This article was contributed by NCA-CEOP

NCA-CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency. As well as being a reporting mechanism, NCA-CEOP works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children, and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account.

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A fun tool to help your child solve online safety dilemmas

The National Crime Agency’s CEOP command has created an interactive game that can help you start conversations with your child about making safer choices online.

Band Runner is an interactive game from UK child protection agency NCA-CEOP’s Thinkuknow education programme. It is designed to help 8-10-year-olds learn how to stay safer online.

Players run through school collecting stars for points, using their guitars to eliminate all obstacles in their path as they try and make it to their next gig. If players miss a jump or take a tumble, they must help Alfie solve an online safety dilemma to be able to continue play. 

The interactive game features characters from the Play Like Share series of educational films. These films help children to spot the early signs of manipulative, pressurising and threatening behaviour online and develop the confidence to get help and respond safely.

TOP TIPS on getting the conversation started

  • Ask your child about the games, sites and apps they like to use. What do they like about them? Is there anything they don’t like?
  • Watch the Play Like Share series of videos together and discuss with your child. What do they believe the main learning points of each episode to be? Can any of the safety tips be applied when online?
  • Play Band Runner together. You could take it in turns on one device or play at the same time on two. After playing, ask your child what they remember about Alfie’s online safety dilemmas.
  • If your child enjoys playing games where they interact with people they don’t know, make sure they understand that it is not safe to share personal information like their name, school, and phone number with people they meet in the game. Explain that if anyone says anything that worries or upsets them, they should tell you or another trusted adult straight away.
  • Help your child manage the privacy settings on their apps to ensure that they are only sharing things with friends they know and trust in real life. If your child likes sharing photos or videos with people they know in real life discuss safer ways they could do this e.g. sending via email, messaging service or private link.
  • Find out how to block and report someone in each game, site and app they use and discuss with your child.
  • Make sure they know that they can come to you if something goes wrong online, that they won’t be in trouble and you will be able to help.

The Band Runner game is hosted within the Thinkuknow 8-10-year-olds website, which provides clear and practical online safety advice.

Further information about Band Runner and keeping children safer online can be found within the Thinkuknow website for parents and carers.

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.

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