We Care About Keeping Kids Safe Online

Before I dive into the weird and wonderful world of keeping kids safe online, I first want to introduce myself. My name is Amerie McAtamney, I’m an O2 Guru and have been with the company for 9 years.

The reason I became a guru was because I love helping people when it comes to tech.  Making one person’s life easier when it comes to using their phone or tablet gives me all the satisfaction I need for my job.

Keeping kids safe online is a topic of conversation that most parents don’t like to think about too much for a number of reasons. Mainly because it can be quite daunting, complicated, and frightening all at the same time.  I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be.

Online safety used to be focused primarily on laptops and PCs but now includes gaming consoles, tablets and mobile phones.  It’s becoming harder for parents to decipher what their kids are actually doing online, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Keeping our kids safe online doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to learn the ins and outs of every app or social network that your son or daughter may be connected to online.

The main thing when it comes to staying safe online is identifying risk. This is the first step in protecting your child. Knowing how to deal with that risk comes next.

There are so many resources out there to help parents. The Netaware website is a great example of a site that provides parents with up to date advice on all the latest social networks, apps and games.

The O2 Guru service is also a great tool that can be accessed not only online, but over the phone or face to face. O2 Gurus can help you as a parent/guardian to break things down into small bite size chunks. We understand your worries and we want to help.

Keeping a close eye on your child’s online activity

Guru App Advice – Looks may be deceiving. There are apps out there that look innocent, and sometimes even educational, but when you delve a little deeper you find that they’re not as innocent as you’d initially thought. Take the Secret Calculator app for an example. This app works as a regular calculator but when you look at its full functionality, it unfolds a secret vault for inappropriate content like pictures and videos.

Guru Tip – The easiest way to see what your kids are up to online is to check their search history. If the history has been erased or a private browser has been accessed, you may want to think about sitting down with your kids to discuss further.

Our kids are our future, so they need to start off on the right foot. It’s important to speak with your child about what they are doing online and reassure them that they can always come to you if they suspect anything seems wrong or out of place.

I want to reassure parents that you do not have to tackle this subject on your own.  You are not the only parent that is lost in the dark when it comes to online safety.  Everyone needs help from time to time so don’t be put off. Take the leap and start now.

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