A Parents Guide to Technology: New e-Safety Material from UK Safer Internet Centre Published

The UK Safer Internet Centre has released some information for parents in the run up to Christmas.  A Parents’ Guide to Technology is an online resource providing advice for parents about the benefits, capabilities and potential risks of smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and internet-enabled media players. It introduces some of the most popular devices such as the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch and 3DS, highlighting safety tools that are available, as well as setting out top tips to help parents encourage their children to stay safe when using these technologies.

Increasingly parents are asking questions about particular devices that their children are using – or perhaps would like to have for Christmas! Many young people experience internet-enabled technologies as a positive and integral part of their lives, but parents are not always aware of the capabilities and issues raised by different devices.It can sometimes feel challenging for parents and carers to keep up with what their children are doing online, to supervise what they are viewing, who they are chatting to, what games they are playing and what they are downloading, and even more so now that the internet can be accessed from a wide range of devices.

Recent research from Ofcom shows that a large number of British 5- to 15-year-olds are using a range of internet-enabled technologies to go online:

  • 4 in 5 via a PC/laptop
  • 1 in 5 via a games console
  • 1 in 7 via a mobile phone
  • 1 in 14 via a portable media player
  • 1 in 50 via a tablet

The online resource introduces smartphones, gaming devices and other internet-enabled technologies such as the iPod Touch and iPad, helping parents to understand how young people are using these devices as well as the potential risks they may face. There is an FAQ section for each technology, answering some of the common questions that parents have, such as “How can I help my child stay safe when accessing the internet on their smartphone?” and “How might my child communicate with people using their gaming device?” There are also downloadable tip top guides for the iPhone, BlackBerry, iPod Touch, iPad, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, 3DS, DSi, and the PlayStation 3 and PSP, which look at the capabilities of the specific device and help parents navigate the parental controls available.

With these devices increasingly making it onto the Christmas wish list of many young people in the UK, A Parent’s Guide to Technology will help parents and carers in understanding these different internet-enabled technologies.

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