Over the past year we’ve increased our reliance on technology ten-fold, and with that change there are fears that online risks are growing – particularly for children.
Most children, thankfully, only have positive experiences online. But things can go wrong so they need to know where to seek support if something worrying happens.
As classrooms, offices and entertainment have found their new online place in our lives, families have embraced all things digital.
Here are some fun online activities your child can enjoy that will also help develop their digital resilience so they understand online risks and know what to do to seek support if something goes wrong.
Coding is a great skill to have. It helps develop your child’s numeracy, communication and problem solving skills, while giving them a better understanding of the technology around them.
While your child may have already been learning basic coding skills at school, there are some great online resources to continue their development.
ScratchJr, Kodu and Cargo-Bot are among some of the best coding platforms for children in primary school. Your child can learn basic coding through games, quizzes and storytelling – great for younger children.
Museums are closed and there are still restrictions on travelling abroad – but thanks to technology, we can still go on virtual visits all over the world, for free.
As well as being a great source of education and entertainment, giving your child some freedom and independence to explore these safer sites is really important to help build their digital resilience.
Roblox is more than a single game. It’s a vast collection of different games by different creators, and allows opportunities to create stories and customise — whether your child wants to become a superhero, build a theme park or star in a fashion show.
It is an opportunity for your child to harness their creativity and literacy, and older children can practise their online etiquette through chatting and sharing with friends.
Although Roblox is PEGI 7+, the user-created content often falls outside this rating and may contain elements that are only suitable for older children. If you have younger children, setting the game to 13 and under will ensure only games curated by Roblox themselves are available.
Talk to your child about why you have restricted their account – this will help them become more thoughtful of their own digital habits, and understand why they shouldn’t try to bypass age ratings.
Roblox also offers optional in-app purchases. Most of these are purely cosmetic or improve game progression. Thanks to the large expanse of titles, if a game involves lots of microtransactions your child can simply play something else. You could also make sure that all purchases are pin-protected, or that in-game transactions are turned off completely. Read our full guide to Roblox to find out more.
Online blogging provides a great opportunity for teenagers to explore their self-expression and creativity, while also promoting learning and building friendships. Your child might also find that writing a blog in the form of a back-to-school diary might help them make sense of their emotions.
There are plenty of blogging platforms to choose from to suit your child’s needs. The most popular choices are WordPress and Blogger. Remember that if your child is in KS2, they will also have KidBlog logins.
With different features on each platform ranging from website customisation to photos and animated GIF images, your child has access to an array of tools for expression, and the freedom to write as they wish.
The minimum age to use most blogging platforms is 13. You and your child should consider what they are writing and who they are sharing it with. You should also decide whether you want others to be able to comment on your child’s blog: if it’s open to all, they may receive negative messages.
Through blogging, your child will have the opportunity to learn about the risks that come with sharing information and become more thoughtful about what they share online.
Striking the balance between self-expression and oversharing can be tricky to achieve – blogging may help them to do just that.