National Online Safety Guides

We regularly send parents and carers National Online Safety guides to update and inform parents about websites, games and apps and how to keep their children safe online whilst using these. See below for a range of these information guides. 

 

 

Twitter

Twitter is a social media network which allows users to post short messages (‘tweets’) of up to 280 characters. Tweets can consist of text, photos, videos, audio, links, polls and GIFs – often linked by hashtags if they share a common theme or message 

 
This guide focuses on Twitter. It highlights a number of risks such as trolls and bullying, fixation on view count and interaction with strangers.
 
 

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft originally launched way back in 2004, and since then the game has blossomed into a major entertainment property. It’s spawned spin-off novels, merchandise and even a Hollywood movie adaptation. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as the potential for online addiction, in-game purchases and simulated violence. 

 

Setting up

This week’s online safety guide focuses on setting up apps, games and software. It highlights a number of tips such as disabling in-app purchasing, take note of age ratings and watching out for imitators.  

 

 

 

Social Media and Mental Health

Using social media has plenty of potential benefits for young people: it helps them stay connected to their friends, hear contrasting views on the world, find reassurance or support, and ease social anxiety. It also brings, however, a corresponding number of negative possibilities – including compulsive use, unhealthy comparisons with others online and exposure to harmful content.
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips such as how to hide content, setting daily limits and discussing what children have seen online
 

 

 

 

TikTok

 
TikTok is a free social media platform that lets users create, share and watch short videos ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in duration. TikTok has faced numerous age-related challenges such as inappropriate content in videos, in-app purchasing and children being contacted by strangers on the platform. The age rating for this app is 13, therefore not appropriate for children of primary school age. 
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate content, dangerous challenges and contact with strangers.
 
 

Combat Online Bullying

 
Just like its offline counterpart, cyber-bullying creates feelings of isolation and anxiety in its victims, along with a loss of self-esteem and potentially thoughts of self-harm or suicide. 
 
In support of Anti-Bullying Week, today’s #WakeUpWednesday guide has expert tips on how trusted adults can help to prevent online bullying or reduce its damaging effects
 
     

Overwatch 2

 
Overwatch 2 is a futuristic shooting game with a focus on teamwork and strategy which gives it an extra dimension to the majority of titles in the genre. 
The first Overwatch attracted criticism for its toxic community, which is clearly still a concern for young players if they use the audio chat when fighting alongside (or against) strangers.
 
The age rating for this app is 12 therefore not appropriate for children of primary school age. 
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as violent gameplay, in-game purchases and voice chat.
 
 

FIFA23

 
There’s no disputing that FIFA has been an immense success – but what’s less impressive is its tendency to look defensively shaky against some online threats. Young players aiming to recreate their football heroes’ exploits can be at risk from abusive opponents, expensive in-game purchases and the “just one more game” mentality. This week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide tackles FIFA 23. Please note, even though the age rating for this app is 3, there are still risks that children face whilst playing online. 
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate chat, scammers and addiction.
 
 
     

BeReal

 
BeReal is the latest trending social media app. The concept is that people see others in their authentic day-to-day lives, sharing candid photos without editing or applying filters. Each day at a random time, users are simultaneously notified to take a photo of what they’re doing at that exact moment. The two-minute window to submit an image means there’s no time to select a particularly glamorous or exciting activity. BeReal shares two pictures: a selfie, and an image of the immediate surroundings. Please note, the age rating for this app is 13+. Therefore it is not suitable for primary school aged children. 
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as strangers, location sharing and visible personal data.
 
 

Be Green with Tech

This guide is all about how we can each do our bit to help the planet by re-using or recycling unwanted digital devices such as old smartphones, computers and tablets

 

 

 

     

Instagram

 
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion users worldwide. It allows users to upload images and videos to their feed, create interactive ‘stories’, share live videos, exchange private messages or search, explore and follow other accounts. This app is not designed for primary school aged children as the age rating for this app is 13+.
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, unrealistic ideals and the influencer culture.
 
 

Roblox

 
Roblox is one of the most popular video games on the market and offers a huge amount of creative freedom. It lets players create their own gaming experiences with the Roblox Studio to build custom levels and games which can then be shared with other players online.
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online daters, in-app purchases and contact with strangers.
 
 
     

Discord

Discord is one of the most popular communication tools for gamers. It allows you to create or join what are known as ‘servers’, where different users can talk in groups via text message or voice call. There is also the option to send direct messages and make video calls. The age restriction for Discord is 13+ which means it is not suitable for children of primary age.
 
In this guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as inappropriate content, sexual imagery and cyberbullying.
 
 

Group Chats

Occurring through messaging apps, on social media and in online games, group chats are among the most popular ways that young people engage with their peers online. While they may be useful for helping friends and  members of a club to communicate and coordinate activities, they can also leave young people feeling excluded and bullied – as well as providing opportunities for inappropriate content to be shared and viewed.
 
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as bullying, inappropriate content and unknown members.
 
     

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging service, with around two billion users exchanging texts, photos, videos and documents, as well as making voice and video calls. Although WhatsApp has a feature where messages can be deleted, it is important to note that once a message has been screenshot, the proof is there and can be shared around. This app is not designed for primary school aged children. The age rating for this app in the UK and Europe is 16+. 

In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, strangers and location sharing.
 
 

Wink

Wink is a messaging app which allows children to connect and communicate with other users. In a similar style to Tinder, Wink uses the swipe method for browsing profiles and accepting or declining them. Once two users have accepted each other by swiping on each other’s profile, they can then communicate and play games online together. The fact that Wink allows children to share photos, personal information and their location with other users has caused significant concern. The age rating for this app is 13+ so primary school aged children should not have access to this app.

In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.

 

     

Respect Online

 
Our ability to communicate with anyone in the world, at any time, via the internet has grown at great speed.
 
This year’s Online Safety Day theme was based on online respect, this was discussed in assembly. In this guide, you’ll find a number of tips such as protecting yourself, replying wisely and being forgiving.
 
 
 

Youtube

 
YouTube is a video-sharing social media platform that allows billions of people around the world to watch, share and upload their own videos with a vast range of content – including sport, entertainment, education and lots more. It’s a space for people to consume content that they’re interested in. As a result, this popular platform has had a huge social impact: influencing online culture on a global scale and creating new celebrities.

In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as connecting with strangers, inappropriate content and high visibility.