Karl Hopwood

Posted: 28th January 2019

Children are very tech savvy, often far more so than their parents when it comes to the latest App or game. They can easily get caught up in the excitement of the latest craze, and forget the basics about staying safe. Fortnite has been flagged very recently as being a favourite game for online predators looking to groom young and vulnerable children. It is possible to turn off the chat settings, and I would urge parents to look closely at any game or App they are considering allowing their children to access or use to see if it is suitable and if it is, what the safety features are. Fortnite’s age rating is 12+.

Youtube is a very popular app with children, who enjoy browsing videos; it has a recommended minimum age for users of 13, and there is a ‘kids’ version that can be set up by parents from their accounts that allows you to set your own parental controls. Some parents allow their children to use their accounts, as they feel this gives them more control. However it may happen that, when viewing a clip, a child chooses to leave a comment, and this may not always be kind, or pleasant; in this case it is the parent’s name that appears alongside whatever is written, and under that particular post. I am sure you can all imagine the different ways this might then pan out.

I would recommend all parents to check the NSPCC’s NetAware review page at:-

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/?order=title

as it will give you practical help on a range of Apps and games used by children.

On the evening of Monday 25th February, Karl Hopwood is speaking to parents at Lochinver, and Stormont parents are warmly invited to go along (see the item above for details). I urge you all to take the opportunity to hear what he has to say for yourselves. Karl will also be in school the next day, working with staff and all of the girls, and I know how invaluable this will be in our efforts to keep the girls safe online.