The online facts of life

Real parents speak about online safety

It’s now a fact of life that our children are spending more time online. As our world becomes ever more connected and ‘switched on’, it’s important to equip them with the right tools and provide advice on how to manage their online world.

New TV ad showcasing real parents views on kids online safety

Why the online facts of life matter

By starting the conversation with your kids about the online facts of life (from encouraging positive online behaviour, to dealing with more serious issues such as cyberbullying) you can feel confident knowing that your family can navigate this exciting, fully connected world, both smartly and safely.

Our latest campaign talks to real parents who talk openly about their concerns and their knowledge of online safety. The online world can be overwhelming, but the help you need doesn’t have to be. That’s why our advice is broken down by age and issue, to ensure you get the information you need in a simple and practical way.

Supporting resources and guides

If you are concerned about an online issue, need help setting up controls on your child’s apps or devices, or want age-specific online safety advice, these resources will offer you just that.

Parent stories

See the latest parent stories to get advice and tips from real parents experiences

Text Dictionary

See a list of text language terms to help you decipher any text language that children are using.

Meet the families

Keith and Colleen

About Keith and Colleen's family

We have two young girls so our main concern is the possibility of them seeing inappropriate or over-sexualised content. As a result of lockdown, they’ve also been video calling to keep in touch with friends and family so we’re conscious about who they are speaking with, including messaging apps and online games they play such as Roblox.

It can be really overwhelming when there are new platforms and applications launching all the time – I think we have to be fair to ourselves because there are only so many things you can have your head around, it’s quite a lot for parents to keep up with.

There are a few things we try to do already to safeguard, such as using age-gated parental controls to have more confidence in what they’re watching. We try to instil device-free days (for all of us…and that includes the TV!) – we’ve found the girls are then more conscious about how they use their screen time when they have it. They’re too young for social media but we allow them to connect with family through our own profiles – anything they want to post or download has to be ok’d by us first.

In this day and age, we do need tech to be part of the family environment – it helps us as parents too. However, we expect that as they get older the conversations might get a bit more difficult so we’ll have to cross that bridge when it comes to it.

See further advice:

Simon and Tasmin

About Simon and Tasmin's family

Our kids are pre-teens- they spend most of their time online gaming, watching BMX videos, or unboxing. They’ve got their own toys upstairs but enjoy watching other people unbox theirs for some reason! The only rules we have in place are that they must ask when they want to go on their devices and they can’t take their bed – they’re usually pretty good. Otherwise, they’d be on it the whole day!

Our main worries are about who they talk to online, who can send them messages and seeing things that are not age-appropriate. When our son wants to play a new game or try something new, we usually play/ set it up ourselves first and show him how to do it. We have a linked account to Fortnite so we can see who he’s playing with and who’s messaging – but we can’t hear what other people are saying to him through the headset.

We’ve had to talk to our kids about making payments online. Our daughter clicked on something that confirmed purchase without realising – we didn’t know until the bill came through. She knows not to do it now, but we had to use it as a learning experience.

We do hate that sometimes you look around and we’re all sat on our own devices, but it’s all about balance I guess. It’s important they know how to use tech otherwise they’ll get left behind, especially as they get older.

See further advice:

Jean and Don

About Jean and Don's family

With two teenagers at home, we’re at a stage where we try not to interfere too much because they want their privacy. And we respect that- but we still like to know what’s going on to make sure they’re not getting into difficult situations. Rather than ‘sitting them down’ for a chat, we try to have regular conversations which tend to be when they’re looking at things online or when they tell us something that happened to a friend- we’ll talk it out then.

One of our biggest worries is that something they say or do online now that could cause problems later on, such as hurting their career options- so we try to encourage them to think about what they are doing online; not to use profanities, don’t share your personal details or location on public social profiles and don’t post anything that could cause offense.

We do still use parental controls to monitor Wi-Fi usage on their devices (and turn it off if needs be!) and try to have device-free mealtimes so we can talk as a family. But we do use tech together – to play games, do little dances and we’ve been using an app to learn Spanish together which has been really nice.

What we need the most these days is advice that gives us the most up to date information on new apps and platforms – to know if they are safe or what to look out for.

See further advice:

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