I remember my school days, it was a simpler time when kids played outside and the internet was just a thing that screamed at you in beeps and whirring noises whenever you asked Jeeves a question. Nowadays, everything is online. Our day to day routine and behaviour is so heavily reliant on some form of an online presence that we almost forget how we coped without it.

As an O2 Guru, we are tasked with keeping up to date with the latest online trends and services. The world is constantly changing and so too is the online world. The next generation of young people are growing with that online world and sometimes the dangers are ignored. From a young age we were taught about “stranger danger” and how to be safer outside, however it seems that young people today don’t use the same awareness techniques online.

I recently came across this issue with my son whilst he was playing online. He has been playing the same game for a while now and normally plays with his friends from school in a private game.

Over time, I had become aware of his friends’ online names so I was used to seeing them in the corner of the screen, however on this occasion, I spotted a new name in the corner. I asked my son if he knew who the new player was and his answer was he didn’t know, but what concerned me more was that he was more involved in his game than to realise the dangers of who he might be playing with.

That game was Fortnite.

Players can currently play Fortnite: Battle Royale on a PC, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation or download it from the App Store. Use of the game has grown rapidly amongst children and young people since the launch of the mobile game in March 2018. The game involves 100 players fighting each other in real time to be the final survivor. Fortnite:Battle Royale has several features that can be fun, but there are also risks.

There is a chat feature in the game that allows users to contact each other using voice or text. You can disable voice chat in the game by selecting the 3 lines in the top right of the screen, select the settings icon, choose the ‘Audio’ tab at the top of the screen and go to the ‘Voice Chat’ option, where you can select ‘Off’.

Staying up to date with the latest online trends

Our job as O2 Gurus is to ensure that all families have the tools and knowledge to keep them safe in this ever-growing and more reliant online world. As an O2 Guru but also as a parent, I rely on the Netaware website and app to help with my conversations with other parents. The site is a fantastic tool to keep parents in the loop of what apps and games are popular and more importantly, what they do.

The layout is easy to navigate, so even parents new to learning about online safety can find all they information they need.  The app is perfect for those who use a smartphone or tablet. Available on App Store and Google Play, the app is designed to help you identify an app quickly. With 2 filters to select from, users can find an app and its safety information from just a glance of the app’s thumbnail colour. Both apps and the website are kept up to date and are reviewed by a mixture of young people, parents and the app developers.

O2 and NSPCC want to help your family enjoy the best of the digital world safely and confidently. To help, we’ve put lots of useful information on our website. Or if you would prefer to speak to someone, call our online safety advice helpline, visit o2.co.uk/nspcc or call 0808 800 5002. Lines are open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on weekends and will be free of charge.

The NSPCC helpline is open 24 hours a day, ready to give support and advice to any adult who’s worried about a child. Call 0800 800 5000, visit nspcc.org.uk/help, email help@nspcc.org.uk