2 November 2021 (by admin)
Here are some suggestions for parents how best to prepare for and deal with those internet challenges/crazes that suddenly arrive and can cause interest, excitement and sometimes genuine fear amongst some children.
Typically, someone the child doesn’t know, who is trying to keep the fear of the craze alive, encourages them to add a contact; once contact is made, children can be bombarded with images and messages which can include dares, some of which are trivial, but which can encourage them to self-harm. Police have suggested that this might be a method used to harvest personal information.
When these kinds of things are reported in the media it can be confusing and scary for us as parents. It is important for us all to implement common sense advice in our approach to online safety – approaches that can be effective against any type of internet craze, regardless of how alarming it may appear. This way, we can all be protected not only against the current alarming trend, but also against its inevitable successors in the future.
That’s Nonsense website has a good parent guide to surviving alarming internet crazes https://www.thatsnonsense.com/a-parents-guide-to-surviving-alarming-internet-crazes/
Otherwise, the advice remains much the same:
Familiarise yourself with your children’s favourite websites, apps and games. This allows us to become familiar with the content as well as the parental control options. Many online video games may allow players to communicate with each other, though this can often be limited to approved friends only or switched off entirely. YouTube has parental control options that are suitable for younger and older children.
Supervise younger children. If younger children are allowed on platforms where they could potentially be exposed to adult content, make sure they are supervised at all times so if they do stumble on adult content, the parent can intervene. If supervision isn’t possible, consider using a different, safer platform.
ParentZone Parentzone is superb. Priestlands’ website has a live feed as a useful resource.
Gooseberry Planet says, to help children avoid seeing unpleasant content:
- turn off the automatic [‘up next’] feature called ‘auto play’ on YouTube
- ensure that your contact details are hidden on WhatsApp
- Make sure the ‘no fill’ option is ‘on’ within Fortnite
- ensure all settings within your Xbox and PlayStation are ‘closed’.
Internet Matters https://www.internetmatters.org urges parents to  talk to their children about: online trends among their peers; the games friends are playing; how they may face peer pressure online as they would offline  set up devices safely to prevent access to self-harm websites and images  If worried about your child’s emotional welfare or concerned they have been scared by internet ‘challenges’ contact The Samaritans on 116 123
At school we are constantly hearing about new apps, games and crazes. It is impossible for any of us to completely keep up!
The advice we continue to give to parents is: talk to your children about where they are going, what they are doing and who they are interacting with online.
Our key advice to students is:
- not to contact people you don’t actually know; never share personal details or contact information online; avoid clicking on pop-up links, particularly those that worry you; use privacy settings; disable location-sharing on your device; think before you post.
- The NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing overall online safety with their children, as well as promoting Net Aware - "parental guide to social media and gaming apps."
- Block and report: Make sure you child knows that they can block or report any user that makes them feel uncomfortable online. Childnet have some guidance on how to make reports on different websites.
- For regularly updated online safety advice visit the Priestlands SAFE section of the school website http://www.priestlands.hants.sch.uk/esafety2
If you are worried about your child
Among the most common warning signs for parents to watch out for include children who:
- Become very secretive, especially about what they are doing online
- Are spending a lot of time on the internet and social media
- Are switching off screens on their device when approached
- Are withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages
- Have lots of new phone numbers or email addresses on their devices
If adults are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with their children, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website.
Children who are worried about their activity on apps or online games can contact Childline 24 hours a day, online and over the phone on 0800 1111.