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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a tool that lets users chat to each other one-on-one or in groups, as well as sharing documents. It’s designed for business and education, but has been for used social communications, like chatting with groups of friends.

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Our overall rating for Microsoft Teams

Average

Microsoft Teams is designed for organisations, businesses and schools to chat with one another via text, audio or video chat. You can speak one-on-one and in groups.

There are a number of privacy settings available to help protect students using Teams. We would recommend reading Microsoft’s guidance on Distance Learning and talking to your child’s teacher about the safety settings and safeguarding procedures they have in place.

We also recommend supervising children while they’re using conferencing apps like Teams to chat or learn, to help keep them safe. And let them know they can talk to you about anything that worries them.

Safety features

Microsoft has guidance for parents and carers about distance learning with Office 365, which includes communicating using Teams.

This information gives you an outline of how Team chats are set up, how to join a team, and how communication is monitored.

There’s also a student help centre you might want to explore with your child.

Privacy & location

There are a number of different privacy features available on Teams that can help to keep your child safe while using it. You should speak to your child’s school about what privacy settings they have enabled and ask them to send you their safeguarding policy.

When your child signs up for a Teams account, other users will be able to see their name. You can also choose to add an image to your profile. Teams doesn’t record or share your location.

Reporting & blocking

There’s no way to report messages, chats or other people on Teams. If the chat is being used for home learning, the teacher should have controls in place to help them monitor what’s being said. But if your child receives an unwelcome or negative message, remind them to talk to you about it.

If your child is part of a group chat they don’t want to be, you can show them how to leave.

Content

We didn’t come across any inappropriate content while exploring the app. However, as there is a chat function on Teams, there is a chance your child could be sent something upsetting by a contact. You should make sure to talk to your child’s teacher about disabling the chat function in Team’s meeting so your child can’t be sent anything that might upset them.

 

O2 Guru top tip

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Block calls with no caller ID

Teams lets you block calls with no caller ID so only contacts you know should be able to call or chat.

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Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

Your child might receive upsetting or negative things from other people on Teams. If this happens, they might want to use one of the following features:

There’s also an option to delete or edit messages you’ve sent by hovering over the message, clicking the three dots and selecting the option you want.

Take the time to explore these features with your child, discussing when and why you might want to use them.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about anything they see online. 

Microsoft has some information on keeping students safe while using meetings in Teams for home learning. This article has been written for educators, rather than parents and carers, but it contains useful information.

We recommend reading this info and talking to your child’s teacher to ensure everything is set up correctly and safely.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

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