E-Safety - Safe Fun Online

Welcome to Safe Fun Online where we share ideas for enjoying online life safely.

Safe #1: Screen time! Many of us spend too much time looking at screens when we should be talking to each other. How about some firm rules for everyone at home? Start by counting. Are you or your children spending hours a day looking at screens? How about agreeing some limits?

Fun #1: One of my all-time favourite online treats is DrawAStickman. Search for it online. It’s classic family cartoon fun, available on the web and as an app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Safe #2: Social Media. You must be thirteen to have a Facebook account. The same restrictions apply to other social media. It is simply not possible to make social media websites and apps safe for so we strongly advise against allowing children to use them.

Fun #2: Forget wandering YouTube – visit National Geographic Kids or Nasa For Kids. Both have a wealth of fascinating videos.

Safe #3: Digital Parenting. Vodafone has good advice for you to help your child enjoy their digital world and stay safer at various ages. Search for Vodafone Digital Parenting Essential Checklist.

Fun #3: Looking for fun things or researching? Richmond Library offers library card-holders free remote access to Encyclopaedia Britannica Online – Junior Edition. Alternatively, take a look at Wikipedia Simple English Edition.

Safe #4: Does your child have a mobile? A mobile phone puts the internet in your child’s pocket. For good advice and links to Help and Safety pages for all the main UK mobile providers, search for ofcom parental controls for mobile phones.

Fun #4: Have you watched Newsround lately? Try the website for news bulletins for children, interesting stories and activities. Search for BBC Newsround.

Safe #5: The best way to learn to be safe online is to talk. Why not make an effort to talk with your child about what they enjoy online? Make online life part of your normal conversations.

Fun #5: Looking for something creative? The best we have found is Scratch. Try it online or, if you are wary of the discussion forums, download the offline editor we use in school. Got an iPad? Try the amazing new ScratchJr.

Safe #6: Parental controls are available for every kind of device – including games consoles and mobiles. There is a handy, comprehensive checklist at vodafone.com/parents/parentalcontrols.

Fun #6: Looking for computer-based puzzles to stretch young minds? Try Cut-The-Rope, Cargobot, Lightbot or Bridge-Builder apps for logical thinking. Try Kodable to add a touch of coding. 

Safe #7: In-app purchases on tablets and mobiles are an easy way to inadvertently waste money. Brief, clear instructions for controlling in-app purchases on Android and iOS are available in a Telegraph article. Find it by searching "how to turn off in-app purchases telegraph"

Fun #7: My new favourite puzzle app is Flow Free. Wonderfully testing, dangerously addictive. Free versions available on Apple and Android.

Safe #8: Concerned about something your child has posted – or seen – on a social media website? It can be difficult to track down contact details for social media companies. Useful information and good links are available from CEOP, the child protection agency: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/help/Contact-social-sites/

Fun #8: The BBC just released a computer programming web-game based on… Dr Who! Improve your coding skills and battle Daleks at the same time! Search for BBC Dr Who game.

Safe #9: Parental controls in place? Good, but is this enough? Read this article (search howtogeek what parents need to know) to understand why technology is only a partial answer and why it cannot wholly substitute for active, informed, educated parenting.

Fun #9: Looking for engaging children’s books? Booktrust has a fantastic bookfinder which helps you to find wonderful books by age and genre. Search online for booktrust + bookfinder.

Safe #10: Worried about losing a mobile phone? Secure your data and passwords, protect it from viruses and even locate it when it is lost with a mobile security app. Avast Mobile Security is highly recommended: the basic version is free. 

Fun #10: We all like to be read to. There are several good apps offering audio stories for children. Try these: Storynory, Thestoryhome, Barefoot Books. The Children's Corner, Sparkle Stories.

Safe #11: Having secured your data, the next step is to check your home contents insurance in case of damage to, or loss of your precious electronic gadgets.  

Fun #11: There are many Christmas-themed apps available. Computing Council likes Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift, Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure and Color Mix HD Christmas for younger children; and Arthur Christmas Elf Run for older children.

Safe #12: If Santa brings anyone at home any mobiles or gadgets, now would be a very good time for everyone to agree to use mobiles and other devices safely. Don’t text while crossing the road…  

Fun #12: Online life is for sharing. Why not make an effort this Christmas to share your online discoveries and enthusiasms?