You will all have heard about the recent online scares regarding the MOMO challenge, along with the creepy image and the disturbing information.
There are lots of articles and stories out there now saying that it was a hoax, but by the very nature of it going viral, the Government taking appropriate action, schools and parents taking extra precautions… this in itself has a huge impact on children discussing it with friends in the playground etc.
There are so many devices, apps and online platforms for children now that youngster being online these days is taken for granted and part of the norm. The MOMO challenge threat led me to look into child online safety to bring not only myself up to date, but to share it with you too.
Some of the advice out there might be obvious but with busy lives, these things can easily be forgotten.
Talk To Your Child
With the digital world changing all the time, the NSPCC recommends:
Help them to stay safe online by working as a team and following these simple steps:
Teach Your Child To Be Share Aware
Being careful about what personal information we share online is obvious to you and I, however, kids can innocently pass this information on to strangers. The NSPCC have created a video that you can show your children, if you feel it is appropriate for them. You can find the video HERE – take a look to see if you think it might help your personal situation.
Find out more about the social networks, and online games, your kids use by visiting Net Aware. Find out about age ratings and how they are used.
There are two official ways you can assess if a particular title is suitable for your child. Both the BBFC (ratings for films, TV and music videos) and PEGI (ratings for games) have search facilities to enable parents to look up individual titles to check age ratings and suitability.
Bought Your Child A New Device?
Set up the device together and use it as a starting point to having conversations about online safety. This can help build trust and confidence, enabling your child to know what to do if they ever feel troubled or unsafe. There are also settings to help with preventing children from viewing upsetting or inappropriate content, managing which apps can be downloaded, limiting purchases within them and turning off location sharing.
If you would like some expert advice in setting your child’s device up, O2 online safety gurus are NSPCC trained advisors and they are based in O2 stores. Book your appointment here. The service is free of charge regardless of network.
Quite often the things that are the most obvious are the ones overlooked.
Set up parental controls on all devices your child/ children has access to. Give yourself the peace of mind to know they are only viewing things suitable for their age.
If you want to talk to someone about online safety regarding parental controls, privacy and social networks the NSPCC, in conjunction with O2 have set up a helpline. You can contact them at 0808 800 5002.
What Else We, As Parents, Can Do
- Get involved with your child’s online life
- Be fully aware of everything your child is exposed to online.
- Keep them safe and monitor their online activity regularly.
For more information about internet safety for children, the NSPCC website is very helpful.
I also found the website National Online Safety very helpful. There are guides for all social media platforms and they even have parent courses if you feel this might be beneficial, or if you want that extra peace of mind.