We would like our children to be respectful and responsible online users of technology.
Holidays are almost here and for some it may mean more free time for children to enjoy using technology and playing online games. The time children spend playing games and apps is often concerning for parents. Ideally, there should be a healthy balance between online and offline activity. On the eSafety Commissioner’s website you will find advice for parents and guardians about children’s time online. It suggests that it’s not only how much time children spend playing games that should be considered but also, the value of what is being played and parent involvement.
Tips that are offered to parents include:
Be involved your child’s online activities
Together with your child set boundaries for online use
Be clear about and follow consequences
Ask your child to explain their online use
Know how to apply privacy and access settings
Set a good example through your own use of technology
If you would like to know more, you can read about the signs to look out for that may indicate problems, what to do if you are concerned and how to help your child manage their online time on Time online, eSafety Commissioner.
The eSafety Commissioner has an excellent eSafety Gift Guide that aims to “inform parents and carers about what to look out for with tech gifts and provides practical advice on how to stay safe.” You can find information about “drones, smart toys, smartphones, tablets and even wearables for pets” in this guide.
It is vital for you to be aware of what your child is doing when they are on the Internet.
Please stress to your child that they should not share identifying information about themselves when online. This could be when responding to questions whilst playing a game or when posting photos or videos online.
We are aware that some students have access to YouTube through a Google account of their own or their parents’ Google account. If your child has access to their own YouTube channel, and they create and upload their own videos, please check that you have enabled strict privacy settings with comments and likes turned off.
YouTube’s Terms of Service regarding Age Requirements states:
You must be at least 13 years old to use the Service. However, children of all ages may use YouTube Kids (where available) if enabled by a parent or legal guardian. If you are considered a minor in your country, you represent that you have your parent or guardian’s permission to use the Service. Please have them read this Agreement with you. If you are a parent or legal guardian of a minor in your country, by allowing your child to use the Service, you are subject to the terms of this Agreement and responsible for your child’s activity on the Service. You can find tools and resources to help you manage your family’s experience on YouTube in our Help Center and through Google’s Family Link. (YouTube’s updated Terms of Service)
It is important that your child knows what to do when something inappropriate (nasty, mean, rude, sexy, scary or violent) in words or pictures appears when they are online. Take the time to decide with your child what they should do if this occurs.
It is also important to promote an open and honest dialogue surrounding your child's use of technology. For this reason we suggest that if something does happen when your child is online that you try to stay calm and, in the first instance, don't threaten to ban the internet or game - a child's love of playing a game may prevent them from chatting to you about something worrying them if they know that you will stop them from playing the game.
Many children love playing games such as splix.io and Roblox. Please be alert to the fact that even though apps and games may state that they use a variety of blocks or settings to protect the younger player, things can and do go wrong. The Parent’s Guide to Roblox gives some valuable information about the game and parental controls, however, to know the risks involved for children playing the game read Webwise Explained: What is Roblox? Here you will find an overview of the game and learn the risks in playing, plus you will be given advice for parents.
Family zone also gives you information about Roblox - Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids.
The eSafety Commissioner’s eSafety Guide offers important information about games, apps and social media that is a must-read for parents and guardians. Also, check the Common Sense media site, in particular, the Parents’ Ultimate Guides, to keep up to date with the apps and games your child may be playing.
More online safety information can be found in Issue Three and Seven of our past newsletters
Enjoy the holidays and stay safe online.
Peta Overbury & Loretto Campbell
Deputy Principal eLearning Leader