The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has led to a huge increase in the use of online technology, especially for young people. With digital school lessons, plus more parents and carers working from home, the Welsh Government has issued guidance to staying safe online.
During this period, children and young people are likely to spend more time on the internet, for learning, entertainment, or keeping in touch with relatives. Parents and carers will understandably have concerns, about potential safety issues.
The Welsh Government has launched its “Online Safety Zone” site to answer questions and allay fears. You can access it here: https://bit.ly/2VQM9QK
It includes guidance on the amount of screen time your child should have, plus the benefits and risks of online gaming.
Many young people will be “live streaming”, that is broadcasting live video of themselves online. While this is great for contacting family and friends, it may also lead to serious consequences. If privacy settings aren’t in place, your child could be watching or broadcasting to strangers. Research from the Internet Watch Foundation suggests those who wish to hurt or exploit children often use live streaming. They encourage children and young people to do things that they otherwise may not do.
A young person may come across images or content they find upsetting. They could experience threats or unwanted sexual advances. You can report this, anonymously, to the Internet Watch Foundation. See here: https://report.iwf.org.uk/en
Councillor Carl Cuss, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Wellbeing said:
“Staying safe online has never been more important, with so many of our young people spending longer periods of time online.
“Whether this is for learning or fun, there are dangers to be aware of, so it is important to follow these safety tips.”