10 Top Tips for Parents and Educators: Encouraging Open Conversations at Home

Download the NOS 10 Top Tips PDF Guide

Cultural and technological changes have made the experiences of today’s children vastly different to our own childhoods; it can be challenging to engage youngsters in open, honest conversation – especially about more sensitive topics. This, combined with many children’s instinct to avoid “rocking the boat”, can make it difficult to stay up to date with the goings on in their lives.

However, it’s hugely important that trusted adults still offer an empathetic ear and feel able to encourage young people to open up about their day-to-day activities. This #WakeUpWednesday guide provides ten top tips for promoting open conversations with children – helping to make sure there’s someone they know they can turn to in times of need.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Clickbait

Download the NOS Clickbait PDF Guide

While scrolling online, you’ll almost inevitably have come across posts or links with headlines like “You Won’t Believe These 10 Crazy Facts about …”. Such lurid language – and the often-dubious nature of the content it promotes – has become something of a running joke on the internet. Yet while these articles are often laughed at by communities online, they can have an insidious side.

Clickbait, as it’s known, can frequently function as part of a trap: intended to draw users in for the sake of advertising revenue or, in worse cases, masking an attempting to collect their personal information. This #WakeUpWednesday guide explores the various risks of clickbait and offers some top tips for evading the pitfalls of this controversial marketing technique.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Children who are Experiencing Bullying

Download the NOS Bullying PDF Guide

Bullying has long been a pervasive issue in schools – and, being realistic, it’s regrettably a problem which is always likely to exist to a certain extent. There are still plenty of steps we can take as trusted adults, however, to lend support, comfort and reassurance to children who are going through this deeply upsetting experience.

Such a highly emotive topic can be a difficult one to talk about with children – but honest, open communication nevertheless remains vital to young victims’ wellbeing. It’s important to be aware, then, of effective ways to broach and explore the subject. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide has expert advice on effective ways to support children who are being bullied.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Monkey

Download the NOS Monkey PDF Guide

With Omegle finally shutting down in late 2023, the top spot among video chat services is up for grabs – and Monkey has its eyes set on the crown. Randomly matching its users for 15-second conversations, the platform’s developers claim to have created a dynamic online space for people to make new connections and, potentially, even some new friends.

Despite these innocuous-sounding intentions, however, Monkey has been criticised for moderation which may not be comprehensive enough to defend against the obvious dangers that unregulated, random video calls pose to the younger element of the site’s userbase. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide tells trusted adults what they need to know about Monkey.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Persuasive Design

Download the NOS Persuasive Design PDF Guide

For many companies who operate in the online space, attention and engagement are the holy grail. Social media sites in particular make deliberate creative choices to keep people scrolling, reading, watching and clicking. This phenomenon is known as ‘persuasive design’ and it’s being employed in the vast majority of the digital world’s most popular destinations.

A study by the charity 5Rights Foundation concluded that “…the brain’s response to rewards and punishments can be leveraged through persuasive design to keep children online.” To tie in with Safer Internet Day 2024, our #WakeUpWednesday guide can help to educate youngsters on the effects of persuasive design – and suggests ways to insulate themselves from its influence.

What Parents and Careers need to know about MyLOL

Download the NOS MyLOL Guide PDF Guide

Teenagers’ blossoming interest in romantic relationships and their devotion to online networking is a potent combination – and, regrettably, not always a safe one. It raises all kind of worries about the possibility of sharing intimate images or deeply personal information; and that’s simply with contacts their own age – to say nothing of the chance of connecting with an older stranger.

MyLOL – a site which specifically facilitates interaction between 13 to 19-year-olds – has amassed around a million users worldwide, but sadly its safeguarding protocols can’t match that level of success. The ease with which an adult could pose as a teen under a bogus birthdate makes grooming a realistic threat – and that’s far from the platform’s only risk, as our guide explains.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Smartphones

Download the NOS Smartphone Safety Guide PDF Guide

According to Ofcom, 69% of under-18s use a smartphone as their main method of going online. Additionally, 49% of children use them for online gaming – putting smartphones only behind consoles (59%) as the device of choice for playing games on. Most people won’t require such statistical evidence, however, to acknowledge the huge importance of phones to young people.

Given that Santa’s recent visit is likely to have bestowed smartphones on an even greater number of young people, it’s a particularly opportune moment to ensure that children are able to use their handsets responsibly – and, above all, safely. From passcodes to parental controls, and from screen time to scams, our #WakeUpWednesday guide has the essential advice.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Free Speech vs Hate Speech

Download the NOS Free Speech vs Hate Speech PDF Guide

Contentious or provocative viewpoints are shared every second of the day online. That’s not to say, however, that an opinion is less valid simply because it’s initially unpopular: just think about Galileo or Emmeline Pankhurst. The facility to have our beliefs questioned – and to challenge other people’s in return – is often a catalyst for scientific and social progress.

With disturbing frequency, though, some individuals post damaging hate speech online under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ – and unless young people can identify hate speech, there’s a risk of them being influenced by such harmful content. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide explores the crucial differences between free speech and hate speech.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Disney+

Download the NOS Disney+ PDF Guide

More than 150 million subscribers worldwide Disney+ has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity since launching four years ago: the platform’s deep library of treasured old-school animated favourites, modern classics and original series means that it can offer a rich seam of engrossing content that caters for young and not-so-young users alike.

Of course, a consequence of this approach is the presence of the sort of age-inappropriate material one might not expect to find on the platform, given Disney’s fabled status as a purveyor of family entertainment. There’s useful advice in avoiding this pitfall (and more besides) in this week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide, as Disney+ comes under the microscope.

What Parents and Careers need to know about the Online Safety Act

Download the NOS Online Safety Act PDF Guide

After a lengthy gestation period, the UK Government’s wide-ranging changes to the legislation around digital safeguarding have become enshrined in law as the Online Safety Act. The first of its kind in Britain, the act aims to improve protection for children online and clamp down on illegal material. Regulated by Ofcom, it will primarily impact social media platforms and companies which host user-generated content.

The new legislation, however, also carries implications for schools and their staff. Although further developments are expected, our #WakeUpWednesday guide summarises the main points of the act that schools need to be aware of so far – outlining some specific areas that the new laws address and what effect, in practical terms, this will have on education providers.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Download the NOS Black Friday and Cyber Monday PDF Guide

Gone are the days of Black Friday only existing in the physical environs of the high street. Now, both this retail landmark and its sister event, Cyber Monday, see deals and discounts displayed across almost every online retailer. The array of reductions makes this an ideal moment to treat a loved one (or yourself!) to those treasured items for considerably less than their usual cost.

The frantic dash for the best bargains online, however, also harbours several risks: chiefly, cybercriminals hoping to exploit people’s excitement and hoodwink them out of their hard-earned cash. Our #WakeUpWednesday has some expert pointers on keeping your both your money and your personal information safe while still making the most of the spectacular sales.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Smart TVs

Download the NOS Smart TV PDF Guide

Smart TVs have become more affordable in recent years, making them readily available to most consumers. These more advanced systems offer numerous features beyond those of a normal television set – chiefly, the ability to access the internet and interface with popular streaming services without the need for a set-top box or other intermediary device.

This increased functionality, however, also brings additional threats to privacy, security and more – as you’d perhaps expect from any device capable of going online. As TV is such a cornerstone of our home lives, these dangers can be uniquely difficult to manage. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide breaks down the major risks, with tips on helping children to enjoy TV … stress free.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Microtransactions

Download the NOS Microtransaction PDF Guide

Microtransactions figure in the business model of many game and app developers, allowing them to bring in ongoing revenue as users continue to pay for extra features and content; even software that’s initially free to download can be monetised in this way. It’s a system which has featured in many of younger gamers’ perennial favourite franchises, from Fortnite to FIFA.

As well as encouraging regular spending, however, microtransactions – especially the increasingly common use of loot boxes – have also been scrutinised for what many argue is a resemblance to gambling, with the potential to foster addictive behaviours. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide tells parents and carers what they need to know about microtransactions.

What Parents and Careers need to know about X (formally known as Twitter)

Download the NOS X PDF Guide

The social media network formerly known as Twitter has undergone numerous alterations since its change of ownership and rebranding as X – and many of these recent developments have proved controversial. With any user now simply able to pay a fee for account verification, for example, the once-reliable ‘blue tick’ system has become largely meaningless.

It’s just one of several changes that have set the social media giant on what many consider a concerning path in online safety terms. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide provides a run-down of the most significant tweaks made to X; their potential safeguarding implications; and how to help ensure young people minimise the risks while they continue to use the service.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Five Nights At Freddy’s

Download the NOS Five Nights At Freddy’s PDF Guide

You might know Five Nights at Freddy’s by reputation, even if your child has never actually played the game. Via playground rumours and circulated footage on platforms like YouTube, this 12-rated survival horror series (so far comprising nine games, several spin-off novels and a movie adaptation) has become possessed of a certain cult status among far younger players.

Whether the initial interest is sparked by peer pressure or morbid curiosity, this spooky saga of things that go bump in the night seems to resonate with many pre-teen gamers. However, as our #WakeUpWednesday guide explains, the sinister characters, unrelenting sense of tension and some disturbing themes are all potential hazards that parents and carers should be aware of.

What Parents and Careers need to know about EA Sports FC 24

Download the NOS EA Sports FC 24 PDF Guide

What’s the most prolific partnership in recent football history? Son and Kane? Ronaldo and Benzema? How about EA and FIFA? Their collaboration produced the most popular sports video game series of all time, with 325 million copies sold worldwide.

EA Sports FC 24 – the makers’ new solo offering – now hopes to emulate FIFA’s legendary success. While it’s almost certain to hit the back of the net in commercial terms, does it keep a clean sheet against FIFA’s traditional online safety risks? Find out in today’s #WakeUpWednesday guide.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Among Us

Download the NOS Among Us PDF Guide

Created in 2018 by a small indie studio that (at the time) had only four employees, Among Us has become one of the gaming world’s biggest breakout hits of recent years. In 2020, for example, it was the world’s most-downloaded mobile game. Its simplicity helped Among Us to resonate with younger players in particular: the game’s second largest audience slice is the 13–18 age bracket.

While the 7+ age rating, emphasis on teamwork and cartoonish, colourful graphics all suit a young fan-base, however, the game does carry more serious risks than betrayal by a team-mate or an untimely on-screen demise – with in-game purchases and possible contact from strangers on our #WakeUpWednesday guide’s list of hazards that trusted adults should bear in mind.

What Parents and Careers need to know about WhatsApp Messenger

Download the full info sheet here: NOS Guide to WhatsApp

97 million messages. Every. Single. Minute.  The updated National Online Safety parents’ guide to WhatsApp examines the latest features on the world’s most-used messaging app – and what online safety issues they might raise for children.

What Parents and Careers need to know about: OFCOM’s Children and Parents: Media Use And Attitudes Report 2023

Download the full info sheet here: OFCOM’s Children and Parents: Media Use And Attitudes Report 2023

This free online safety guide highlights some of the key points from Ofcom’s 2023 Media Use and Attitudes report. It outlines statistics and trends such as the current most popular platforms for young people and the proportion of children in each age group who play online games.

What Parents and Careers need to know about NGL App (Not Gonna Lie)

Download the full info sheet here: What Parents & Carers Need To Know About NGL

It seems people just can’t resist finding out what others really think of them – whether that’s for better or worse. NGL, an app which invites a user’s social media followers to send them anonymous questions and feedback, flew to the summit of the App Store’s charts last summer and racked up almost 30 million total downloads throughout 2022.

The brutal honesty – and outright malice – that such anonymity can encourage, however, brings obvious drawbacks for a young audience. Teens seeking validation or reassurance may instead find themselves bombarded by negative comments highlighting aspects of themselves that they were already insecure about.

What Parents and Careers need to know about World Of Warcraft

Download the full info sheet here: What Parents & Carers Need To Know About World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. Find out more about what makes it so popular and its potential hazards by downloading the information sheet above.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Social Media and Mental Health

Download the full info sheet here: What Parents & Carers Need To Know About Social Media and Mental Health

Social Media can be responsible for a range of mental health issues. Read this PDF to find out more.

What Parents and Careers need to know about Tik Tok.

Download the full info sheet here: What Parents & Carers Need To Know About Tik Tok

TikTok is a short-form video hosting service that hosts a variety of user-submitted videos, from content such as pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes and dance. See the link about for further information.

What Parents and Careers need to know about the FIFA games

Download the full info sheet here: What Parents & Carers Need To Know About Fifa 23

“There’s no disputing that the game’s been an immense success – but what’s less impressive is its tendency to look defensively shaky against some online threats. Young players aiming to recreate their football heroes’ exploits can be at risk from abusive opponents, expensive in-game purchases and the “just one more game” mentality. This week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide tackles FIFA 23.”

UK Safer Internet Centre

At the UK Safer Internet Centre, you can find online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.

Tips for parents/carers: Our internet, our choice
– Understanding consent in a digital world Conversation Starters

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UK Power Network

UK Power Network provide a Priority Services Register for free to those families who would benefit from extra support in the event of a power cut in particular.
To register, visit: www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk

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Parent Mail

ParentPay is the online payment for schools.  They provide online payments, income management and dinner money administration for schools, authorities and caterers.

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ParentPay is the online payment for schools.  They provide online payments, income management and dinner money administration for schools, authorities and caterers.

Parent Pay website