active users and more than three million people live broadcast video game streams and other content on Twitch, with channels dedicated to just about every popular video game imaginable – both modern and retro. There are also shows that feature gaming competitions, professional tournaments, game-related chat and news. Plus, numerous non-gaming channels covering everything from cookery and music to art and travel. But Twitch is not just about watching other people’s shows – anyone can broadcast their own gaming action.
TikTok is a global video community where users create, share and discover ‘funny and memorable moments’ via short video clips – typically about 15 seconds long. Videos can be ‘spiced up’ with special effect filters, stickers, music and sound clips. Currently one of the world’s most popular apps, TikTok was formerly known as Musical.ly, before it was rebranded by the Chinese company that acquired it in November 2017. If your child previously had a Musical.ly account, all of their videos and personal settings will have automatically been moved to TikTok.
‘Apps’ are designed to run on certain devices and are written for a speciﬁc operating system, such as Apple iOS, Windows, or Android. The oﬃcial store for the Apple iOS operating system is known as the ‘App Store’ and it’s where you can browse and download more than 2 million apps and games to use on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and other Apple devices. When your children are using the app store, you need to be aware of the risks…
Snapchat is a photo sharing app for mobile phones and tablets. The app allows users to share images for a limited number of seconds, chat with users before messages disappear, and share images with their friends list through a ‘story’.
Sexting involves sending and receiving explicit messages, images or videos of a sexual nature. This content is usually uploaded on a mobile device, which can then be uploaded onto social networking sites and shared further. They can be sent to or from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or someone your child has met online. Sexting is often described as the new flirting for children – but it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18, with police forces in England and Wales recording 6,238 underage “sexting” offences in 2016-17, a rate of 17 a day.
It can be challenging for parents and carers to know whether children are spending too much time on their devices. Furthermore, it’s even more of a challenge to know whether a child is addicted to the internet and social media. As technology is becoming more pervasive, children and young people are experiencing tech – related dependencies. Do we as parents and carers have the knowledge to identify and support children and young people who may be developing an addiction to their devices?
Roblox is a multi-player online gaming platform which allows children to play and create a variety of games in a 3D world. Roblox is free to play and available on all modern smartphones, tablets, desktops, Xbox One, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.
Reddit is a rather unique site that blends the idea of a social network with news, discussion forums and various other media. The site is broken down into a huge number of categories covering every topic imaginable. Each category is treated as a community and users can submit content for others to see and comment on. This can take the form of links to existing online content or user-generated text and image-based submissions. Submitted content can not only be commented on by others, but also rated using the upvote/downvote system.
Fake news can be false information, photos or videos purposefully created to confuse or misinform. It can also be genuine information that has been manipulated to deceive. It is important that we learn how to distinguish between real news and fake news.
Momo is a sinister ‘challenge’ that has been around for some time. It has recently resurfaced and once again has come to the attention of schools and children across the country. Dubbed the ‘suicide killer game’, Momo has been heavily linked with apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and most recently (and most worryingly)… YouTube Kids.
Minecraft is one of the biggest computer games in the world, with more than 144 million copies sold. It is a sandbox game where players can build houses and other creations, explore vast environments and play with other people online. Multiplayer in Minecraft – available through player-hosted and business-hosted servers – enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world. It’s with this online element where some dangers can come from.
Live streaming is the term used to describe the broadcast of a real-time video from a mobile device, tablet or games console. Many live streaming apps have the functionality for interactions from viewers, such as commenting, live chats and sending reactions during the broadcast. Live streaming opens up a world of excitement for children, where they can watch live concerts, their favourite celebrities and bloggers/vloggers, connect with their friends, watch live gaming and much, much more. Whilst there are many positives with live streaming, it creates a worldwide platform for unsuitable content to be streamed and creates a host of dangers for children.
LiveMe is a streaming video app that lets you watch live streams and broadcast your own live videos to anyone interested. The service, which claims to have amassed more than 60 million global users and streams around 300,000 hours of footage a day, is aimed at giving creators a ‘platform to reach a wide audience and share their talents and passions directly with their fans’. Users can buy virtual coins and gifts and send these to broadcasters who create content ‘they love’, which can be redeemed for real money.
Kik is a free messaging app used by 300 million people worldwide that lets users exchange messages, photos, videos, GIFs and webpages via a Wi-Fi connection or data plan. Kik is unusual in that your child can sign up without a phone number and then find and message other people via just their username. Kik is aimed at anyone aged 13 years and older – the app says teens between 13 and 18 years old will need parental permission but it does not verify ages.
Instagram is a photo sharing app that allows users to share images and videos with the world. The app has a live streaming feature and additional add-ons, such as ‘Boomerang’, ‘Hyperlapse’ and ‘Layout’, which can be used to enhance their feed. Users can choose to add filters and make adjustments to their photos, such as brightness / contrast. To make their content more ‘searchable’, users can include hashtags in their uploads to make them easier to find.
Houseparty is a live streaming app described as a face-to-face social network where people ‘drop in’ on each other to video chat, leave messages and hang out in groups. The platform also says #StrangerDanger gives you the opportunity for ‘party time’. In the UK alone, there is an estimated 1.5 million people using the app, more than half of which are under the age of 24.
Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game series where players control criminals and wreak havoc in order to complete missions and progress through the game. During the early stages of the game, it solely focused on completing missions to go up a level. However, as the game grew more popular the makers of GTA decided to introduce a narrative to each edition of the game. The aim of this was to increase user engagement, making gamers believe that they were not just playing as the character, but they became the character. Grand Theft Auto is accessible on a number of devices including: PlayStation and Xbox, desktop computers, PSP, Nintendo DS, and Mobile.
Grooming is when someone befriends and builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. They can do this both offline and online, with technology and the Internet being commonly used to initiate and facilitate contact with a child. Gaining victims’ trust is a key part of engaging them in sexually explicit behaviour. The groomer, who can either be a stranger or someone a child already knows, tends to use tactics such as engaging in small talk or exchanging personal information with the child about hobbies and relationships, using flattery and gifts to build a rapport or even making threats and intimidation to gain control. This can take place over varying periods of time – from a few days to several years. It is illegal in the UK for an adult to send a sexual message to a child.
‘Fortnite – Battle Royale’, is a free to play section of the game ‘Fortnite’. The game sees 100 players dropped on to
an island from a ‘battle bus’ where they have to compete until one survivor remains. The last remaining player on the island wins the game. Players have to find items hidden around the island, such as weapons, to help them survive longer in the game. To make the game harder, there is an added twist called ‘the storm’, which reduces the size of the island from the start of gameplay, making the players
closer together in proximity. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac and iOS.
You don’t need to be the biggest football fan in the world to have heard of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) – the governing body for football. And, the video game series bearing the organisation’s name is one of the most successful ever. The lure of this football series is that official licensing gives your child the opportunity to play games in the role of their favourite players. They can either work through a story mode version of the game or play online in competitions against other players. The game, released annually by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label, is available for a range of consoles, and there are also mobile versions available for smartphones and tablets. The most recent version is FIFA 18, but FIFA 19 is due for release later in the year.
In this technological era, making friends online and communicating with them are normal parts of life. Unfortunately, there are people out there who may try and exploit your trust. Catfishing is when someone creates a fake online profile to trick people into thinking they are somebody else. They assume a fake identity and goes the extra mile to make their victim believe that they are exactly who they say they are.
If you have children, it is understandable to have concerns about the films and TV shows they watch, as well as the games they play. In this guide, we take a look at the two official ways you can assess if a particular title is suitable for your child. Both the BBFC and PEGI have search facilities on their websites that can be used to look up individual titles so you can check their ratings.
Talking about the online world with your child can be difficult, and some topics can be particularly awkward; for you and your child! As a result of this, we have put together a series of 7 questions that will help you start an initial conversation with your child, so you have a better understanding of what they do online and how you can protect them. Additionally, it’s important to note that regular conversations with your child about the Internet will help your child to build confidence when talking about online issues, and therefore help to build trust too.