ESafety News

The latest ESafety news is at the top - scrolling down goes back in time.  Use the search function in your browser to find specific content.

Summer 22/23  |  Spring 22/23  |  Autumn 22/23  |  Summer 21/22

Online Safety Videos

The long summer holiday always sees children spending more time online with less supervision. So internet4schools are giving parents access to their free online safety video series.

You can access the videos HERE


Most of us love meeting interesting people, making connections and forging new friendships. It’s this exact experience that OmeTV promises: letting users interact with people across the globe via randomly connected video chats. At their best, apps like this let you talk to some amazing people you’d never have met otherwise. At worst, they connect you with unpleasant, dangerous characters, who are interested in far less innocent activities than talking.

OmeTV is popular with younger users, despite coming with clear warnings that it’s intended for over-18s only. As National Online Safety's #WakeUpWednesday guide outlines, this presents obvious dangers to any children and young people who do use the app, with reports of predators trying to exploit OmeTV for their own ends.

You can read the guide HERE

Activities for Parents and Children

As much as we do in school in relation to online safety, it is important that this continues at home. An understandable concern from many parents is that they don't know where to start, what conversations to have etc. 

Internet Matters have made available a series of 'things to do together' which includes things like, 'am I ready for a social media account', 'is it okay to.....' activities, an online safety agreement, 'what-if' scenarios and much more.

All of these are free and you can see the full range HERE

If you wanted to take this a step further, you could possibly use these in your parental engagement strategy, sharing one topic or activity per week, slowly building up parents knowledge and confidence.

The Cyber Helpline - Parent Guides

The Cyber Helpline are a charitable organisation in the UK who are focussed on helping and supporting victims of cyber crime. There is a lot of useful information on their website, including a page full of guides and a wide range of topics from malware, cyber bullying and harassment, unauthorised access (e.g. if your gaming account has been hacked) and much more. All the guides are free and can be downloaded HERE.

Chat GPT & VR Parents Guides

I'm sure you will have heard of ChatGPT, maybe you've dabbled in it? I have been playing around with it recently and I love it, the capabilities are extraordinary.  But some parents may not be aware of it so Childnet have put together an informative blog for parents/carers to explain AI and ChatGPT, what it can/can't do and importantly, the safety considerations. You can find the blog HERE

Children using virtual reality (VR) headsets is very much in a minority which I suspect, in part, is due to the cost. With that said I have spoken to children in school who are using VR and generally they say it is a very positive, fun experience. But as with anything there are risks, so Childnet have put a great blog together for parents to understand what VR is, age restrictions and considerations. You can find the blog HERE.


The influencer economy is huge business and, if you're really lucky you can make serious money. I was reading an article earlier this week about one influencer who has 2 million followers on Snapchat. She is now using an AI chatbot so that her fans can engage with her, the chatbot mimics her personality and mannerisms, and she charges $1 per minute for the privilege of talking to a bot. She is on track to make $5 million per month from the chatbot alone!

Many children and young people will be following their favourite influencers and, as with anything in life, there are risks. Childnet have put together a great article about influencers with a number of questions and answers. These can be used at home to strike up conversations and debate which will allow you to cover many aspects such as advertising, misinformation/disinformation, parasocial relationships, mental health and more.

You can find the article from Childnet HERE.

Xbox Safety Toolkit

Many children and young people will be using Xbox gaming stations at home and as such Microsoft have put together quite a comprehensive toolkit (a PDF document) for parents, children and young people that goes into quite a lot of depth, including parental controls, guidance for all ages, common safety risks, bullying, unwanted contact and more. There is also age-specific guidance (from 5 years upwards) and case studies.

The link to the toolkit, which is a free PDF download is HERE.

Chat GPT Parents Guide

Many children and teenagers are already using Chat GPT. It currently has 13 million daily users. So the chances are your child could be one of the early adopters.

As a parent or teacher, it's natural to want to protect your child from the potential risks and dangers of new technology particularly because of the rapid rate these new technologies are being introduced to children – frequently and without safeguards in place.

Wayne Denner has put together a guide for parents which you can read HERE

Snapchat - AI Chatbot

Artificial Intelligence has been around for years, but in the last 6 months or so it has taken on a whole new dimension. Everyone is talking about ChatGPT, but that's one very small example compared to what is out there now. Imagine this: get ChatGPT to create a storyline script based on a character - create the visual character in OpenAI - input the visual character into one of the Video AI platforms along with the script. You've just created a whole video with a semi-lifelike character in 30 minutes or less. It's extraordinary, exciting, but concerning at the same time.

All the big companies are either implementing or starting to implement AI into their services now, and this includes Snapchat who a fortnight ago introduced their AI Chatbot

For companies, this is all about engagement, in other words keeping people in the app. However, as much as AI can be used for good, there is always a negative side too with the bot responding and giving wholly inappropriate advice to questions that are being asked, even when you tell the bot how old you are. To combat this Snap have stated that they will introduce filters and Family Center parental controls to help. In other words, once again, safety is an afterthought.

AI is here now and it is here to stay, it is growing very quickly, faster than I have ever seen before, so this is an area that we need to start discussing with children and young people, both the positives and the negatives. 

To read a little more about the AI chatbot on Snapchat see HERE.

Cyber Security for Parents

The security of our devices and data cannot be under-estimated. 

With hacking, identity theft, impersonation, fraud and scams all on the increase it is important that everybody has an awareness of cyber security. 

Internet Matters have a great article with lots of advice and guidance around a range of cyber security topics for parents/carers and their children including phishing, doxxing, cryptojacking and much more, all in a non-techie easy-to-understand format. 

You can find the article HERE.

Video Games Guide

We all know that gaming is a hugely popular activity for a number of different reasons, e.g. socialisation, coping mechanism, skill building and much more. 

Many games however are not appropriate for children and plenty of parents struggle with this. 

Internet Matters have put together a guide which details some alternative games beyond the most popular ones and promoting gaming as a family affair. 

There are games from 3+ upwards so there's something for everyone. You can download the guide HERE.

Ofcom - Digital Literacy Report

This report (Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes) is always a useful read as it gives a 'state of the nation' snapshot and also gives useful insights into areas we can target in education (3-17 year olds). For example:

The report is quite big (48 pages) but there is a wealth of information in the overview. You can read the full PDF report HERE.

Social Media - Parental Consent for Under 18's

Utah has become the first state in the US which has passed a law that requires social media companies to obtain explicit consent from parents of under 18's before an account can be created. This is really interesting, how effective it will be and how it will be policed I have no idea, but more and more states/countries around the world are starting to take a more proactive stance against big tech due to their continual appalling failings. As well as explicit consent, the new law also imposes a curfew which blocks access between 2230 and 0630.

You can read more on the BBC website HERE

Snapchat - New Parental Controls

Snapchat have updated Family Center again, this time adding controls that block 'sensitive' and 'suggestive' content from viewing by under 18's. 

To enable this feature, parents can toggle on the 'Restrict Sensitive Content' filter within Snapchat's Family Center and once enabled under 18's should not be able to see the blocked content, although this is only on Stories and Spotlight (short videos). 

It has no effect on content shared in Chat, Snaps and Search, so it is pretty limited.

More information for parents about this new feature can be found HERE and an explanation in regards to what Snapchat considers sensitive content can be found HERE.