Tis’ the season to be jolly! While the holiday season is in full form and Christmas is just around the corner, we thought it would be best to highlight some tips for staying safe online this December. After all, schools are soon to break up and no doubt, new presents may result in more and more time spent online. With that in mind, take a look below at our top tips for keeping children and young people safe online.
Get to know the technology
If you’ve purchased any new technology for Christmas whether it be a games console or mobile device, it is always best to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of what is involved before passing it on to younger age groups. This could include seeing whether any age restrictions can be set up beforehand or putting any filters in place to ensure that appropriate measures are set up from the moment they start using it. If you need any support, why not take a look at some of our parental control articles in our Gaming Hub, which highlights parental controls and features for some of the most popular devices, that you could be buying this Christmas.
Manage screen time
More time at home can mean more time online and if new presents are involved, this could mean that days are taken up even more by screens. It’s good to talk about screentime beforehand, so everyone in the household is aware of what is an acceptable amount of time and so no surprises are met further down the line. A lot of devices and apps now include screentime limits which can be an option to set up if you are concerned about agreements not being met. You can also read our handy Digital Wellbeing hub that has information about screentime, for further advice.
Utilise reporting functions
Whether on social media or on a games console, there are reporting functions that are available to help address any harm that may be experienced online. It is good to show your child what reporting functions are available across their favourite platforms so they know what to do if they see something that upsets them. This could include muting or blocking options as well as using filters to keep certain types of content away from accounts. As well as reporting features, anyone over the age of 13 can use Report Harmful Content for further advice.
You can also find out about reporting functions on some of the most popular social media platforms, by downloading our free checklists.
Create online safety discussion
Although parental controls and filters are helpful, developing our own critical thinking towards online safety can have a much bigger impact and give young people more confidence when navigating the online world. Create discussion in the household about safer internet use while talking about certain scenarios that they may encounter online so they feel prepared around how to appropriately respond. Build their confidence in knowing how to ignore unwanted friend requests, leaving harmful online chats, reporting individuals or refraining from over-sharing personal information. Building this knowledge can set them up for a long future of staying safe online. You can check out Childnet’s resource Have a Conversation for more advice
We’ve said it many times before but technology can be a wonderful thing and sharing the experience with a young person in your care, can make it seem even more fantastic. If you have planned for giving some exciting new tech for the holiday season, make sure you share in the fun and explore it together. Online safety doesn’t have to be a ‘lesson’ that needs to be strictly taught, it can be all part of the experience that be shared as a family. Take the time to understand new technology and learn how you can stay safe online together.
We have given you just a snapshot of how those around you can stay safe online during the winter break. If you would like to find further tips and advice, please visit our Topics page which provides useful information on an array of subjects. Alternatively, you can read any of our free resources for even more guidance!