The internet is such an integral part of children’s lives these days. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences. Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
E-Safety skills are skills for life. If your child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
The internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology and managing potential risks can be a challenge. When children start to get their own computers for doing homework and playing games, it becomes more difficult to work with them to ensure they were visiting appropriate websites and not talking to strangers online in the privacy of their bedrooms.
Top Ten E-Safety Tips
- Always think of your personal safety first when using ICT or your mobile phone or any device. Remember it is easy for anyone to lie about who they are online, so you can never really be sure about who you are talking to.
- Do not give out any personal information about yourself online to people you do not know. This includes your full name, address, street name, postcode, or school name. Only ever give out your location as Dorset.
- Never give your contact number to anyone who you don’t know.
- It is a good idea to use a nickname rather than your real name.
- Don’t meet people that you have only spoken to online. If you do decide to meet up with anyone in real life then make sure you take a trusted adult with you and meet in a public place at a busy time.
- Never give out pictures online or over a mobile. It is easy for people to take your pictures and alter them, send them on, or even pretend to be you with them.
- Always use private settings whenever you are setting up a social networking page or an Instant Messenger account. This is so people who you don’t want to see your profile can’t.
- Anything you post or upload to the internet is there forever so be very careful what you put online. Sometimes potential employers and universities look at your digital footprint.
- Never go onto webcam with people you don’t know in real life. Webcam images can be recorded and copied and also shared with other people.
- If you receive any messages or pictures that worry or upset you talk to an adult you trust. You may also report it online, via the thinkuknow website www.thinkuknow.co.uk
TikTok is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos – often to a soundtrack of the top hits in music, right from your phone. Users don’t need an account to watch videos on TikTok but if they want to like, comment, customise their feed or create their own video content, they’ll be prompted to sign up for a free account. Like most social media platforms, TikTok requires its users to be at least 13 years old, although there’s no robust age-verification in place. When logging in for the first time, the user will be asked to log in using either their email, their Google account, or by linking TikTok to one of their other social media accounts, for instance Facebook or Twitter. After entering their date of birth and selecting which topics they’re interested in – such as sports, pop culture, music or gaming – the user will be dropped straight into the feed. In contrast to most of its competitors, TikTok doesn’t require the user to add any information to their profile: they’re issued with a user number, but whether they add a name, profile picture or any other personal information is their choice. By making an account private, other users must be approved before they can see and interact with your child’s content or contact them.
Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app. People can upload photos or videos to our service and share them with their followers or with a select group of friends. They can also view, comment and like posts shared by their friends on Instagram. Anyone 13 and older can create an account by registering an email address and selecting a username. If users sets their photos and videos to private, only approved followers will be able to see them. Anyone who wants to see your photos and videos will have to send a follower request which can then approve or ignore.
Wickr is a communications app similar to Whatsapp. Users are able to communicate 1:1, in groups of up to 10 people and can share files, images and voice call. All messages are end to end encrypted making the content shared secure, other security features include a virtual “shredder” where the app overwrites deleted content and an expiration timer can be set on messages to delete, this is a similar feature to snapchat. The app can be used on several devices such as phones, tablets and desktops making it easily accessible. The app does not link to contacts already stored on the device allowing users to have a separate contact list for this app. The app is aimed at users aged 13 or over however there is no age verification in place, according to the developer website any users discovered to be underage will be removed from the app.
Further information and frequently asked questions can be found on the website
Goodnight is a random voice-chatting app that allows users to talk to random users for free. Purchases can be made on the app to connect to others faster. Users can add their interests and language to their profile; this information is used to match with other like minded people. The app will match users from all over the world for a 7 minute call. Users can decide whether they want to keep in touch via message after the initial call. Goodnight do not specify age restrictions on their website however the Apple App Store have given this an age rating of 17+ and Google Apps have stated this as 18+, this is due to nature of the app and the potential for users to be exposed to mature content. There is no age verification process in place for this app. The app icon features a cartoon cat which is likely to be appealing to children and young people, at a glance the icon could also be deceptive to guardians.
Further information can be found on the website
Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. Explore one of the six websites for advice about staying safe when you’re on a phone, tablet or computer.
UK Safer Internet Centre
where you can find online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.
Other Useful Websites