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How to help keep your kids safe online

Internet safety: how to keep your kids safe online

In a world where more than 4.5 million people use the internet, the topic of online safety for kids is more relevant than ever. Apps, tablets, video games, messaging services and social media – with so many different online platforms available, it’s hard to keep track of what they get up to on their devices. As a result, we are faced with the conundrum of making sure our children stay safe online on top of everything else. Keeping their bellies full, making sure they do their homework, seeing their friends, getting to sleep on time...

You know the drill…the list goes on and on.

And may we add, you’re doing an awesome job.

Give yourself a clap. Go on.

The digital world has created new and exciting ways for children to have fun, but we think it’s safe to say it hasn’t made things much easier for us parents.

Did you know that on average, parents will only spend 46 minutes discussing online safety with their child during their entire childhood? Mindboggling, right?

That’s why we should teach our kids about internet safety, but also educate ourselves more on it too.

And while we’d love to claim that we wish it was like the good old days (before the internet was a thing) when children spent most of their free time outside, we’d be lying.

Technology can benefit kids in amazing ways from interactive online learning, exploring their creativity, enhancing self-expression, feeling a sense of belonging, staying connected with family and friends, having access to a wealth of knowledge and much more. With online apps like LEGO® VIDIYO™, kids can get creative, build their skills and have fun. 

After all, it’s not realistic to expect kids to play with bricks ALL day long…is it?....could it be possible?...hmm…

Talk to your child about online safety (and make it fun)

One of the most important things you can do is to have conversations about online safety at home. And remember, it doesn’t have to be an awkward or boring chat.

If you don’t know where to start, we’ve created the tools to help you approach this subject in a relaxed way while getting creative with LEGO bricks.

Our Build and Talk resource is a fun way to start conversations at home about digital safety and wellbeing – all you need are some bricks and the downloadable activity pack that will give you some important questions to chat through with your child, such as online bullying, managing screen time, sharing safely and tackling strangers online.

Do they have someone to talk to?

Make sure your child has someone trustworthy to reach out to if they ever need to talk about something that’s a bit uncomfortable. If it’s not you, maybe there’s another adult figure in their life who they feel they can speak to.

If your child needs to seek help, most social media and apps have built-in reporting tools – or they can turn to a national hotline or the Internet Watch Foundation to talk about something they have encountered online.

Let’s raise our children to be good, digital citizens, keep them out of harm’s way and encourage positive social values.

It’s also important that we teach them to be mindful and respectful of others online. We’ve created a guide for children on the 6 rules of online safety. Why not go through it together with your little one, or print it out for them to read?

Look into kid-friendly platforms

There’s some comfort in knowing that the platform your child is using is kid-friendly. We know your next question…how do you know which ones are safe?

We advise to do your research, read the terms and conditions, check privacy settings, get recommendations from other parents and always check if there’s an age limit on an application.

It’s also important to ensure that the platform includes Verified Parental Consent (VPC). This allows you to verify what features your child can use on an app or platform. VPC gives you the control, as a parent or guardian, to make the decisions about your child’s digital experience and it allows you to have a better understanding of what your kids are doing online. Plus, it’s a legal requirement on all experiences where children can engage in social features.

LEGO VIDIYO (pictured) is a great example of a kid-friendly app that has this VPC. You’re required to give your consent before your child can use some of the features such as making comments or uploading photos.

Our other social apps including LEGO Life and LEGO® Super Mario™ have this feature. All you have to do is provide ID verification or credit card details to give your child access (you won’t be charged and no ID or credit card information will be stored).

With our new music video making app LEGO VIDIYO, we also implemented extra safety measures to protect your child’s privacy. All avatars and usernames are computer-generated to guarantee anonymity, and every upload and comment is moderated by one of our awesome team members at the LEGO Group (yes, an actual human), plus there’s even a parental dashboard.

So, while your kids...ahem...while the future video directors of the world (that’s better) are rocking out creating epic music videos, you can keep up to date with their activity on the app and have full control over which features they can access.

These are the kind of features to check before allowing your child to use a new app or platform.

We get it, online safety can be a scary topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Want more online safety advice? Here are 10 tips inspired by our partner UNICEF, to help parents keep kids safe in a digital world. It covers topics like keeping your child’s accounts secure, making sure their screens are visible and much more.

Kids love to have fun online. Let’s help them do it safely.