Parental Guide for Screens and Children

Parental Survival Guide for Screens and Children

If you haven’t done so yet, please take some time to look through current guidelines for screen and app use by children.

E safety is being taught to some year groups at the moment and some of the apps being mentioned such as have come up in discussions as they are being used by our children.

Age limits for Social Media

13+ Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Secret, Snapchat, Pinterest, Shabo, Google+

14+ Linked in

16+ What’s App

17+ Vine

18+ YouTube, Wechat, Kik, Keek, Foursquare, Flickr (13 to 17 years old with Parental permission)

50% of parents are unaware of the Social Media age limits and only 1 in 5 parents did know that there WERE ANY Social Media age limits

(source 17th March 2017 NSPCC)


(source: Saturday Telegraph 23 September 2017)

72% of 12-15 year olds have a Social Media profile

9% of 11-15 year olds are communicating via Social Media after 10pm

42% of 8-11 year olds prefer watching YouTube to watching TV

51% of 12-15 year olds use SnapChat

32% of 8-11 year olds have a Smart Phone

17% of 12-15 year olds have deleted their browser history

34% of 12-15 year olds have encountered “hate speech” online in the last year

21% of 12-15 year olds play games with people they haven’t met

41% of parents admit they find it hard to control their child’s screen use

Advice for damage limitation 

Create a rule book so you have something to go by and be consistent 

Check that on all their accounts the Privacy settings are set to ‘friends only’. 

Limit screen time 

Try to keep screens in a public place. Not in bedrooms. 

Agree no screens before school, mealtimes and bedtimes 

If your child is becoming socially withdrawn and showing signs of anxiety ACT STRAIGHT AWAY!

Did you know..

Catfishing is the name used by offenders to lure young people into harm on social media and online gaming.

Instagram is now rated the worst app for causing mental health issues.

Sexting is illegal. What may seem like a private photo in a relationship can easily be turned into hate speech and used against you for all to see when the relationship ends.

SnapChat earns your child STREAKS; a darkly ingenious way to keep your child engaged. They gain points every time they communicate and lose them if they don’t. SnapChat is highly pervasive into the child’s psyche. SnapChat also reveals where your child is located unless it is switched to ‘ghost mode’.

Online Gaming is a real and present threat and easily becomes an addiction. Many participants will not be known to your child. Gaming addiction is REAL and highly destructive.

Trolling is when someone you don’t know sends horrible messages and photos/videos to make you upset. is a site that is known by the authorities to be used by paedophiles in disguise wanting videos of children dancing. is a 13+ app that blends social networking and music together into a unique do-it-yourself video platform. Users (known as ‘Musers’ on the site) can create, save and share videos of up to 15 seconds. Videos typically show lip-syncing, dance routines and comedy parodies. Much like other social networking sites, users can like and comment on other videos, and even remix them and share them on again however a lot of children are not using the Privacy settings on this and it is known that this site is used by paedophiles for looking at and grooming children. Please make sure that if your children are using this that they have set their Privacy settings on Profiles are set to public by default so they will need to do the following to access privacy settings and switch to a private account:

  1. From a user’s profile page, click the cog symbol in the top right corner
  2. Click ‘settings’
  3. Scroll to ‘Privacy’
  4. Turn on the ‘private account’ switch

Two other features can be accessed in the ‘Privacy’ tab – ‘only friends can message me’ and ‘hide location info’. When turned on, these options will only let accepted friends privately message the user, and will hide the user’s location from other users. 

There is also a new site called which allows children to send live videos of themselves directly to strangers. There is also another app doing the rounds at the moment called ‘Sarahah’ which allows users to send anonymous messages to each other and it has made the  national press with how it is being used as a ‘cyberbullying tool’. Please check your children’s phones, tablets and computers regularly. There is a list of protective software and apps that you can download to help you – read on!

Things to help you…

Gallery Guardian can help you if you are contracted to your child’s phone and sends you an alert if they are looking at inappropriate images.

Our Pact is an app which allows you to switch off apps on your child’s phone and it can work to a schedule.

Circle with Disney lets you manage all devices in your home, setting time limits and turning off individual apps.

Forest is a good app for children to download as it helps them control their screen time. They plant a seed and a forest grows in the app, the more time you spend on your phone less trees grow. It has proved popular with young people and helps them to focus.

….Have you though about YOUR screen usage – especially in front of your children?

Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. If you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits and more.


Sleep deprivation:

from the National Sleep Foundation and the NHS Oct 2017
Requirements of sleep for good health:  Pre-puberty—11 hours sleep  Teenagers — 10 hours sleep
9 out of 10 young people are exposed to blue light just before bedtime

50% of teenagers are not getting enough sleep for good health and study
68% of young people using phones at night after going to bed negatively affects school work
Under 25’s on average are likely to check their mobile phone 32 times a day
Young people need a digital blue screen detox 90 mins before going to sleep
48% of youngsters check their phones after they have gone to bed
10% of young people will check their phones 10 times during the night. 

Extremes of blue light is potentially hazardous to the back of the eye 

Short sleep causes– obesity, low cognitive function; lower immunity to colds etc; heart disease; diabetes.

We can’t change the world of screens BUT we can help young people navigate a healthy path and use the Internet for the excellent platform it is when used responsibly.

A quote from the first technology addiction centre at Nightingale Hospital London by Dr Richard Graham:

“It makes sense if the window is not open so wide, less dirt will fly in.”

With thanks to IAPS and Enough Abuse.
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