21 May 2020
8 tips for keeping your kids safe online during lockdown
Follow our 8 top tips to help keep your kids safe online during lockdown and beyond.
Being online during lockdown is an amazing way for kids to play, create, learn and connect, whether they're chatting with friends and family, playing games or doing homework. But it's also important to know to help keep them safe.
The best way to help keep your children safe online during lockdown is to continue having conversations around online safety, regularly check phone and app settings together, and manage time online.
But it’s also a challenging time. If you’re usual rules and routines around online safety have stopped or changed, then be kind to yourself and think why. It might be that they just don’t work during lockdown. Remember that it’s ok to adapt and make the right changes for you family.
1. Keep being a TEAM
It’s important to work together as a family to help keep your kids safe online. That’s why we’ve created four simple steps so you Talk, Explore, Agree and Manage online safety.
Talk to your child regularly about what they’re doing online and how to stay safe. Let them know they can come to you, another trusted adult or Childline if they’re feeling worried or upset by anything they’ve seen. Why not play our Parents vs Kids game to help get the conversation started?
Explore your child’s online activities together. Understand why they like using certain apps or games and make sure they know what they can do to keep themselves safe.
Agree your own online rules as a family. Use our family agreement template to help you get started.
Manage your technology and use the settings available to keep your child safe. If you need support doing this, you can call the O2 NSPCC Advice Line on 0808 800 5002.
We know starting a conversation isn’t always easy. Hear from our O2 Guru on where to begin.
2. It’s ok to be flexible
At the moment, the internet is playing a really important role for children and families, whether it’s for chatting, gaming, schooling, or even exercising. And because we’re all using it more and in different ways, you might need to be flexible with the normal rules, such as how long your child is spending online.
It’s ok to be flexible, but make sure you talk to your child about any new rules and remind them they can talk to you about anything they see or do online. Create a family agreement together and agree which rules might change during lockdown. Family agreements are designed to be flexible to your family’s needs so it’s important to update them when situations change.
3. If it’s possible, share the supervision with other parents
It can be helpful to supervise children when they’re online but it can also be time consuming! If your child is chatting or playing with friends online, you could always talk to other parents and see you can take it in turns to supervise and support them, just like you would they were at each other’s houses.
4. Get familiar with video chatting and livestreaming
Do you know the difference between video chatting, video sharing and livestreaming? Don’t worry if the answer is no, it can be confusing (especially when some apps do more than one!) Right now, it’s likely that a lot of children are spending more time doing all three, so read our advice article on what they all mean, why kids use them and how to keep them safe.
5. Take online safety offline
To help you keep your kids safe, we’ve created some activity sheets to make it even easier for you to have conversations about staying safe online. Print off our word search and use the words as prompts for an online safety chat. Or use our countryside and city colouring in sheets to talk about what your child likes doing online and ways to stay safe.
6. Got a tech question? Ask our O2 Gurus
O2 has a network of expert Gurus who are trained to help you keep your kids safe online by answering your technical questions. They can support you with a range of topics, from setting up parental controls to giving tips on the apps, sites and games yours kids are using.
You can speak to them over the phone for free through our O2 NSPCC Advice Line, Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm. And you don’t need to be an O2 customer to get their help.
7. Think about age and content ratings
If your child is using new apps or playing popular games, it can be hard to know if they’re age-appropriate or not. To make it more confusing, there’s often an official, app store and PEGI rating, which is sometimes based on age and other times on content. But don’t worry, we are here to help with age and content ratings in our advice article.
8. Add Net Aware to your smartphone or tablet
We’ve built Net Aware so you can add it to your smartphone or tablet just like an app, making it easy to come back and find the latest online safety information and advice.
It’s easy to do, simply visit Net Aware on your device and follow these steps:
- Android - click in the top right hand corner (usually on the three lines or three dots) and select ‘add to home screen’ or ‘add to apps screen’
- iOS – click on the share icon at the bottom of the screen (it looks like a square with an arrow) and select ‘add to home screen’
Not working? Don’t worry, you can call our O2 Gurus for free and they should be able to help.