FOR PARENTS AND CARERS:
Children are likely to be online much more over the coming weeks, possibly using their laptops to access virtual classrooms and learning material as well as other entertainment. The risks will vary depending on their age, but here are some tips to help keep them safe and healthy:
- Ensure your passwords are strong and secure for your router and any accounts that your children might be tempted to access.
- Make sure all your devices have the latest software updates
- Keep anti-virus software up to date and consider installing parental control software to protect children from stumbling across inappropriate content.
- Be aware of fake news and scams; these are already emerging.
- Ensure children are appropriately dressed, in a suitable space within your home and ready in good time for the start of any virtual lessons.
- Ensure that your child logs out after any virtual lesson.
- Check that there are no other windows open on the device your child uses during an online lesson (eg. online games)
- Agree some ground rules about screen time, breaks and exercise – it’s much easier to do this in advance than argue about it later. Keep an eye on their posture too.
- Use PEGI ratings and reviews to check the age suitability of any games they want to play.
- Remind children about the need to keep personal information private and not to be tempted to over share or click on links or free offers.
- Remind them only to communicate online with real life friends.
- For children using video chat, have a conversation about who they are chatting with and how they know them, to ensure their contacts are safe.
- Talk about good digital citizenship, about being kind and thoughtful in their online interactions and how thoughtless behaviour can both damage their reputation and hurt others.
- Reassure them that you are there to help if they have any worries about anything they come across online or about the current health crisis.
- If you are a Gooseberry Parent, there is lots more guidance about how parents can help their children stay safe online. Download the Gooseberry Parent App.
- See this great article from the BBC on how families can cope with self-isolating together.