NSPCC safety column: Parents v Kids game

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NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager Emma Motherwell takes a look at the apps and sites children are using and how you can help keep them safe.

How much do you know about your child’s online world? Do you know what LOL stands for? Or PAW?

No? You’re in good company. A recent survey of 1,000 parents and children aged eight to 13 showed that 48 per cent of parents feel confused by the language their children use.

It also showed that children can speak more confidently and knowledgeably about the highest-ranking You Tube vloggers and celebrity culture than they can about things they’re learning in school.

The internet is increasingly taking on a more prominent role in young people’s lives. It’s transformed the way children play, socialise and communicate. The language gap highlights an important issue – how much to we really know and understand about what our children do online?

To ensure this generational language gap does not become a chasm it’s vital that we talk to children about what they’re doing online to make sure they stay safe.

The NSPCC has teamed up with O2 to launch a new voice-activated quiz on Amazon Alexa. Parents v Kids aims to educate parents and help them feel more confident when talking to their children about their online world.

The fun, interactive quiz is a great way of engaging children but it shouldn’t be something that’s done in isolation. It should form part of regular conversations that you have about keeping them safe online.

Here is the advice you need to get started:

· Explore sites and apps together

· Talk about things they might see online which make them feel uncomfortable

· Be Share Aware – talk about what is, and is not, ok to share online

· Reassure them that you won't overreact – you're just looking out for them

If you’re not sure how suitable an app, game or website is, download the NSPCC’s free Net Aware guide – you can easily find age ratings, parent and child reviews and how likely it is to see inappropriate content.

You can also call our Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002 for advice. Or book an appointment with an NSPCC-trained O2 Guru in store for support, whether you’re an O2 customer or not.

And in case you’re still wondering – LOL stands for laugh out loud, while PAW stands for parents are watching.

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