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Gaming and Social Media guidance for parents

In recent years, schools across the country have seen an increase in the number of children using social media and computer games aimed at a mainly teenage audience. This can cause issues at home and school, and it is important that parents are aware of what their child is using and monitors it very closely.

For example, we know of children as young as 7 who have access to Fortnite, Call of Duty and GTA. To illustrate our concern, GTA is a game based on gang violence using knives and guns, stealing, nudity, extremely coarse language, alcohol abuse, stealing and selling illegal drugs, prostitution and breaking and entering. It is for parents to determine the boundaries you set for your children, but we would ask you to carefully consider the level and type of exposure they are allowed. 

Some studies have shown a direct link between children playing violent games and them behaving aggressively. It is becoming increasingly notable from the way children speak and play if they are exposed to such games and is a growing concern within schools.


Websites that provide further information and advice

PEGI Age Ratings - Ask About Games.

Advice to Parents: Identifying potential signs of gaming related harm. - YGAM

Parents & carers | Childnet

Online safety teaching resources | Internet Matters

Below is a guide to some popular social media platforms that you may find useful. Please do contact your child's class teacher or Mr Denchfield if you would like any help or support regarding gaming or social media. Where we can, we would like to help.



Instagram (age 13+) lets users snap, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos, either publicly or with a private network of followers. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high quality and artistic.

What parents need to know:

  • Children are on the lookout for "likes." Children may measure the "success" of their photos - even their self-worth (worryingly) by the number of likes or comments they receive.
  • Public photos are the default. Photos and videos shared on Instagram are public unless privacy settings are adjusted.
  • Private messaging is now an option. Instagram Direct allows users to send "private messages" to up to 15 mutual friends. These pictures don't show up on their public feeds



Snapchat (age 13+) is a messaging app that lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. Many young people use the app to share silly or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public. However, there are lots of opportunities to use it in other ways.

What parents need to know:

  • It's a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Whenever an image is sent, it remains part of their digital footprint.
  • It can make sending inappropriate images/messages seem OK. The seemingly risk-free messaging may actually encourage users to share pictures which they know they shouldn’t.



TikTok (age 13+) is a social media app you can use to create videos, usually by lip-synching or dancing along with top songs. You can share the videos you create with friends, or with a wider circle of TikTok users. You can also follow other creators on the app without posting your own content. 

What parents need to know:

  • Users under age 13 can't post videos or comment, and content is curated for a younger audience.

  • For  age 13 to 15, accounts are private by default. Only friends can comment on videos, and other users can't duet (explained below) with your videos.

  • Only users age 16 and over can livestream and use direct messaging, and only users over 18 can buy, send, or receive virtual gifts.

  • In March 2023, TikTok announced a time limit of 60 minutes/day on users under 18, requiring a password to be entered for further access to the platform.


Oovoo (age 13+) is a free video, voice and messaging app. Users can have group chats with up to 12 people.

What parents need to know:

  • The default setting is public, so you can talk to people you don't know, but they can be changed so that you can just talk to your friends
  • The main safety issues are around the content of discussion and the ability to talk with strangers.


What's App

What’sApp (age 16+) users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees.

What parents need to know:

  • It can be pushy. After you sign up, it automatically connects you to all the people in your address book who also are using WhatsApp. It encourages you to add friends who haven't signed up yet.


Parent Guides

Below are a selection of useful guides for parents when navigating the use of different apps, websites and games that your children may use. These guides show you the different safety tools and settings that you can use within the apps as well as explanations for how your children will use the programmes. Whilst most of these come with age limits not suitable for children in primary school, we felt it important to include these to support our families and children.



Reporting a Concern

To report a concern about online grooming or sexual behaviour online, contact CEOP: