Social networks, apps and games
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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

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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

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