At Longridge High School, it is our aim to make the internet a safer place for our pupils. We hope to accomplish this through equipping school staff, parents and pupils with the knowledge they need to understand online dangers and how best to react should an incident arise.
Defined as “ongoing hurtful behaviour towards someone online”, cyber-bullying makes its victims feel upset, uncomfortable and unsafe. In the digital world, it has numerous forms – such as hurtful comments on a person’s posts or profile; deliberately leaving them out of group chats; sharing embarrassing images or videos of someone; or spreading gossip about them. Cyber-bullying can severely impact a young person’s mental health … so, we’ve provided a list of tips to help trusted adults know what to look for and how to respond to it.
Roblox is one of the most popular video games on the market. By 2020, the game’s makers were claiming that more than half of children in the USA play it. As a ‘sandbox’ title, Roblox offers a huge amount of creative freedom: it lets players create their own gaming experiences with the Roblox Studio to build custom levels and games, which can then be shared with other players online. Roblox fosters creative thinking and enjoys a robust online community of fans.
The Call of Duty (CoD) series is a worldwide gaming phenomenon, with millions of copies sold every year. The game is an online shooter which features – unsurprisingly – extreme violence, rendered in realistic graphics. Amid the explosions and potential political nature of the plot, there’s much for parents to be aware of. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as offensive chat/messaging, in-game purchases and addiction.
FIFA 23, is a massively popular football simulator featuring lifelike recreations of thousands of real-world players, drawn from teams around the globe. While the gameplay is subtly improved year on year, the publisher EA’s focus remains firmly on FIFA Ultimate Team – a mode in the game that can tempt players of all ages to spend actual money on recruiting better players for their side. With each new release of FIFA comes a host of new players to unlock – meaning that youngsters can feel pressured to keep buying to compete with their friends.
Summer 2022. Lionesses. Heatwaves. Commonwealth Games. Lightyear. She-Hulk. Then we blinked, and suddenly it was “new term” this and “back to school” that. Here’s the good news, though – another school year means months of fresh online trends to jump on, different things to message about, and cool new games to play – for the kids anyway! Whatever they enjoy online, our online safety guide has some top tips to help them do it safely!
The Amazon Fire Tablet is a popular choice: not only are Amazon’s own-brand devices more affordable than most other tablets on the market, but some models are designed specifically for youngsters (the Fire 7 Kids, Fire 8 HD and Fire HD 10 are aimed at ages 3–7, for example, while the ‘Pro’ range is geared toward 6 to 12-year-olds). Fires come with access to a wealth of entertaining content, from child-friendly TV shows and videos to age-appropriate games and ebooks.
British Esports describes ‘esports’ as “competitive gaming, human-v-human, usually with a spectator element to it”. In recent years, the esports industry has grown significantly – and is expected to reach an overall worth of $1.2 billion, with around 30 million monthly viewers, by the end of 2022. This rapid evolution has presented even more opportunities … but, of course, opportunities usually come with a risk. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the potential hazards within the esports industry and suggested ways to help young people stay safe so they can make the most of this exciting space.
Google Chromebooks were first introduced in 2011 as a budget-friendly alternative to Windows laptops. They have a cloud-based desktop operating system created by Google that performs internet-based tasks simply and quickly. Although primarily optimised for Google apps – such as Gmail and Google Drive – newer devices also support Android apps and offer a range of parental controls via the Google Family Link tool. Nonetheless, whilst these tools are comprehensive, there are some limitations which means there are a number of risks trusted adults should be aware of.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion users worldwide. The platform allows users to upload images and videos to their feed, create interactive ‘stories’, share live videos, exchange private messages or search, explore and follow other accounts they like – whilst at the same time continuously updating and adding new features to meet the needs of its users.
Marketed as increasing a player’s enjoyment of a game, loot boxes are usually purchased or given as rewards. When opened, they unlock items for use in the game, such as better weapons or new characters to play as. Loot boxes feature in many games and are therefore available to various age groups. They’ve often been criticised for emulating gambling: the odds of unlocking certain items can be astronomical, while the money being spent is often high compared to the potential reward. It’s imperative that trusted adults understand the risks that loot boxes can pose.
Minecraft is a beloved classic of modern gaming. First released in 2011, this open-ended ‘sandbox’ game of building and exploration still has over 140 million players who happily return to play it at least once every month. Minecraft has also been utilised for much more than just entertainment: it’s sometimes used in schools to teach children coding, and it's also employed as a tool for computer-aided design, which is another valuable skill. Encouraging creativity and problem solving, Minecraft has plenty to offer gamers of all ages, and it's available on almost all video game platforms.
Steam is a computer gaming digital distribution platform and storefront. It is the biggest platform for desktop- or laptop-based gaming, with a range of more than 30,000 games available. The platform has become a lively social environment for many gamers, and allows people to trade, sell and buy gaming items for real money. Valve, the developers behind Steam, have also released different hardware that works with the platform, including the Steam Deck – a hand-held console that lets users play their favourite games while away from their computer.
Twitch is a livestreaming service which tends to focus on gaming. Users can publicly broadcast their gameplay and commentary online for other users to watch. It's a community-driven platform where viewers can support their favourite streamers’ channels through PayPal donations, "Bits" and more. Each streamer or group creates their own community for fans to interact with each other. Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users and includes non-gaming topics such as music, cooking and art. Anyone can create a channel to livestream or watch videos.
‘Metaverse’ is a relatively new term to many, however the concept has been around for some time. Videogames, for example, use many aspects of the metaverse; avatars, digital currency, mini-games, and open communication. A metaverse can also take many forms; Fortnite can be seen as a metaverse, as is Roblox. Put simply, a metaverse is an online environment where people interact, play games and express themselves. Away from traditional videogames, there are newer and more ‘dedicated’ metaverses such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and Somnium Space which are akin to Second Life.