For most of us with children of a primary school age online gaming and social media are a concern, but in the throws of modern life they are not at the forefront of our priority list. In between ferrying children to parties, learning spellings, making outfits for book club day, cooking, washing etc etc researching the latest apps is hardly top of our list and who can blame us?!!
Often children ask for the latest game citing that “suchabody has it”. This is what happened to me – my eight year old son said “suchabody” has it and that suchabody had very sensible parents so I blithely let him download the game. It was only a few weeks later that I realised he was speaking to strangers through it when he innocently told me, saying “don’t worry when people swear at me I leave the group”.
I realised that I had to up my game on the digital parenting front and get a grip of what was and wasn’t out there. Being a lover of technology I did not want to ban games and apps –but I did want to give my child the same set of boundaries that I give them in the offline world. So I set on a mission to look at how I could equip my child with the skills to use social media and online gaming whilst keeping them away from risks.
During this voyage of discovery I found many useful websites and resources – and many so called experts who were scaremongering. I realised there were very few bonafide “e-safety experts” – the online world hadn’t been around for long enough and changes constantly so being one would be a fulltime job! I also realised there was very little advice when it came to social media – with the age ratings at 12+ on most social media apps, advice was unrealistic – research backed this up with latest stats showing 2/3 of children aged 8-11 had a social media profile. This gave me my lightbulb moment to build an app which would enable families and friends to use social media, without exposing young children to the temptations and risks of apps already on the market –ChatFOSS was born.
If you would like your child’s first selfie to be sent to you and not a group of strangers that have befriended your child on a social sharing app please do take a look – www.chatfoss.com . Mumbler readers can trial it for free for two months using the code MUMBLER. Meanwhile, if that isn’t something for you here are my top three websites for busy parents who want to keep on top of the digital world. There are many out there – but these in my opinion are the best.
A guide from the NSPCC where you can search for an app and it will tell you the pros and cons and views of children and parents as to why they like or don’t like it. Saves you having to download and use these games yourself!
Funded by the large broadband providers this gives quick and easy instructions on how to set controls on your wifi. Ten minutes could save your child from unwittingly seeing a disturbing or upsetting image
This organisation provide an excellent free magazine – digital parenting. It gives realistic practical advice. There is also an opportunity to complete an online digital parenting course for only £6.99.