Dear Parents & Carers,

‘WhatsApp’ has announced that they will ban under 16s from using their service in the EU.  Currently, the minimum age limit for WhatsApp users is 13 years old. Under the new Terms and Conditions of use, WhatsApp users will be asked to confirm their age in order to proceed with using the service. Users will be required to nominate a parent or carer to give permission for them to share data. If users do not obtain permission, they will experience a less personalised version.

With this news in mind and knowing that some children in school have this app or similar ones for group chats, we thought it would be a good time to remind children and parents/carers of how to ensure children are safe and sensible when using such an app.

The following websites give parents/carers some beneficial information around Whatsapp:

http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/internet/social-media/whatsapp-explained-a-parents-guide-to-using-the-messaging-app-safely-11364067819068

https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/guidance/whatsapp-safety-a-how-to-guide-for-parents/

Technology can be a wonderful thing and very useful for keeping in touch; however, it can also be a vehicle for bullying.  Below is a link to a useful guide on this matter.  We would advise that if your child is using a messaging group via their mobile phones or tablets, that you regularly check that group to ensure that unkind messages are not being received or sent by your child.

https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/research/new-cyberbullying-guide-for-parents-carers-and-schools/

The current trending game for children is ‘Fortnite’ and this has also been in the news recently with concerns that it can be addictive. As with many online games, Fortnite: Battle Royale comes with risks to children and young people. The game is PEGI rated at 12+ however, there is no proof of age required, which can expose younger children to violent content as well as inappropriate comments from older users.  Please ensure your child’s privacy settings are up to date.  A parental guide can be found here: https://nationalonlinesafety.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Fortnite-Battle-Royale-Guide-April-2018.jpg?utm_source=National+Online+Safety&utm_campaign=6be1d71de8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_80f12a2666-6be1d71de8-31907073&mc_cid=6be1d71de8&mc_eid=d5e1f15253

The children receive regular online safety education within school around using online sites and apps carefully.  There are also links to other suitable sites for your help, via our school website: http://tunbury.kent.sch.uk/internet-safety/