As part of #AskMrBurton social campaign, we asked parents and carers to send any queries or concerns about online safety or back to school. Matt Burton, Head Teacher of Thornhill Academy – best known as “Mr Burton” from Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire has answered your queries below.
One of the biggest differences between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is that it can be hard to get away from. Young people could be bullied anywhere, anytime – even when they’re at home. Many years ago, bullying might be restricted to the time in front of the bullies – usually school time – but now it can be relentless and overwhelming for all people, not just children.
There are, however, a number of steps you can take to help support your child if they are being cyberbullied:
Check our out Cyberbullying hub for further information.
Just like adults, children may be at risk of having their online identity stolen and misused. It can be difficult to maintain a child’s privacy as they may not understand what information is safe to share online, or what default privacy settings are on the sites and devices they’re using. So it’s really important for children to know how to keep their private information private.
You may start to suspect your child’s identity has been stolen if they:
If you’re worried your child’s identity has been stolen, there are a number of steps you can take to protect their privacy:
The average age for kids to get their first phone in the UK is around 10, as they start to make that transition to secondary school and are maybe travelling further away from home. And phones can be really useful for situations like these. If you decide your child is ready for their first smartphone – and the people best placed to decide that is you, their parents – then getting them set up safe will help you make sure that they get the best out of their device.
Most importantly, have regular, honest and open conversations with your children before you give them a phone. And remember, no matter what technical tools you apply, there is no substitute for a conversation with your child and finding out how they’re feeling about things.
Parents can often find themselves in a dilemma when it comes to their kids and their devices. They know there is a whole amazing world online that can be beneficial to their kids, but they also see how apps, games and platforms pull them in and keep their attention. As parents, we can be naturally suspicious of some of these apps, and it’s important that we know what they are and what they do.
It is so important to talk to your children and agree boundaries with them around not just how long they go online for, but what they go online for; what is healthy screen time and what is unhealthy screen time. It doesn’t mean they can never play games or watch their favourite gaming vloggers.
The conversation must be around what they do during their screen time rather than simply the amount of time they spend. The massively important role that parents play is to help them make the time they spend more beneficial – away from mindless scrolling.
Balance is key. Ask your children how they want to invest the time they have online and make sure it’s not wasted. The more you get involved and understand the things your children do online, the easier it is to influence what they do in their digital world and to take an interest in the online part of their lives!
Check out our TikTok guide for parents for more information!
See articles and resources to help children stay safe online.