How safe are your children online?
Recently we created a quiz and asked everyone in school to complete this. See the results below and how you could help at home to stay safer.
13 is the minimum age according to TikTok’s terms and conditions.
Seeing inappropriate content: Parents have expressed concern around the inappropriate language of some of the video posted which may make this less suitable for younger children.
Contact from strangers: Predators seeking to connect with children is another risk that parents have said their children. For more insight on parent review, visit Common Sense Media.
When you download the app users can see all the content without creating an account although they are not able to post, like or share anything until they’ve set up an account on the app.
By default all accounts are public so anyone on the app can see what your child shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages. Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other. There is the risk that strangers will be able to directly contact children on the app. Children may be tempted to take risks to get more of a following or likes on a video so it’s important to talk about what they share and with who.
To delete an account you have to request a code from the app using a phone number.
In-game chat: What you need to know
Video games have always been popular among children - even more so now that online multiplayer games like Fortnite, FIFA and Overwatch have evolved into social spaces, where friends and strangers meet and play together.
Many children make new friends by playing online and get to know each other via voice or text chat while playing.
In-game chat refers to the game’s own built-in chat function which lets the entire group of people playing together, friends and strangers, talk. It’s also popular to use external chat platforms, like Skype or Discord, in which only invited members can join the chat. Being a part of an online community where like-minded people can talk to each other can be great fun — but not everyone in in-game chats has good intentions, and there are a few things to be aware of if your child is using in-game chat functions.
You can limit who your child can communicate with by adjusting the settings so that they can’t be contacted by people who are not on their friends’ list. But another option is to set up a private chatroom for your child and their friends using platforms like Discord, which is very secure. Some games, like Minecraft, offer the ability to set up a private server so that only approved players can enter the gaming session.
Viewing, creating or broadcasting ‘real-time’ video content online) is popular amongst children but some content might be upsetting or inappropriate for your child to view. Knowing what your child is viewing, creating or sharing online can help you to manage how your child uses their technology and may help you reduce the risks to your child’s safety and well-being online. Live streaming platforms include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, Live.ly, Omegle and Periscope. Some only allow a limited number of people to view the content; others are open to all. For most of these platforms the minimum user age is 13. Live streaming platforms are known to be used by abusers who exploit the immediacy of these platforms to groom children, sometimes tricking them or daring them to stream nudity.
Fortnite – Battle Royale (PEGI Rating 12, App store 12+)
Fortnite? an interactive, multiplayer military themed, online game where players go PvP (Player vs Player) to compete and battle against each other for ultimate survival and victory. It's no surprise that this ‘free’, downloadable, online, ‘survival of the fittest’ adventure game is the current favourite amongst younger gamers. It is available for all popular consoles and mobile devices and if your child is not playing it, then their friends probably are. Problems are emerging with inappropriate in-game chat and contact, costly in-app purchases, wellbeing issues and its addictive game play. These are common concerns for many online games.
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) social networking chat bot app that learns from conversations, questions and user’s responses. This free app is full of pop ups and adverts, which asks personal questions and allows you to talk bout anything to anyone and then share it publicly. It is easy to see how and why users misuse this app for online bullying and can believe they are talking to a real person because it allows users to ask the app to 'think for them' and creates a comment based on the conversation that is being had.
‘Five Nights at Freddy’s 4’.This horror game is the latest in a series, designed to scare players with the ‘jump factor’. The game is designed for ages 12+ but those with a sensitive nature should be aware. This is not a game suitable for young gamers. The game’s atmospheric setting is designed to terrify and uses sound, graphics and suspense to create unease and intensity. Set in darkness, players need to keep themselves alive by hiding from demonically possessed toys that stalk them from inside wardrobes and under the bed. This game should be played with caution as the psychological effects alone can be enough to disturb sleep and play on young minds.
Online Bullying over Snapchat with the letter ‘X’
Several schools are dealing with issues relating to online bullying over SnapChat outside of school. Snapchatters send the letter ‘X’ to a snapchat friend, who then sends back the name of the ‘victim’. Other friends then compete online to share insults to see who can be the unkindest about the person who has been chosen, with upsetting and harmful consequences. This not a game is unacceptable, is dangerous and online bullying behaviour. Users of the app should be 13+. Therefore, we advise that the Snapchat app be removed from devices of children who are under the recommended age.