There have been recent reports that some seemingly innocent videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids (such as ‘surprise eggs’, unboxing videos and Minecraft videos) have been edited by unknown sources to include violence provoking and/or other inappropriate content. This content may be shared with your child via social media channels: SnapChat, WhatsApp, Instagram and others. This content may encourage your child to self-harm or carry out some other “challenge”. As a parent, it’s difficult to spot these videos as the harmful content doesn’t appear until partway through the video.
To protect your child from such harmful content, we recommend that you talk with your child on an ongoing basis about what he or she is accessing and about how to stay safe online. Reminding your child to tell you about anything upsetting that they encounter online is very important. Having regular and open dialogues about what your child is accessing will encourage them to talk to you if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with any content online or bullying behaviours.
Monitoring of your child’s devices can also help to ensure they are safe online. Seemingly innocent and harmless children’s apps and videos can be used to share disturbing content and to encourage children to contact individuals that they do not know. Regular monitoring of your child’s devices will bring this to your attention quickly and allow you to take appropriate action.
You may find the following links useful to support keeping your child safe.
- Internet Safety: Parent Zone – https://glo.li/parentzoneonline
- Advice to Pupils: Stay Safe Online –https://glo.li/staysafeonline
- National Online Safety have useful parent/carer guides for popular apps – https://glo.li/nosplatformguides
- NSPCC – Online safety – https://glo.li/nspcconline
- CEOP’s Thinkyouknow for parents and carers –https://glo.li/thinkuknow
“Children and young people are spending more and more time in online environments, with smart phones, laptops and hand-held devices that allow them to communicate in different ways. Although the internet has had a major impact on society over the past 20 years, today’s children and young people have grown up online without either them or their parents understanding the potential risks they face on a daily basis. The internet can be fun and useful but you and your child need to have an understanding of the online environment and how to make it safe. Making sure your child knows the online dangers is just as important as teaching them to cross the road safely.” Education Scotland
It is therefore crucial that parents have open, regular conversations with their child to enable you to really understand and explore the online world together and help you to keep them safe online. It is suggested that parents read up on the top 2/3 apps that their child is using so that if an issue does arise, you are more informed to deal with it. From talking with P6 and P7 pupils, many of the children indicated that they use a range of apps which are not age appropriate as described in each app’s terms and conditions. The main ones which were mentioned by pupils include Snapchat (13+), Instagram (13+), What’s App (16+), and Music.ly (13+). It is important that parents are fully aware of the apps that their child may be using and if there are any potential risks that come with usage. Further, comprehensive information on a range of apps, detailing risks, can be found on the NSPCC website and also Think U Know
Additional information can be found by visiting Parentzone