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