Social networks, apps and games
app-icons-Skype

Skype

Skype is a platform and app that lets you make audio and video calls to other people around the world. You can also send instant messages.

13+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Skype

Average

To have your own Skype account you must be 13+ but parents can create child accounts for kids under the age of 13. All child accounts have privacy and safety settings switched on by default, meaning their personal information isn’t shared with other users and they can only be contacted by people on their contact list. It’s important to make sure your child signs up with the correct date of birth.

However, for accounts set up by kids 13+, these settings will need to be switched on manually.

Be aware that when you sign up for a Skype account, you’re also signing up for a Microsoft account. This means the child will be able to access other Microsoft-owned services.

We would recommend that kids under the age of 16 are supervised when using Skype, and you should also talk to them regularly about who they’re talking to on the platform.

Safety features

Skype is age-verified and relies on users to insert their correct date of birth to determine default settings. If a child enters a date of birth which is lower than 13 years then the parent must create a child account via the parents’ Microsoft account. If this is done, parental controls and default settings are activated. However, these are not set up for children aged 13 and over.

Privacy & location

If a child account (under 13) is created by a parent, the privacy controls are turned on by default. These include only allowing people in the child's contact list to contact the child, hiding age, date of birth and gender, and hiding children from search results. You should be aware that if someone knows your child’s name they will still be able to find them via the search engine even when this setting is on.

Reporting & blocking

Users can block other users directly in the app but we found the functions difficult to find. See below for more information on how to block unwanted contacts on Skype.

Content

We didn’t come across anything inappropriate on Skype. But there is a chance your child could see something that upsets them, on a group chat or conversation with someone they don’t know.

O2 Guru top tip

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On Skype account privacy

Show your child how to report and block other users on Skype. Remember, this might be different for the desktop and app version.

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Top tips for staying safe

Sit down with your child and explore the safety settings together, such as how to block and report.

If your child is over 13, you should talk to them about some of the privacy settings and decide which ones would be appropriate for them to use. Check out Skype’s site for more information on the different privacy settings available.

You should also agree some rules around who they’re allowed to talk to on the app and remind them to not accept invites from people they don’t know offline.

You should show your child how to ignore a contact request in case someone they don’t know tries to connect with them. You can view your contact requests by:

1) Selecting ‘Contact requests’ after you’ve logged on.
2) You will then have the option to select ‘ignore’ or ‘block’. We would recommend selecting ‘block’ so all contact requests are automatically blocked from that user in the future.

The way to report differs on mobile and desktop, so check out the information on Skype.

You can share images, videos, text and screen share on Skype. So it’s important to help your child think about what they share on the platform and who sees it.

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

What children and parents are saying about Skype

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think.

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Kids

What do children and young people dislike about Skype?

  • People you don’t know contacting or adding you

I do not think it is an easy layout to understand and there are no clear guides on what to do if you are feeling unsafe online.

Girl, 13

What do children and young people like about Skype?

  • Being able to easily talk to friends and family around the world
  • Feeling in control of your account

You can chat with your family with a Facecam, which is useful. You can block or unfriend unwanted people. You have the option to accept or reject the invite.

Boy, 14

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Parents

We asked parents about the following areas of Skype:

Privacy settings

I would have liked to have been able to activate privacy settings on the app rather than my phone settings.

Dad of a 10 year old boy

Safety and support

It’s there for you to read but you could just skip it.

Mum of a 17 year old

Reporting

I could not find how to report content but blocking is very easy and intuitive to do in a variety of places.

Dad of an 11 year old boy

Signing up

The application process was straightforward and asked me to verify who I was by clicking a link sent to my email address.

Father of a 13 year old boy

There wasn't much of an explanation of the features of Skype through the registration process.

Dad of 7 and 10 year olds

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