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Over recent years there has been an explosion in popularity of certain apps and games. TikTok has soared in popularity, with many celebrities getting involved with dances and challenges. Make sure you know the risks involved and how to change privacy settings to private.


Internet Matters Apps Guide has lots of information on how to make children's social media secure and a detailed description of the most popular apps and games. 


Particular apps to highlight at the moment are:


Omegle - This ‘virtual chat room’ offers random users unmoderated or moderated chats with one another from anywhere in the world. There is a real risk for children accessing this site and parents have little, if any, concept of it. Find out more about Omegle from Internet Matters.


Snapchat's new AI chatbot - My AI is an AI chatbot integrated into Snapchat’s messaging section. It responds to users queries and while it can provide helpful information and support, there are potential implications for young people’s mental health.


Online Gaming


Online gaming can teach young people skills such as teamwork and problem-solving, but of course there can be a darker side the gaming and it opens up more opportunities for young people to be in contact with someone they don’t know. As online gaming becomes more popular, so do reports of them being used to groom and exploit young people. For example did you know a child receiving game currency and other gifts within a game could be a sign of grooming? Find out more about these new signs of exploitation.


Servers and chat forums - Did You Know...the security settings of chat forums outside of the game are often not as good as those built into the game? Discord is a chat forum used by a lot of gamers and it’s important to be aware that strangers can contact your child especially on public or large servers and send inappropriate, mean or sexual content. Find out more about Discord and how to keep your child safe. 


This video by James Pearson, Violence and Vulnerability Unit is all about gaming. He discusses why parents need to be aware that their child’s chat can filter out of the game and onto other platforms and what they need to be discussing with their children to keep their online gaming an enjoyable experience. 


Online gaming chat - Violence and Vulnerability Unit



Perpetrators are increasingly targeting children and young people via online gaming sites, pretending to be someone who they are not. This can often lead to bullying, grooming and sexual exploitation. The Breck Foundation is a self-funding charity, raising awareness of playing safe whilst using the internet. 


CEOP’s Thinkuknow has launched Band Runner, an interactive game for 8-10 year olds to help build their knowledge, confidence and skills to stay safe from risks they might encounter online. The game is hosted on the area for 8-10 year-olds on the Thinkuknow website. Internet Matters - Online Gaming (The Basics)


Videos and livestreams


Livestreaming is becoming a very popular way for young people to broadcast themselves on many different apps, to communicate with their friends or wider community, just as their favourite celebrities and Vloggers do. But remember:



Houseparty exploded in popularity during lockdown, but did you know is isn’t automatically set to private? That means anyone could video call a child without them having to accept. Make sure to change their privacy settings to private.


Find out more about livestreaming and staying safe.


Social Media and Online Safety


Social Media - Social Media allows people to communicate and engage with others online. There are many benefits but young people should be made aware of dangers and the impact that negative use of social media can have on a person's mental wellbeing. The Internet Matters App guide also has lots of useful information on social media.


Social Media Influencers - The Training Effect have recently recorded both a webinar and a podcast discussing social media influencers and how young males can be so easily influenced by misogyny.