ONLINE SAFETY NEWS: "HUGGY WUGGY" (UPDATED)
It's good for us all to be aware of this character, in case children mention it. It is certainly not a nice cuddly bear, as its name suggests. This is a character that children are being exposed to on platforms such as Tiktok and YouTube. The character is named 'Huggy Wuggy' from the 2021 horror game 'Poppy's Playtime'.
Online safety is a serious matter. Read this page for tips to help keep your children safe while they're using devices like phones, tablets, game consoles and computers which are connected to the Internet.
From jargon-busting to online gaming and social pressures, there's a lot of information here and it would take you too long to read it all. It's in alphabetical order which will help you quickly find out more about that thing your child is talking about!
Using the Internet to connect with others is a part of most people's lives now, and here at Codnor Primary School, we are fully committed to our children's online safety. We do as much as we can to ensure that the content children access on online devices within school is safe and age-appropriate; and we teach children ways to keep themselves safe while using their own devices outside of school. Here are some of the steps we take:
The Internet is changing all the time - and there's a good chance that your child is using it! Here are some tips to help you reduce the risk to your child's safety while they are using an online device:
We thought you'd appreciate National Online Safety's guides to some of the lingo and current issues regarding children's online safety.
Age-inappropriate content (accidental)
'Inappropriate' means different things to different people. What's acceptable for one age group may be unsuitable for a younger audience. Online, young people can chance upon inappropriate content in various ways. The guide on the right explores how this can happen, and provides tips to help keep children safe.
If you have children, it is understandable to have concerns about the films and TV shows they watch, as well as the games they play. In this guide, we take a look at the two official ways you can assess whether a particular title is suitable for your child.
App stores and apps
'Apps' are designed to run on certain devices and are written for a specific operating system, such as Apple iOS, Windows, or Android. 'App stores' are essentially shop-fronts from where people can download free or paid-for apps. There are some tips in the leaflet to help you moderate and manage your children's use of an app store.
Going online makes it easier for people to say and do things they probably wouldn't do face to face. Online bullies don't get to see their victims' reactions in real life, so this can cocoon them from the real damage that they are doing. The poster on the right contains some useful information to share with your child.
In this technological era, making friends online and communicating with them are normal parts of life. Unfortunately, there are people out there who may try to exploit your trust. Catfishing is when someone creates a fake online profile to trick people into thinking they are somebody else. For more information, read this guide.
Online or 'viral' challenges (as they are sometimes known) are constantly emerging and evolving. They're often completely innocent, raising awareness of worthy causes or simply providing amusement. However, they can have more sinister undertones, putting children at risk. More information in the PDF on the right.
When someone befriends and builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. They can do this both offline and online, with technology and the internet being commonly used to initiate and facilitate contact with a child. See the guide on the right for more information.
As new smart devices arrive on the market, they promise to make life easier and to help our lives run more efficiently. While they are typically aimed at busy professionals, they can easily be used by children, too. See the guide on the right for more information about internet-connected devices.
The term used to describe the broadcast of a real-time video from a mobile device, tablet or games console. Live streaming opens up a world of excitement for children, where they can watch live concerts, celebrities, and connect with their friends. The 'stream' can go both ways, and there are apps which enable children to broadcast their own live streams. There are many positives to this technology, but there are dangers with it, too. Click the PDF to see the guide.
Loot boxes and skin betting
Loot is anything in a game which gives the player an advantage, e.g. a weapon or special ability. A skin is a change of appearance for the player's character. Real-world currency can be used to buy loot and skins. Use of this 'loot and skin' currency can be taken further by websites that use it for gambling. It’s important for parents to be aware of this activity, as it can consume considerable amounts of money and can become addictive. See the guide for more info.
It can be challenging for parents and carers to know whether children are spending too much time on their devices. Furthermore, it's even more of a challenge to know whether a child is addicted to social media. Read the guide for information on what is known as 'screen addiction'.
Also known as 'Youth Produced Sexual Imagery', sexting involves sending and receiving explicit messages, images or videos of a sexual nature. This content is usually uploaded on a mobile device, which can then be uploaded onto social networking sites and shared further. This is more common in adolescents, but younger children can become involved in this as well. The PDF on the right has more information and you can visit Childnet's sexting advice page if someone you know has been affected by this.
Children are using smart devices from a much younger age than ever before, so it's essential that we talk to them about how to use them safely. There are many positive benefits to this new technology - however there are plenty of downsides too. See some tips in the leaflet on the right to help you take steps to protect your family against these risks.
A 'troll' is described as somebody who deliberately posts negative or offensive comments online against others. A troll will ultimately post something offensive to provoke an individual for a reaction. See the poster for more information.
A Virtual Private Network is a privacy tool used to hide internet activity from prying eyes. With a VPN, a secure tunnel is created between a computer or phone, and the other end of the connection. VPNs have many legitimate uses, but they can also be used to bypass protections, e.g. parental controls. More information is in the PDF on the right.
The link between children's use of social media and their mental health and wellbeing often receives attention in the news - and for good reason. There are many things which parents and carers should be aware of that can contribute towards children experiencing 'social pressures' online. National Online Safety have created a series of guides based on social pressures children can face when engaging with online content, and when interacting with others 'virtually'.
Social media has its benefits for connecting with friends, sharing experiences and widening children's understanding of broader issues beyond their local community. The challenge with connecting and sharing
Friends and followers
The whole concept of social media relies upon users having friends and/or followers. 'Friends' tend to be people who users will share their own personal profile with. It's usually a mutual relationship with both parties able to engage and interact with everything their friends post online. 'Followers' can typically be just one-way relationships and only provide access to certain parts of a user's profile, such as their public posts. A common trait that often exists between the two, however, is the desire to gather as many friends or followers as possible.
Social media influencers are people who have established credibility by having a large number of followers, and can use this perceived power to influence others' decisions. For this reason, many influencers are often paid by big companies to promote their products in the hope of persuading followers to buy those goods.
Likes or reactions
A simple way for users to show their feelings about a post on social media. This could be anything from photos and videos to status updates and comments. The feature is often used by children to measure the success of their social media post and gauge opinion. However, it can also bring a number of social pressures, particularly if users start to question their own levels of popularity.
A behavioural trend where people make exaggerated claims about their emotional problems to generate sympathy and attention. The guide takes a look at how to tackle a range of potential risks such as oversharing, cyberbullying and online grooming.
Here at Codnor Primary, we love computers and computer games. They can be great learning experiences, as well as a lot of fun! This is, of course, as long as children are kept safe online. National Online Safety, a great organisation dedicated to online safety, has published the following guides. We hope you find these helpful.
A communication platform capable of matching users with potential chat partners who could live anywhere from the other side of the world to within the same postcode. Once paired, users are rewarded for interacting with each other frequently by gaining additional features, e.g. private video calling. The guide on the right brings you all the aspects of Amigo to be aware of.
A space-themed game where players take on the guise of Crewmates, who must complete various tasks around their spaceship, while randomly selected Imposters must try their hardest to sabotage the others' efforts. While Among Us is a largely safe game, it's still prudent to be aware of any potential risks young ones might encounter when playing. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as hacking, mild violence and inappropriate language.
A multiplayer video game which is free to play. Twenty squads compete against each other to be the last team standing, all the while killing enemies to emerge victorious. The game has a 16+ rating due to its realistic violence. See the leaflet on the right for more info.
Call of Duty (COD)
An online first-person shooter game with extremely violent themes. In the game, players can customise their character and weapons, and then battle each other online. COD has an 18+ rating, but if you discover that your child is playing this game, see the guide for some useful information.
With over 14 million daily users, Discord is one of the most popular communication tools for gamers. It allows users to create or join what are known as ‘servers’, where different users can talk in groups via
Users upload images of someone's face and add interesting filters - making themselves look older, younger, appear with different hair colour, and so on. The app uses the phone's camera to take a selfie or users can use pictures from somewhere else. While this all sounds like innocent fun, there have been some concerns raised about the terms and conditions, and what the company is doing with all these pictures. See the leaflet on the right.
Fortnite: Battle Royale
A free-to-play section of the game 'Fortnite', with an age restriction of 12+. Players compete with others online to be the last survivor. Players have to find items such as weapons to help them survive longer. There are some tips in the guide to help keep children safe if they're playing.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA)
An action-adventure video game series where players control criminals and wreak havoc in order to complete missions and progress through the game. GTA has an 18+ rating due to its extremely adult themes, but if you discover that your child is playing this game, read the guide for some useful information.
Turning someone's phone into a walkie-talkie for instant communication, HiPal offers the possibility of quick contact with new friends. With features including photo sharing and private conversations, HiPal has attracted concerns around its use as a potential platform for sexting - while there are also worries about the mental health consequences of users receiving negative feedback about their pictures. The guide on the right tells you what you need to know.
A live streaming app described as a face-to-face social network where people 'drop in' on each other to video chat, leave messages and hang out in groups. The recommended age for this app is 13+, but if you discover that your child is using this app, read this guide for some useful information.
A photo sharing app that allows users to share images and videos with the world. The app has a live streaming feature where users can broadcast videos live, worldwide. There are some tips in the leaflet for parents whose children are using Instagram.
A messaging app similar to WhatsApp. It lets users exchange messages, photos, videos and webpages. Kik is unusual in that your child can sign up without a phone number and then find and message other people via just their username. Kik is aimed at anyone aged 13 years and older - the app says teens between 13 and 18 years old will need parental permission, but it does not verify ages. See the PDF on the right for more information.
League of Legends (LOL)
Like or Likee
A free video creation and editing app similar to TikTok. Users can create any type of video, add their own special effects and then upload and share them with the world. The app is largely used to create short music videos which users can star in and edit. Users share their videos on the platform as well as having the option to share across other social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Due to the suggestive content that is available on the app, it has a recommended age of 16+. See the guide on the right for more info.
A streaming video app that lets you watch live streams and broadcast your own live videos to anyone interested. The service is aimed at giving creators a "platform to reach a wide audience and share their talents and passions directly with their fans". Users can buy virtual coins and gifts and send these to broadcasters who create content 'they love', which can be redeemed for real money. See more information in the leaflet.
Played by millions of children around the world. Players have the freedom to build their own landscapes and creations. They also have the opportunity to explore other people's creations with their characters, connecting to online servers which other players can create. If your child is playing Minecraft, there are some tips in the leaflet to help keep them safe.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, known as PUBG for short, is an online multiplayer gaming experience, and one of the most popular games in the world. Click the PDF for more information, and tips for parents whose children are playing this game.
A unique site that blends the idea of a social network with news, discussion forums and various other media. The leaflet contains some helpful tips for parents.
A multi-player online gaming platform which allows children to play and create a variety of 3D games. It also features online payments. There are some tips in the leaflet for parents whose children are playing this game.
An add-on to Snapchat (see below) which provides anonymity for users, who can then post whatever they like. For some individuals, anonymity is an open invitation to post negative and hurtful comments without fear of the consequences. Regrettably, that does suggest one immediately obvious (and serious) risk - that of grooming. The idea of users having their pictures rated, or participating in games of 'truth or dare' with strangers is one which will understandably concern most parents. The guide on the right also flags up possible issues around damage to self-esteem.
A photo-sharing app for mobile phones and tablets. The app allows users to share images and videos, and to chat with friends through voice call or text message. In a study, Snapchat was ranked the 4th most negative app in terms of having an impact on young people's health and wellbeing, with children feeling that they can use Snapchat to "make you look pretty". More info in the guide on the right.
A vast treasure trove of music and sound. Not everything is suitable, however. The sheer mass of content on the platform means that, naturally, not all of it is intended for younger listeners. With an audio chat service available and media reports of predatory activity, the guide highlights other aspects of Spotify which adults ought to be in the loop about.
A free messaging service which is very similar to WhatsApp. Users can message each other as well as send images, videos, audio clips and other files. Users can also create groups and broadcast messages to a worldwide audience. Read the guide on the right for more information.
A social media app developed by Meta, the company behind Instagram and Facebook. Threads is a clear rival of Twitter (now known as X) in that it's a text-based conversation platform with the option to include links, photos and short videos. Threads is connected to a user's Instagram account. For more info, see the PDF on the right.
A global video community where users create, share and discover 'funny and memorable moments' via short video clips - typically about 15 seconds long. The age restriction is 13+, but certain features are 18+ only. See the leaflet for some helpful parents' tips.
A free online mobile dating app regularly used by tens of millions of people worldwide. Tinder is officially for 18+ users only, but until recently the age verification was very easy to bypass. See the guide for more information.
A popular social media platform and 'microblogging' site with over 463 million blogs on its platform. In Europe you must be over 16 to sign up, but the age limit is just 13 elsewhere. As with all social media, there are risks to children. Learn more about Tumblr in the leaflet.
Describing itself as a 'community of millions who come together to create their own unique, live, unpredictable, never-to-be-repeated entertainment', Twitch is a popular platform for online gaming enthusiasts. With young children and teenagers using the platform, it's important for parents to be aware of the associated risks. See more info in the leaflet.
Twitter (now known as X)
A social networking site where users can post 'tweets' or short messages, photos and videos publicly. They can also share tweets written by others to their followers. Twitter is popular with young people, as it allows them to interact with celebrities, stay up to date with news, trends and current social relevance. The guide provides tips for parents whose children use Twitter.
One of the most popular messaging apps in the world. It is used to send and receive text, photos, videos and documents, as well as to make voice and video calls. The age rating is 16+ for good reason, but if you find that your child is using WhatsApp, there are some tips in the leaflet to help keep them safe.
World of Warcraft (WOW)
Peaking at 12 million subscribers worldwide, Warcraft is one of the most popular multiplayer online games in the world. It encourages players to communicate when tackling quests - but this, of course, also leaves the door open for less-friendly interactions. Even if younger players opt to avoid online audio chat, the in-game text system can still leave them vulnerable to receiving abusive messages and spam. See the guide for more information.
An anonymous question and answer app that works in combination with Snapchat. It has become hugely popular amongst children, as it offers them the opportunity to join in anonymous Q&A without having to reveal their identities. This can offer children a real sense of self-worth when they receive positive comments, but can also have serious drawbacks if abused. See the leaflet for more info.
A video sharing website and app that enables users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on a wide variety of videos. Some of our children own YouTube accounts, and many more watch YouTube videos, so we're including this guide to help parents keep their children safe.
This works just like YouTube except with added parental controls and the filtering of videos deemed inappropriate for a younger audience. It has become increasingly popular, however it isn’t always a failsafe. In some cases, parental controls are still advised. See the leaflet on the right.
The links below have been verified by YouTube as official pages (known as 'channels') which contain original content. You can tell if a channel is verified by the check mark next to the name. See the picture below. As always, you must use these at your discretion, and please remember that we are not responsible for the content of external sites.
We're listing these channels to help you avoid your child coming across a 'jump scare'. These are increasingly common and often age-inappropriate. The video's creator inserts a scary clip into another harmless video, and then shares the result publicly, with the intention of startling the viewer. Some are created as a prank and some maliciously. Whatever the author's intent, videos like these can be very disturbing - especially for younger children, who may have chosen to watch the video in all innocence (e.g. when searching for their favourite show, character, hobby, etc.)