| Screentime

Safe surfing this summer

| 12 Jul 2023

Summer holidays are just around the corner, and they bring with them endless possibilities for fun, adventure, and of course, some much-needed downtime. For children and teens, it's a time to hang out with friends, bond with family, and immerse themselves in the vibrant world of digital trends and online gaming.

Children are likely to spend more time online than usual during the school holidays, keeping in touch with friends and staying up to date with the latest online trends. So, Summer is a great time to engage in meaningful conversations about the online world.

If your child ever encounters a distressing situation online, these discussions can give them the confidence to share it with you. To facilitate such open dialogues, consider using our handy conversation starters.

Staying connected while you disconnect

Many young people will use the summer holiday to stay connected with friends via social networking sites or online games. Now is the time to inquire about the platforms they use and verify if they meet the age requirements - most social media platforms require users to be at least 13.

Encourage your child to leverage privacy tools on the platforms they use, ensuring that their posts are visible only to trusted individuals. 

Sharing your memories safely

Your child may likely want to share their summer adventures online, so it is important to discuss what types of photos are suitable for sharing and who they should share them with. Photos can unintentionally reveal personal information, so it's essential to be cautious. Always ask your children's permission before sharing their photos online - 40% of 8-17s were embarrassed by a photo their parents or carers posted last year.

Reducing screentime

With fewer structured activities on offer and less parental guidance thanks to work commitments, it's understandable that children turn more readily towards tablets and smartphones - they provide entertainment, connection with friends, access to online education tools, and parents can rest assured their kids are staying safe at home. But is all this extra screen time really beneficial for their development?

Here are some tips to help:

  • Encourage other engaging activities that allow your children to take a break from screens and stay active such as spending quality time with family, outdoor activities, and reading books (why not purchase a new one for the start of the holiday break?)
  • Creating structure: schedule activities around screen time to encourage healthy lifestyle habits
  • Making use of parental controls to manage usage - apps available include OurPact and FamilyTime
  • When screen time is in full swing, encourage educational apps like Immerse AR and Crazy Gears

Learn more about reducing screentime here.

Creating a family pact

A family agreement is a fantastic way to initiate a discussion about online behaviour and create guidelines that everyone agrees on. The agreement includes promises - positive affirmations about how your family will protect each other online and treat others with respect. Summer is an ideal time to sit down as a family and establish these promises.

Above all, make this summer memorable and enjoyable!

For more online sadety tips for the summer, watch this short video by Internet Matters.

Want to learn more about how to help your child be safe online?

Digital Matters is a free and easy-to-use resource created to help keep your child stay safe in an increasingly digital world. Interactive quizzes and dynamic story-based learning can help you bring to life important topics such as healthy online behaviours, keeping personal information secure and cyberbullying. The activities are aligned with the UKCIS’ Education for a Connected World Framework. 

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