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5 ways the internet can help you enjoy family time together

Family digital

Image: Goodluz/Shutterstock.com

Read our five top tips for enjoying tech together as a family

1. Get out

If you’re out and about and using Google Maps or another similar app to find your way to new areas or attractions, it’s the ideal opportunity to talk to your children about understanding location services – what they are, how they work and how they relate to privacy.

While useful for certain apps, such as maps or mini cab services, it’s good practice for children to turn off location settings on social media apps, such as Instagram and Facebook. If not, people can see where they are when they post a photo or status update.

If they have privacy features set up (such as only allowing friends to see their posts), this is unlikely to be a problem (see point 3, below), but if their posts are public and available for everyone to see, this could leave them vulnerable to strangers finding them.

How to turn off location services:

  • On iPhone, you will find Location services under Privacy in Settings. You can turn them off completely, or only on specific apps.
  • On android phones, you will find Location under Settings. Again, you can turn off location settings on individual apps, such as Facebook, if you prefer to keep some open.

2. Stay in

You don’t need to leave the house to take advantage of family time. Playing the online games your children like with them or asking to see their favourite apps are great ways to take advantage of time at home. This could be your chance to discover what it is about Minecraft that has been keeping them so absorbed recently. You can find out how to help your child stay safe on Minecraft here.

3. Combine the two

Mix the inside and outside world with a tip from the Digital Manifesto from the Scouts Association. Go for a hike or explore your local area, and encourage your children to video as you go. Then, when you get home, help them make a film of your day. Helping them post it on social media to friends and family only is also a good way to help them learn about how to control who sees what you post on apps such as Facebook. (You can find links to how to sort out privacy settings on social media apps here.)

4. Socialise on and offline – safely

Some parents may want to have their kids all to themselves when they're at home, but chances are both you and your children will want to have some space apart from time to time.

‘Remind them to be careful who they connect with on social media’

If the kids are making plans to see friends, take advantage of the opportunity to remind them to be careful who they connect with on social media, and not to agree to meet up with someone they don’t know in real life without you being present. They can read advice about online friends here.

5. Relax in front of some family-friendly online entertainment

Every family needs some serious chill time together and video on demand services mean you can watch films and TV shows together whenever and wherever you want. 

Netflix

Information on setting up parental controls on Netflix can be found here.

NowTV

Find out how to set up parental controls on NowTV here. Select ‘How do I change my parental PIN settings’ and follow the instructions.

BBC iPlayer

Access all BBC TV and radio content whenever and wherever you want it, including CBeebies and CBBC.

Find out how to set up parental controls on iPlayer here

Amazon Prime Video

Information on setting up parental controls can be found here.

Further reading

Apps to help families enjoy the great outdoors

Staying connected: four ways the online world can help families going through divorce

 

The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

First published: January 2016

Updated: ​May 2018

 

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