Online Safety: 10 ways to safely entertain your children at home

Morning Parents and Carers,

Our Online Safety Update today is based around a fantastic article found on Parent Zone – a great resource for adults on learning how to keep their children safe online. Just two hours of home learning – working 1:1 with an adult – can equate to a child spending a whole day at school with their teachers and peers. If you’re finding it challenging to occupy the little ones throughout weekends and their free-time and play, Parent Zone have got some top tips for you!

Click here to read the full article: 10 ways to safely entertain your children at home

  1. Become an Internet Legend –
    Google’s Be Internet Legends was developed in partnership with Parent Zone. It’s a multifaceted programme designed to teach seven to 11-year-olds the skills they need to be safe and confident online.
  2. Get creative in Minecraft –
    Despite its popularity, plenty of parents have yet to experience the thrill of joining their kids in this virtual world. And that’s a shame, because it’s an easy and hugely enjoyable thing to do: just create your accounts and, so long as you’re all on the same network connection, you can play together on multiple devices.
  3. Get coding –
    The idea of learning to code can seem daunting, but there are plenty of online resources that make it easy and fun for kids – and even their technophobe parents.
    Scratch is our favourite: you create programs by dragging and dropping colourful icons and following simple logic, with no need for pages of code. It’s aimed at eight to 16-year-olds and is surprisingly powerful, with some users turning out amazingly advanced games on it. There’s also a simpler version, ScratchJr, for five to seven-year-olds.
    Parents should be aware that there’s a big social element, with users able to follow each other, comment on projects and send direct messages, but there are robust parental controls and a zero-tolerance moderation system that make it a generally safe environment for teens and tweens.
  4. Spend some time in Digiworld –
    Developed by Telenor Group in partnership with Parent Zone, Digiworld is an interactive curriculum to help five to 16-year-olds develop digital resilience, so they can be safer online.
    It’s available in 13 languages and includes a fun game plus downloadable worksheets and supporting guides to help parents, carers and teachers play and learn alongside their children.
  5. Train your kids to spot fake news –
    The internet can be a wonderful source of information, but clearly you can’t always trust everything you read on it – particularly if it’s on social media. Children are more susceptible than most to fake news, so why not use your time at home to give them a primer?
    You could talk to your kids about how a situation like coronavirus can be misreported, discuss how you go about finding the most reliable information and debate which sources are most trustworthy.
  6. Do some digital meet-ups –
    Being cooped up with your children for a week or two might be tricky at times, but being left entirely isolated from human contact is surely worse. That’s the situation potentially facing many older people during the current situation.
    So, if you can’t visit grandparents, great-grandparents or other older family members and friends, why not meet up with them digitally instead?
    Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook and many, many other services have video-calling facilities, so give the grandparents a call and let them see a friendly face.
  7. Watch some movie and TV Classics –
    We suspect NetflixAmazon Prime Video, iPlayer and the other streaming platforms will see plenty of traffic over the next few weeks.
    Fortunately, there’s plenty of great content available across the platforms – including lots that you could consider at least vaguely educational. For instance, you could sit the kids down with a David Attenborough nature documentary, or the wonderful Horrible Histories.
    Every platform has parental controls, but we’d still recommend that you keep an eye on what they’re watching – or better still, watch with them – because many of the filters are easy to circumvent if your child knows what they’re doing. And they will do.
  8. Get board not bored –
    Before computer games were even a twinkle in Atari’s eye, board games gave generations of children hours of entertainment – and there’s no reason why that should change now.
    Scrabble, whether in Junior or full guise, is a brilliant tool for improving vocabulary and spelling, chess and draughts are good for logic and reasoning, and for younger kids even something as simple as ludo or snakes and ladders can help with numeracy.
    Charades – though not a board game – can teach self-expression and creativity.
  9. Cook up a lockdown feast –
    There are plenty of good recipe sites online, including many that are aimed specifically at kids. BBC Good Food, for instance, has an extensive section for children.
    To increase the creativity, suggest your kids hunt through the cupboards and make a list of what they find; Supercookand All Recipes are just two of the sites that will let you search for recipes based on ingredients.
    For maximum fun, you could give one of Roald Dahl’s famous Revolting Recipes a try. But be be warned – most of them could never be described as healthy!
  10. Get some exercise –
    Spending a week or longer inside would leave most people a little stir-crazy, and kids in particular have lots of energy to burn off. If you’ve got a garden and the weather is good, then you’re sorted on that front – just give them a ball or a bike and let them loose. If not, you could take them to a park or playground, so long as the official advice currently allows that wherever you are.
    Failing any of those options, you can at least encourage your children to get active indoors.
    There are countless videos and guides to yoga and other exercises online – but you should always make sure you use a trusted source that’s specifically geared towards the right age group and monitor that they’re doing it correctly.

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