CHILDLINE ADVICE: Talk openly and regularly with your child to help keep them safe online

If your child is a fan of online gaming, it can be hard to keep up with their preferred apps, games or sites, but it’s always worth trying to stay informed.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th July 2022, 12:00 am
"Have regular and open conversations with them about how they use the internet or live streaming platforms."
"Have regular and open conversations with them about how they use the internet or live streaming platforms."

Online bullying and inappropriate online content are topics our Childline counsellors regularly speak to young people about.

Such experiences can be hugely distressing for children. But they might not always feel comfortable speaking to their parents about it because they’re worried about their reaction.

Our colleagues in the NSPCC’s online safety team, who write a regular blog, have looked at the live streaming platform Twitch.

It is the world’s most popular live streaming platform, with around 140 million active users watching other people around the world play games, learn about new games, sports or music.

Like YouTube, users can set up their own channel or subscribe to follow streamers they like, but it can be difficult for parents and carers to manage the types of content their child can see on live streaming platforms like Twitch, because they play in real-time.

The most important thing to help keep your child safe online is to have regular and open conversations with them about how they use the internet or live streaming platforms.

Try suggesting that they show you around the platform because it’s not something you’ve seen before, and you’d like to show an interest in their latest hobby.

Ask them about what channels they follow and if they talk to anyone on the platform.

Ask who their favourite streamer is, what types of videos or live streams they enjoy watching, and if they’ve learned any new gaming tips through the platform.

If your child has experienced something upsetting online, it’s important that they can come to you about it.

Reassure them you won’t ban them from using the internet or judge them for whatever they’ve seen, and they’ll be more likely to speak up if something’s wrong.

Let them know that if they’ve experienced anything that might have upset them, you’re there to help them deal with it, and if they’re not comfortable speaking to you about it, then Childline is available around the clock.