This review is a paid collaboration with National Online Safety – however, as always, all thoughts are independent and I have not been influenced in any way. I have two teenage boys, one who is 15 and the other who is 14 and as a parent, it is my duty to keep them safe both offline and online.
Hard to believe that when I was their age the thought of a cordless telephone was something I never even dreamed off, never mind a mobile phone. I used to sit on the stairs with the timer on the phone to my friend ready to put it down and redial before it hit an hour, so the call was free. Now that telephone cord of old is better known by teens as an invisibobble!
Technology moves at such a pace that, even as someone who works online, it is hard to keep up. Lots of parents seem to separate life to real life and online, where are children see no distinction: to them it is all real, just online and offline and as we have seen this year the lines have really blurred. Technology has become essential in home education during lockdown and I really do not know how we would have managed without it.
As I am writing this review, I have one child isolating and doing all his earning via Google Classrooms and logging on for live-streamed lessons. Something that seemed impossible just a year ago.
What is National Online Safety All about?
National Online Safety are a provider of award-winning courses and educational resources to UK schools all about digital safeguarding and online risk.
They realised that this training was even more essential with lockdown and they expanded their portfolio with an app to respond to the growing need for training and information without face-to-face contact.
The App has a free parent portal allowing interactive training, videos and amazing guides to download for free for parents and is age specific regardless of whether their children’s school is signed up for the app.
Why do I need to use the National Online Saftey App?
Technology moves so fast and children seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to what is the “in thing”. I have found the online safety guides are amazingly comprehensive and cover everything that my boys might use. There is even a guide for the New Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5, showing just how current the information is and allows me as a parent to assess any risks before they arise.
The guides are realistic: for example, just because Call of Duty has a PEGI rating of 18 doesn’t mean that children are not playing. They accept this and produce a guide ensuring that we can keep current of any issues whilst allowing our children to game with their peers.
The guides are really visual and not at all preachy, making them a brilliant learning tool to print and discuss with your children. As a family we have always discussed safety as a whole-world issue, so strangers both online and offline, the same with recognising grooming.
The guides do not sugarcoat hard or embarrassing issues such as sexting. They provide the information succinctly in a way that you can talk to your children about the risks and also how to deal with any requests such as the fact that it is actually illegal to “send a sexual image of anyone under 18 even if it is yourself”. This makes them a great conversation starter.
The National Online Safety App is something that every parent needs in their toolkit. It will help them navigate the online world and help ensure their children safety.
I am a firm believer in the power of conversation. We have always talked about online safety in the same manner as offline safety. Strangers come in many forms and it is important to keep the communication open as your children get older as you want them to know that they can always come to you.