Online Safety is an ever growing and changing area of interest and concern. The internet and related technologies, including mobile devices such as phones, gaming media, tablets, and watches, are developing rapidly and are integral to the daily lives of our students.
Many of these technologies are used to enable students to engage creatively with their learning. Socially, our students often use the internet for entertainment, interaction and communication with ‘friends’ – bringing about new risks which many adults were never faced with. It has never been more important for parents and carers to understand how their children use the internet and associated technologies, so that they can help to manage the risks that exist and reinforce the important online safety messages that we should all be promoting.
You can also find out more about how children use social media, the apps they use, the risks they face, how to use privacy settings, and advice and tips about how to talk to your children, at:
Which social media services are age restricted?
WhatsApp have announced a change to their terms and conditions for users based in Europe recently. Users will now need to be 16 to use WhatsApp.
Nearly all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Musical.ly and Skype.
Whilst there is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account (enabling them to subscribe to other channels, like videos, post comments, share their own content and flag inappropriate content).
Why do these restrictions exist?
The reason most social media services use an age limit of 13 or over is in part because of the COPPA law or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This states that any organisations or people operating online services (including social media services) are not allowed to collect the personal information of anyone under the age of 13 without parental permission.
To avoid the necessity of obtaining parental permission for any user under the age of 13, most services have instead chosen to place an age restriction of 13 to their services. They write this rule into their Terms and Conditions – which users must agree to when they initially sign up and some services may ask users to declare their age during sign up.
Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?
There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:
- Thinkuknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
- Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- Net-aware (support for parents and carers from the NSPCC)
- Childnet offers a toolkit to support parents and carers of children of any age to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support
- Let’s Talk About It has advice for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation
- UK Safer Internet Centre has tips, advice, guides and other resources to help keep children safe online, including parental controls offered by home internet providers and safety tools on social networks and other online services
- SafetyDetectives – Parents’ Guide for Safe YouTube and Internet Streaming for Kids.
Teachers, parents and carers can report harmful content as well as bullying and online abuse concerns directly to school and contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harmful or upsetting content
Also Get support by:
- reporting harmful online content to the UK Safer Internet Centre
- getting government advice and trusted resources from Educate Against Hate on safeguarding from radicalisation, building resilience to extremism, and promoting shared values
Bullying or abuse online
- get advice on reporting online abuse from the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection command
- get advice and support from Anti-Bullying Alliance for children who are being bullied
Safer Internet Day February 9th 2021
To mark this year’s Safer Internet Day, the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) has released new research which shows young people’s experience of misleading content online and the strategies they are using to manage this.
Safer Internet Day education materials are available to help to promote safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
In support of Safer Internet Day, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, has said:
“As children are living in an increasingly digital world, it is vitally important that they are able to separate fact from fiction and challenge or question any misinformation they may come across.
“We are providing 1.3 million devices for children who need them the most because we know that the internet is an important vehicle for education during the pandemic, with extensive advice for schools on how to prioritise online safety.
“This year’s safer internet day is more important than ever. We want children to have access to the tools they need to navigate modern life, including how to identify disinformation and trusted sources, stay safe online, and make the right decisions when engaging with media content. We have already introduced guidance for schools about teaching online safety across the curriculum within new and existing subjects, such as Relationships, Sex and Health Education, Computing and Citizenship.”
Further information is available in the government guidance: guidance on safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)and teaching online safety in schools.