Posted: 31 March 2020

Invite-only parties and staying safe online during Covid-19 lockdown

The life of every child has been turned upside down by Coronavirus. With school closures and lockdown measures, more and more people are going online. 

We caught up with Evie from our Prevention Programme who shares with us the dangers of spending more time online and how we can take steps to protect the most vulnerable.  

Staying connected but staying safe

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to develop, people are naturally spending more time online - to get news updates, keep in touch with friends or family or to continue receiving education and support.

The reliance on social media, video chat apps and other online platforms means more young people are at risk. They will be targeted by people who are aware of the popularity of certain apps like Houseparty and will use these platforms to abuse and exploit children.

Whilst staying connected is crucial in these testing times, it’s essential we work hard to ensure internet use is safe and children and young people remain safeguarded in these virtual spaces.

Share the control 

Covid-19 has presented a variety of additional stresses to parents and carers. Key workers still need to go out to work, whilst others are now adjusting to working and schooling from home.

Young people and children are likely to be spending more time using electronic devices and it’s likely that less time will be supervised. Unregulated access can unfortunately pose risks to children and young people who are online.

Within our services, we see online exploitation frequently endangering young people which remains a concern amidst these challenging times. 

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to ensure that time spent online is safe for young people. This can be achieved by implementing parental controls on devices, as well as certain blockers on wifi routers. Talking to children about why these controls are important is a good way in engaging in this tough subject. 

DID YOU KNOW the Houseparty App allows you to lock rooms so only people you invite can enter?

Online chat

Engaging in a child or young person’s online reality can demystify and increase the safety of their online use. It also helps children and young people to know that they can talk to a trusted adult if they see anything disturbing online. Having open conversations around life online can also help in educating young people around potential harms, and opening a dialogue around these.

There are several new apps that have become very popular as people try to find ways to connect to friends. It’s important for parents and carers to know some of the age guidelines for these apps. Using the new technology as a conversation starter can be a great way of discussing how to use these apps safely.

Online exploitation resources

Understanding that exploitation can happen online is crucial to ensure we safeguard these spaces for children and young people. We have developed resources to help spot signs and prevent exploitation. In increasing knowledge, we can better engage with children at risk and ensure they are able to enjoy being connected without being harmed.

For our latest information regarding Coronavirus Covid-19, please see our support hub offering advice and resources for young people who are affected by the outbreak. 

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