E-Safety

E-Safety Tips for Parents/Carers
 
If you have enabled your child to go online or use social media platforms, recommended advice is that parents regularly monitor their child's use and do not allow them to use them unaccompanied if they are under the age limit. Please remember our digital footprint is with us for life and what is posted online, even within private messaging features, can have a detrimental impact.
TikTok
 
This video-sharing social media app lets people create, view and download looping 15-second clips. Typically, these are videos of users lip-syncing and dancing to popular songs or soundbites (often for comic purposes), enhanced with filters, effects and text. Potential risks include as age-inappropriate content, addiction and in-app spending. The UK age restriction is 13+.
 
 
Facebook
 
As the world's most popular social media platform, Facebook encourages interaction with other people. This includes adding them as friends, commenting on their content, sharing images and joining groups. It is free and anyone over 13 can join but there is no age verification so children can easily create an account. Potential risks include cyberbullying, strangers and the addictive nature of the software. 
 
 
 
YouTube
 
This is the default video-viewing app for so many people, wherever they are, so when something is uploaded (age-appropriate or not) it can reach a staggering number of people in almost no time at all. There are countless harmful clips featuring profanity, sex or violence which are equally likely to go viral rapidly. 
 
 
Alexa
 
Smartphone, tablet and smart device users can issue voice commands and ask questions by saying the activation word 'Alexa' with this piece of AI. It can be accessed in several ways and is integrated into a growing number of smart products including speakers, phones and clocks. Potential risks include privacy, age-inappropriate content and insecure devices.
 
 
Gifts
 
In the rush to let young children enjoy their shiny new gadgets at Christmas or on their birthday, many parents neglect to set devices up safely. This increases the chances of children going online and stumbling across adult content, making expensive downloads or installing unsuitable apps. A little time configuring the device properly can save a lot of anguish later. National Online Safety have created top tips on how to do this effectively such as setting screen time limits and installing family friendly settings.
 
Discord
 
This communication tool for gamers allows you to create or join 'servers', where different users can talk in groups via text message or voice call. There is also the option to send private messages and make video calls. The age restriction is 13+ but there are increasing number of children using this app and parents are advised to monitor usage very carefully. Adult content circulates on this app and cyber-criminal groups have been linked to the platform. Users are also encouraged to sign up to expensive premium subscriptions. 
 
 
Twitch
 

Twitch is a livestreaming service which tends to focus on gaming. Users can publicly broadcast their gameplay and commentary online for other users to watch. Viewers can support their favourite streamers’ channels through PayPal donations. It also includes non-gaming topics such as music, cooking and art. Anyone can create a channel to livestream or watch videos. There are a number of potential risks such as inappropriate content, private chat rooms and strangers.

 

Twitch Online Safety Guide 2022

Whats App
 
This is the world's most popular messaging service, used to exchange texts, photos, videos and documents and make voice and video calls. The age limit for using this app in the UK is 16+ due to the risks it may pose to younger children such as scams, connecting with strangers, fake news, location sharing and cyberbullying. 
 
 
Poppy Playtime
 
This video game has been described as an "introduction to horror", containing images and details that some children may find disturbing. Frightening themes are paired with child-friendly items which may be especially upsetting to children who have not yet developed the resilience to deal with such content. It is important to note this game is not age-restricted but carries with it risks including anxiety, stress, intrusive thoughts and new fears.
 
 
YuBo
 
This is a new and increasingly popular app amongst young people. This social networking app lets users chat and livestream with up to 10 friends at once. It uses a 'Tinder-style' swiping mechanism to accept or reject someone based on their profile picture. While the app claims to monitor inappropriate content, a newspaper investigation earlier this year found young users exposed to sexual harassment, racism, bullying and exposed to conversations with an adult theme. 
 
 
Replika
 
This new AI companion app learns to imitate its user, aiming to produce more rewarding interaction. The more a person talks to their Replika, the more it sounds and thinks like them. An advanced chatbot, constantly reflecting someone’s own thoughts back at them, could create a personal echo chamber where even extreme or distasteful opinions become normalised. 
 
 
Wink
 
This messaging app allows users to connect and communicate with other users. It uses a 'Tinder' style swipe method for browsing profiles and accepting or declining them. Once two users have accepted each other they can communicate and play games online together. Wink allows children to share photos, personal information and their location - this causes significant cause for concern. Grooming and inappropriate content are serious risks. The app has an age rating of 13+.
 
 
Phone Scams

Phone scams are a common form of cyber-attack where fraudsters engage directly with their intended victim through their smartphone. As our phones carry so many sensitive (and therefore potentially valuable) details about us, it’s vital that we are alert to the tactics that scammers use to get access to user accounts, personal data and private information for financial gain. Potential risks include sim hacking, smishing and impersonation.

 

Phone Scams Advice 2022

 
Disney+
 
This subscription-based streaming service is designed to be family friendly, with content restricted to PG and 12a. It can be streamed on most devices and features a huge library of classic Disney titles. In the free National Online Safety guide you will find tips on a number of potential risks, such as hackers, age-inappropriate content and outdated cultural depictions.
 
Esports
 

This has been described as competitive gaming, human-v-human, usually with a spectator element to it. Some of the potential hazards within esports include in-game purchases, inappropriate content and possible exploitation.

 

Esports Online Safety Guide 2022