Online Advice for Students & Parents

We wanted to write to everybody about how, as parents and carers, you can help to make sure your children stay safe online during this difficult time.

As young people, you can continue to do the right thing and make the most of what games, social media, phones and the internet have to offer you just now.

In some ways… Nothing’s Changed

The first thing to think about is that all of the things we always talk about are still true. So for young people…

  • Be careful with passwords
  • Don’t assume you know who people are
  • Think carefully before sharing anything online, even with your friends
  • Think about the effects of what you say and do will be on other people
  • Talk about what you’re doing online and on your phone with your folks – show them that you know how to be safe

And for parents and carers…

  • Be proactive about discussing online safety
  • Make it clear that you’re in charge and you will oversee what the children are doing
  • Make sure you understand about the apps the children are using and the sites they visit. There are some guides for things that seem particularly common at the moment further down the page…

And in other ways .. Everything’s New

The second thing to think about is that this is a new situation and there are new things to think about. So for young people…

  • Don’t spend all of your time online or on computer, tablet, phone or TV screens. Read a book, play a game (no, a board game), go out if you can, go out in the garden if you can, sit in a chair on the front step in the sun if you can, jump around the room, have a disco, do Joe Wicks’ morning PE lesson (yes, yes, that means watching YouTube but it’s allowed) – Be Active.
  • Don’t believe everything you see online – especially about the present situation. Learn how to evaluate what you read. Who is saying this? How do they know what they know? Are they experts? Qualified? Trusted? How likely does it sound?
  • I think that now is probably a bad time to expand your social media circle. You know lots of people – you might get a chance to know more people
    just now who you actually know IRL – that’s fine. But it’s probably not the time to open up to new people

And for parents and carers…

  • (With apologies for saying the obvious) Join in with doing things offline and off screens. Help make timetables for other activities.
  • Discuss what’s going on in the world as best you can – and we all need to pay attention to the advice about not believing everything you read
  • Show the children how to do it – learn something new, set yourself mini targets, keep score.

Some things to help you along the way…

  1. Little reminders of how to be kind online – a good basic reminder about life, the universe and everything
  2. Online safety tips for children – nothing new here, but all important and worth thinking about again
  3. What parents need to know about… TikTok – this seems to be particularly popular with younger children, a video sharing app that has lots of positive uses but also has the usual concerns
  4. What parents need to know about… Fortnite Chapter 2 – this hasn’t seemed to create the same buzz as Fortnite did originally but it is still popular and it’s a good example of thinking about online gaming
  5. Understanding videogaming online – loot boxes and skin betting – this is all about online gambling and about spending money online – again it’s talking about this behaviour within games but it’s a good general starting point for a big issue nationally (although it’s not something we’ve seen as a particular problem locally … yet