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Erewash CSP Safety Advice

PARENTS!

#ErewashSafetyWeek ran in all of our primary and secondary schools, from 3-7 July 2017. Children were learning about how to stay safe in lots of different situations… including online!

Social media and online safety is a key issue facing children and young people; who can view the posts, pictures and information that is shared permanently with the world. From publicising their locations, to sharing personal information or pictures of others or themselves, the internet is a scary place. The majority of people who use apps and social media are good, honest and trustworthy people… but a few aren’t. And we want to make sure that you as parents, know how to keep you, your family and your child/ren safe. This includes how to use settings on apps and phones, when to talk to your child/ren about issues and what to say.

Monitoring pictures taken or received
There is a handy paid-for app by YIPO Technologies which monitors the content your child is creating, receiving or downloading to their mobile devices. If anything inappropriate is found, the ‘parent’ phone is alerted. In simple terms, the paid-for app, called Gallery Guardian, looks at every picture taken or received on their smartphone. Gallery Guardian automatically detects if the image includes nudity or not through a specially designed image recognition algorithm. In the unfortunate event an image contains something inappropriate, the app alerts you on your smartphone without disclosing or storing the image in question. All of the information above and more can be found by searching the Apple or Google Play store.

Content Sharing Apps
Did you know… There are a number of apps that are for ‘content sharing’ with other people. The document linked here features a list of publically available apps that young people can access easily, right across the world. When an app is downloaded, it comes with default settings that can often mean that the location of the user, or even personal information is publically available without the user knowing. This could mean that anyone talking to your child/ren knows where they are at any given time. Have you checked the settings on your child/ren’s phone? Have you talked to them about who to chat with, or share information? Once information is shared on an app, on the internet, it is very difficult to remove. There is always a trace of it so it’s really important to talk to your child/ren about what they are sharing, and with who.

Dating apps
Did you know… most apps require the user to be 13 years old?
There are a number of apps that are designed to be ‘dating’ apps for teenagers. The document linked here features a list of publically available apps that young people could be using to date.

An example of this is the recently highlighted ‘Yellow’ app, a teenager’s version of the adult dating app ‘Tinder’. The app caused concerns as no age verification checks are processed when a user creates a profile. This could mean that anyone is posing as a teenager trying to ‘make friends’ with other users near to their location. It also accesses Snapchat so the ‘match’ can access their photos.

Given these risks, does your child/ren need to be using a dating app? Are they, and you aware of the potential risks? Don’t put off having a conversation with your child/ren just because it’s a little hard or embarrassing.

Gaming apps
There are thousands of games and gaming apps, and many of them have other features as well as the game, as the document here shows. An example of this is popular games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike GO having the chat facilities tied into the online forum Reddit. The topics on Reddit vary, but with very few limitations on the content shared. Gamers have to access Reddit to be able to chat to other players about the games, and once on there could see inappropriate content.

Messaging apps

There are thousands of apps (including these in this document) that allow users to share information, often with many dangers - some have no parental controls, others provide the opportunity to post comments anonymously to other users local to them. 

Example apps include Ask.fm (users can ask anyone anonymous questions), Telegram (untraceable messages so no content control) and Omegle (users can talk to strangers and the site is allegedly full of predators hoping to exchange contact details to arrange meetings with other users).  There are many stories of young people being cyber bullied by their school peers through apps such as these.  Please make sure you know which apps your child/ren are using and that they should always talk to someone if they are struggling online…

We believe that it is your job as parents to monitor your child/ren’s internet use - it is not ‘spying’ or helicopter parenting, it is being responsible and keeping them safe from harm. 

There are lots of sites that can provide you with all the information you need including how to start a conversation with your child/ren about these issues.  3 of our favourites are: 

For more information on the work that the Safer Erewash team do at Erewash Borough Council, like their Facebook page here.

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Erewash Borough Council
Town Hall
Wharncliffe Road
Ilkeston
Derbyshire
DE7 5RP

Tel: 0115 907 2244

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