22 January 2021

Five fun activities to do with your child this lockdown

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Talking to your child about what they’re doing online is a really important step to help keep them safe. But with daily routines changing all the time and the stresses of being in lockdown taking their toll, we know it’s not always easy to find the right time to chat or know what to say to them.

We’ve put together a list of five activities to help get your family talking about online safety during lockdown.

We spoke to some parents after the first lockdown who said their kids had spent a lot more time playing games online. Screen time can be a concern for some parents, but as long as you’ve got all the correct safety settings in place and are regularly talking to your child about the different games they’re playing, it’s ok to be flexible with the amount of time they’re spending gaming. Especially during a lockdown!

To learn more about why your child enjoys gaming, you could challenge them to one of their favourite online games. This will give you an opportunity to show them that you’re interested in learning more about their hobbies and open the conversation around how they can keep safe. If you have more than one child, you could take it turns to play each other and have a prize for the family member who wins the most games.

Gaming has been an important social activity for lots of young people during lockdown and a great way for them to stay in touch with friends. While you’re playing the game with your child use this as an opportunity to explore some of the different communication features available and chat to your child about who they’re playing with.

If you haven’t already, make sure to set up parental controls on your child’s device to help you manage things like screen time and limit the types of games your child can play. Use our advice on setting up parental controls on gaming devices to get you started.

Read our advice article on Keeping kids safe while gaming for more tips. We also have lots of reviews for popular games if you’re unsure what to play!

There are so many different apps, sites and games available it can be difficult to stay on top of them all! But often kids will know about the latest releases before anyone. So why not shake up the home schooling routine and let your child be the teacher?

Ask them to create a short presentation of their favourite app. It doesn’t have to be a PowerPoint presentation. It could be a drawing, a word document or even a play. Let them get creative but make sure they include:

  • A description of what it is.
  • Why they think it’s popular.
  • Any safety features or privacy features available.
  • What they think some of the risks might be.

Suggest they use our Net Aware reviews to help them. Once it’s finished get them to talk you through their creation. This will give you an opportunity to not only learn more about the app, but find out what they already know about how to stay safe.

From kids to key workers, it seemed like everyone was taking part in TikTok dance challenges during the first lockdown. If your child has a TikTok account then creating a fun dance video together could be a good way for you to learn more about how the app works. Being enthusiastic about what your child does online can also help encourage them to be more open and let them know they can always come to you for advice if something goes wrong.

Ask your child to show you some of the dance challenges that went viral and get them to teach you the choreography. Edit the video together so you can find out a little bit more about some of the features available. This will also give you an opportunity to discuss what they think is and isn’t appropriate to share.

Encourage them to always watch their videos back before they share it and to never post it straight away. This will give them time to think about whether they’re comfortable with putting it online.

TikTok has a number of privacy settings in place for accounts that are set up by 13-15 year olds so use this time to check whether these are in place and your child has used the correct age to sign up. They also have a parental controls feature called Family Mode that lets you connect your own TikTok account to your child’s. Read more about the settings available in our TikTok review.

Read our advice for parents and carers on sharing videos and images online for more tips.

It’s important to start talking to your child about online safety as soon as they start using the internet but we know it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve created some fun activities, including colouring in sheets and a word search to help get the conversation started! You can download these from our Net Aware resources page.

Sit down together and find out what they know about the online world and discuss ways they can stay safe.

Setting some rules is a good way to set boundaries with your children about spending time online and will help them develop good online habits. If you haven’t already, use our family agreement template to write them down together.

As your child can’t meet with others in person at the moment, arrange a virtual play date over your preferred video conferencing app to help them feel more connected with their friends.

Some video conferencing apps, like Skype and Houseparty, have features available like games and filters that can be fun for kids to use. Explore these together and agree some rules around which ones they’re allowed to use and when.

Apps like Zoom and Skype regularly update their safety and privacy settings so use our reviews to check for any new ones that could help keep them safe. Also use this opportunity to go over some rules around using video apps safely. You should remind them to:

  • Never share a link to a video chat without checking with you first.
  • Never click on a link to a video chat that they’re sent by someone they don’t know.