Online safety

Online safety and digital resilience are subjects I am passionate about. This category features articles I have written on this subject, sometimes offering hints and tips to keep your children safe, sometimes written from personal experience.

A parent’s guide PEGI age ratings

The video game Fortnite has attracted a lot of publicity recently. My eldest daughter, Helen, who is on the cusp of turning 10, was adamant she didn’t want to play it because of an incident involving another kid. She then discovered the game features some popular dance moves. Having learned of this and loving to dance, she recently sidled up to me and asked if I would buy it for her. The first thing I did was take a look at the PEGI age rating and I was very surprised to discover it was 12 years of age.

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I was inspired to produce this parent’s guide to PEGI age ratings because of my lack of knowledge of the age rating system. Pic credit: JEShoots on Unsplash.
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The real risks posed by too much screen time

Just as the Christmas holidays have ended and children have gone back to school, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has produced guidance saying screen time for kids may not be as bad as we all thought. I’m sure many parents would have preferred this guidance to have come out before the recent holidays because, well, you know, screen time rules get a bit flexible during holiday periods, don’t they?

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Children need screen time, just like adults and our houses are full of tech. Sometimes, however, I worry mums and dads rely on it too heavily as a comfort blanket.
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What parents need to know about Instagram

Here’s a little test to see how much you know about Instagram. Did you know Instagram has a feature that enables you to restrict screen time? Did you know it uses an automatic anti-bullying filter to stop users from seeing inappropriate posts? Or that you can set filters to stop certain words and emojis appearing in your comments?

Picture of Instagram's guide for parents.
The new guide for parents produced by Instagram.
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Be Strong Online: Teaching digital resilience

How do you talk to your children about digital resilience? Mums, dads and children spend so much time online that we’re being presented with challenges that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Children have to be taught how to react if they spot a hurtful meme, if they’re excluded from a WhatsApp group or tagged in a spiteful Facebook or Snapchat post.

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The Be_Strong Online workshop I attended was aimed at children, but even I learned a thing or two.

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#WhoIsSam Online safety and streaming media

Christmas is just days away and no doubt many children will receive tablets, mobile phones, computers and other devices that provide internet access. The challenge for us mums and dads is keeping our children safe while they use the Internet. A new campaign, timed to coincide with gift-giving season, highlights the uncomfortable truth that many of us parents are struggling and don’t know what to advise our kids.

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The #WhoIsSam campaign highlights the risks posed to children by criminals using streaming media, but also provides helpful advice to parents and carers.

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