Over the past few months the staff have noted a number of conversations between children about their digital activities that could be deemed as inappropriate. Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to offer support to anyone who is unsure about digital media and offer some simple advice to empower parents to proactively supervise their children’s online / digital activities and to help keep them safe.
This letter is designed to strengthen and reinforce the safety messages that your child receives in school.
When we talk about digital media we are referring to anything digital… computers, tablets, phones, TV’s, game stations etc. They are all very useful and have a place in our lives; we just have to be careful about their use.
You need to make sure that you have adequately researched what your child is using and that you are happy with the content. I know from previous experience that what seems fine at first can often have inappropriate content and this can often have a negative impact on the child. This could be a set of videos on ‘Youtube’, a new ‘app’ for their tablet or a game for their game station. When it comes to games it is easy – just look at the PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) rating. This will tell you the age rating for the game. For example PEGI 3 is a game for all ages like Mario Kart or Sonic etc, PEGI 18 is for adults because of its levels of violence and language , these are games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. There are also ratings in between these two. For more information visit their website at: www.pegi.info.
Also do not forget also that all new digital devices have access to the internet and through this link children can send and receive messages. These can be part of ‘Social Media’ such as Face Book (children should be at least 13 before using this independently) or through instant messaging whilst playing a huge variety of games. The children will be able to talk to other players, so be aware that anyone could be contacting your child through this service and if your child is accessing adult games think about the kind of language they may come in contact with.
If your child is allowed to message (this could also be text messaging) then make sure you know some of the acronyms that are used – if you have never looked at these then prepared to be shocked, it is like a new language that is developing and evolving all the time. For an extensive list then go to www.safesurfingkids.com/chat_room_internet_acronyms.htm.
For online content keep on top of what your child is using by checking regularly (including browsing history), not letting them use digital media in their bedrooms - keep it in the family rooms and above all talk to your child about what they are using.
If you are concerned then do not forget that all digital media has some sort of ‘Parental Control’ that you can set up.
For more information visit the web safety page on our website or look at www.thinkyouknow.co.uk.
The children of this generation are known as ‘Digital natives’ because they have been immersed in all things digital since their birth. However this does not mean it is healthy or educational to spend too much time on digital activities. The children should be taught when it is a good time to use their devices and how long is appropriate. This will vary from family to family but is an important conversation to have regularly and will help you as they grow older and their need to be digital increases.
For more information