11 June 2020
Keeping kids safe on conferencing apps
Follow our tips to help keep your kids safe on conferencing apps.
With learning moving out of the classroom and into the home, kids will be using conferencing apps to help them learn and connect. They might also then use these apps outside of school time to talk to family and friends.
We’ve got specific advice on some of the most popular conferencing apps, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts and Google Meet. If your child is using any of these, we recommend exploring our safety tips.
But different schools might use different platforms, so we’ve got some general advice to help you keep your kids safe while using conferencing apps.
Talk to your child’s teacher
It might seem obvious, but a great place to start is by talking to your child’s teacher about the conferencing app they’re using and how they plan to keep children safe on it. A lot of conferencing apps give teachers extra controls for helping keep chats safe, which you might not be able to see from your child’s login.
All schools should have clear plans and guidance on students’ safety and security when it comes to remote learning which they should be happy to talk you through.
Supervise your child
Whether your child is using a conferencing app for school or personal use, we recommend supervising them or checking in on them while they’re having chats.
If they’re using it for school, their teacher should have extra controls in place help keep them safe. But as learning is also happening in the home, it’s best if parents and carers keep an eye on what’s happening as well.
If chats are happening outside of school time, for homework or to socialise, you could always talk to other parents and see if you can take it in turns to supervise and support chats, just like you would they were at each other’s houses.
Don’t share chat links or passwords in public
Remind your child not to share chat links or passwords in public, such as on social media, as this could lead to people they don’t know joining chats. This could mean they receive negative or unwelcome messages.
Chat links should be sent directly to the family and friends your child wants to talk to.
Keep chats password protected
Most conferencing apps should either automatically password protect chats or let you add a password. We recommend always adding a password to chats because they act as an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of unwelcome guests joining the call.
Explore any security features like how to report and block
A lot of conferencing apps will have security features to help keep chats safe, including reporting and blocking tools. For each app, take the time to explore the security features and talk to your child about when they want to use them.
If the conferencing app doesn’t have some security features, like reporting or blocking, then let your child know they should exit a chat and speak to you or a teacher if they see anything worrying.
Talk to your child about what they’re sharing
Even if your child is chatting to people they know, it’s important that you have a conversation about what they’re sharing online and who sees it.
You might want to start by asking:
- What kinds of things do you share online?
- Should we share everything?
- What shouldn’t we share?
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
- photos of themselves
- photos of their body, such as nude or revealing photos or videos.