ICT and technology are part of all our lives and whilst this brings great benefits, there are online dangers. Cathedral urges all parents and carers to check the security settings on home devices and monitor internet use to help protect your child online.
Top Tips for Parents:
- Children should ideally only add on social media sites people they know and trust in real life.
- Some predatory paedophiles can convincingly pose as another teenager and may spend months or years ‘grooming’ the victim until they meet face to face. Young people must always be accompanied by an adult if meeting an online friend in person.
- Do not ban children from these sites; they will just use them at friends’ houses or on their phone, personal media player or handheld games console.
- Take an interest and suggest they add you as a friend so you can keep an eye on them when they first join.
- Have the main computer in a communal area of the home where there is passive supervision and be reasonable about time online. Set appropriate boundaries in the online world as you would in the real world.
- If they have a wireless laptop and you want to stop them going online after a quote of an hour is up, unplug the router where the phone line comes into the house.
- If you suspect your child is having a problem, the evidence will be on your computer. If you can print off copies of messages and screenshots of web postings, these will be used to investigate further.
- Tell your child not to reply to any unpleasant messages and instead report this to school straight away.
If you have any concerns your child is a victim, or a potential perpetrator, of cyberbullying contact a member of our Safeguarding team. You can also view the links below to get more information and support about safe use of social media sites.
Facebook is the world’s biggest social network. Every day, more than a billion people use the service to post status updates, photos and videos, or just to see what their friends are up to.
Children are only allowed to join once they are aged 13 or over. But, in reality, lots of people younger than that use the service. This is because Facebook cannot check how old you are, it only asks you not to lie. Hence it is simple for younger users to sign up. Facebook’s popularity makes it a great way to share information, but it also brings inherent dangers. As such, it is important your children stay safe while using it. (Information from bt.com)
Help your child stay safe on Facebook by visiting the Family Safety Centre.
Snapchat is one of the most popular social networks in the world with users sending over 400 million ‘Snaps’ every single day. Find more information on the Internet Matters website.
These short videos or photos can be shared to the world or with friends and have a lifespan of just 1 to 10 seconds after which they will permanently disappear. Snapchat has a minimum age requirement of 13 years old, and users who enter a date of birth under 13 cannot set up an account. Snapchat is all about sharing photos and videos, so, like Facebook, children need to be careful what they take – and send – photos of.
Because Snapchat photos and videos disappear within seconds, you might think there is less of a risk. Unfortunately many smartphones have a screenshot facility and there is nothing to stop the recipient capturing an image of a Snap which will last forever and which can be shared online within seconds.
All social networks have potential problems. Your child could be at risk from bullying from people they connect with, they can be pressured into taking personal photos or they may be exposed to explicit content at an early age.
You can read the ‘Parent’s Guide to Snapchat‘ for more information.
Instagram is a social media app used to share photos, videos and messages. The minimum age to have an Instagram account is 13. Teens use Instagram to celebrate big milestones, share everyday moments, keep in touch with friends and family, build communities of support and meet others who share their passions and interests. It is important that your child manages their privacy settings to limit who can view their profile and who can send them messages. It is a good idea to set their privacy settings together so you are aware of their online presence. (Information from instagram.com)
You can read the ‘Parent’s Guide to Instagram’ for more information.
TikTok is a destination for short-form mobile videos. The full TikTok experience is intended for users aged 13 and over. TikTok have introduced private account settings and Family Pairing to help parents and guardians keep their teens safe on TikTok. In addition, the ability to send and receive direct messaging is restricted to registered accounts aged 16 and older.
You can read the ‘Parent’s Guide to TikTok’ for more information.