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Covid-19: Information, guidance and resources to support you through the pandemic

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Online safety and well-being

The Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing measures means that we are reliant on the internet now more than ever before. Here we’ve brought together key information and ideas on how to support children and young people stay safe while online.

Safe internet use during Covid-19

The Safer Internet Centre has warned of an increased risk of children being coerced and groomed while the schools are shut and children spend more time online. These resources provide information and advice specific to the crisis.

There are resources from Think U Know and BBC to help children and young people understand how they can stay safe online. You will also find advice on specific issues such as cyberbullying, safe online gaming and the use of apps like HouseParty.

The following organisations provide information on how to keep children and young people safe while online during the Covid-19 crisis.

    Cyberbullying

    During this national lock down children and young people are increasingly reliant on social media and online networks to keep in contact with friends. This can leave children and young people vulnerable to experiencing bullying online, known as cyberbullying.

    The first three sites provide advice and support on how to recognise if a child or young person is experiencing cyberbullying and what you can do to support them:

    The following sites are for children and young people who need support:

    Tips for safe online gaming

    With more children at home at the moment, online gaming is an entertaining way to pass time, and children and young people can access gaming in many different ways, from game consoles to mobile phones. Online gaming can offer children and young people an entertaining and fun environment, but there are potential risks.

    The resources below are from nationally recognised organisations. These resources provide information on how to protect children and young people when they are online gaming and advice on what to do if you have concerns.

    Resources for parents and carers:

    Resources for children and young people:

    Preventing online abuse of children and young people

    Learning to use the internet is a way of life for children and young people and important to help them function in a technology-dependent world. It can be worrying for parents, carers and professionals and difficult to know how best to keep children and young people safe.

    These resources have been gathered from leading organisations to help identify online abuse and provide advice on what you can do to keep your child safe.

    What is online abuse?

    What is online grooming and what can you do to protect children and young people?

    What is online radicalisation and what can you do to protect children and young people?

    General advice on safe internet and social media use

    How to report abuse

    If you suspect your child or young person is experiencing online abuse please contact the police.

    You can report concerns about inappropriate online contact or content through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) command, operated by the National Crime Agency through their CEOP safety centre.

    Safe use of online Apps

    The world of apps is fast paced, exciting and constantly changing. It is hard for parents and carers to keep track of the apps being used by their children, which ones are popular and how safe they are.

    These resources provide guides to apps, advice on age restrictions and top tips to help support children and young people to use apps safely. There is also a specific detailed guide on the popular Houseparty app.

    Screen time and wellbeing

    There has been much debate about screen time and how it can affect children’s health and wellbeing with particular links to physical wellbeing and mental health. With many children now also being schooled online and encouraged to utilise digital learning platforms, these useful links support parents/carers to understand the pros and cons of screen time and how to manage this with children and young people.

    Screen time, technology, mental health and well-being (Parents)

    This useful guide developed by Welsh Government looks at the impact of screen time and technology on children and young people’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing. It provides links to more detailed research and tips to developing healthy technology habits. There is also a section on identifying problematic or unhealthy technology use and where to go to seek help If you have concerns.

    Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age

    The World Health Organisation have developed guidelines to support parents to understand how much screen time is appropriate by age range. It also looks at required physical activity and sleep to support development. The guidelines are quite detailed, but there are some infographics to support parents/carers at a quick glance.

    The health impacts of screen time: a guide for clinicians and parents

    This guide produced by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) looks at research into screen time for children and young people and the association between screen time and negative outcomes. It also provides messages and suggestions for parents/carers on how they can set boundaries etc as a family. There are also useful links to other bits of research and tools.

    Protecting your information and use of parental controls

    When we use the internet we store a lot of personal information online. It’s important this information is kept safe to prevent crimes such as identity and financial fraud. The use of parental controls can be confusing but is an important part of keeping children safe online.

    These resources developed by Child Net, UK Safer Internet Centre, Think U Know and Internet Matters provide tips on how to keep your information safe online and how best to use parental controls.