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New device for Christmas? How to keep your child safe online.

New device for Christmas? How to keep your child safe online.

At Natterhub, we pride ourselves in teaching primary aged children everything they need to be able to safely navigate the digital space. Continuing these online safety conversations and behaviours at home only strengthens this knowledge and understanding, especially when new devices are being gifted around Christmas time. 

Online safety at Christmas

As soon as a child tears the wrapping paper off their new device, they are going to want to get online to play. But thinking about online safety at Christmas is just as important as choosing the right piece of tech to give. After all, children are likely to be spending more time at home on devices over the holidays, so it's good to consider in advance what online safety measures you can put in place.

Whether it’s a new tablet, phone, laptop or games console, it’s important to connect your child to the internet safely. Use our 4 top tips to make sure you're on top of your child's online safety this Christmas...


Parental controls

Whilst it’s important to give your child space to explore their online environment, setting up the correct parental controls allows them to do this safely.

Setting up device controls can restrict your child’s access to certain features and apps. These can cover:

  • In-app purchasing
  • Sharing location
  • Screen time controls
  • Search engine restrictions
  • Limiting web content

As well as this, Natterhub’s Platform Advice page offers plenty of information in bitesize chunks to help you find your way around the most popular apps and games. In addition, there’s a useful Rate My YouTuber section where our Youth Board offers a helpful synopsis of popular YouTubers. We’ve included sample videos and further information too.

It’s important to note that whilst parental controls and security settings help to minimise the risks your child may face online, it’s crucial that you encourage regular conversation about online activity to ensure your child feels comfortable sharing their digital lives. 

 

Set up the device together

Each app will have its own set of security settings. Decide together which apps are appropriate for your child and go through the security settings together. This will support the child in understanding how they are kept safe online by the app itself, and also will prompt conversations about why these settings are important.

It’s a good idea to turn location settings off for most apps to protect your child’s privacy. However, installing an app like Famisafe or Life360 allows family members to check-in when they arrive at locations and share locations. This also works on Google Maps and Google Family Link.

For more advice on setting up devices and protecting your child online, and ensuring your child's online safety this Christmas, head to Natterhub’s Parenting Advice blog section. 

 

Set boundaries together

There’s plenty to talk to your child about when it comes to online safety, especially at Christmas with new devices to explore togerher. Talking will keep channels of communication open as well as making the introduction of a personal device into your home as smooth as possible.

  • Talk about how much time is appropriate to spend online each day. Decide what your child might like to do with their time and how they could manage it. Using apps like Screen Time may be helpful. 
  • Balancing on and offline activities is important for mental and physical health, as well as maintaining family wellbeing. Decide on some offline activities to balance digital time.
  • Using devices late at night can cause late nights, grumpy children risky online behaviour behind closed doors. Agree where devices will live at night to ensure a well-rested family. You could even lead by example and leave your devices downstairs too!

All of these can be supported by putting together a Family Agreement which outlines expected digital behaviours at home. Use Natterhub’s Family Agreement as an example.

 

Get involved!

Children love to share their knowledge, especially if they’re the expert! Get involved in what they’re doing online and ask them to teach you how to play their favourite online games. 

 

Additional Resources

As children get older, their screen habits change. They may leave their favourite games behind for more time on social media or begin playing games that encourage interactivity with people they don't know face to face. 

It’s increasingly common for fledgling relationships to start via the screen. And it is not uncommon for couples to request nudes as an indication of interest. The problem with this is the lack of control around where these images end. Frequently, they are shared to others and end up unintentionally in the phones of hundreds of others. They can also be used to shame, guilt or coerce young people to take part in other risky behaviour.

The pandemic has exacerbated the statistics around grooming and the sharing of explicit images online. It’s no longer confined to older children and it’s important that you tell even young children that they should never ever photograph what is underneath their clothes, even if they are asked many times to do so. 

At Natterhub, we understand how difficult it can be to start conversations like these with your children, but it’s imperative that they are privy to age appropriate chats, raising their awareness and savvy in this space and empowering them to have the confidence to decline . In 2020, Natterhub ran a campaign to raise awareness of the effects these behaviours can have on young people. You can find our downloadable resources to support conversations surrounding this topic below:

It can be helpful to create a Family Agreement. This is a great way for your child to feel that you are involved in their digital world. Playing games together, looking at screens together and being interested in what they are doing plays a leading role in how safe your children are when they are online, even when they’re not with you. For the main part, it’s your responsibility as a parent to discuss your child’s behaviour on a screen - whichever platform they are on, whatever game they are playing. If they are respectful, kind, aware of the feelings of others and they’re resilient enough to deal with and communicate  the inevitable bumps along the digital journey, they are well on their way to thriving online.

To support you in staying in-the-know with what your child is learning in school with Natterhub, you can set up a Parent Login account and see what lessons they have engaged in. This enables you to continue important, relevant conversations at home at an age appropriate level. If this is something you would like access to, refer your child’s school here.

We hope you enjoyed these top tips on how to ensure your child'ss online safety this Christmas. For information, and for more tips on popular apps and games, take a look around the Natterhub website here.



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