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Safer Internet: All fun and games?

With the growing importance that technology has on our day to day lives, it’s more important than ever to understand the dangers that individuals, especially young or vulnerable people, can face online and how they can stay safe.

This year, Safer Internet Day focuses on online gaming, and how parents and carers can not only keep young people safe, but begin to have conversations with them about their experiences on these platforms.

Online gaming can provide spaces for connection, community and collaboration, which is why we want to foster supportive relationships and respectful communities, but it’s key to equip young people with the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe in these spaces.

Speaking is key to exploring their experiences on platforms where they can play games, interact with their peers and others, and take part in ‘live’ experiences such as video streaming. These platforms play such an important and positive role, providing young people with the means to interact with friends and as a great pastime, particularly during lockdowns.

However, there are some emerging safety issues in these spaces as well as issues young people have been navigating for some time; particularly the lack of respect individuals display towards each other, groups ‘ganging up’ against other groups, and the sense that it is easy to ‘get away’ with negative behaviour such as meanness, bullying and swearing.

The NSPCC have released a FREE online webinar (below) for parents and carers to support in starting to talk about online gaming and how to keep young people safe whilst doing so.

 

At Palace we also want to highlight the importance of staying safe through all online platforms, and would encourage parents and careers to share the following tips [taken from Childline] with young people:

  • Never meet up with anybody you’ve met online. People aren’t always who they say they are.
  • Create passwords that are hard for other people to guess. Don’t share your passwords with anyone (unless it’s your parent).
  • Think Before You Post – Anything you post online or any messages you send can shared with other people. They may also stay online forever. Think before you post – is this something you’re happy for everyone to know?
  • Don’t share private details online like your address, school, phone number. Think about photos and videos you post – do they have your school badge in or the street name you live on?
  • You have a right to be safe – tell a trusted adult if someone does something online you don’t like

 

To see more of our tips to stay safe online, and to tackle online abuse and trolling on social media, click HERE.

For more resources on safety with online gaming, click here.

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