Managing children and young people's screen time and online tools while in lockdown

Through Better Internet for Kids (BIK), and the European Network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs), our aim is to empower children and young people to remain safe online, and equally assist those that support them. During the time of the coronavirus pandemic, Safer Internet Centres have published a number of articles and resources on managing children and young people's screen time while in lockdown.

Date 2020-05-11 Author BIK Team Section awareness

* Please note – resource listings are being added to regularly, so please
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  • Safe YouTube (in Bulgarian). You can find almost anything on YouTube, but this is exactly where the problem lies when children use it. The solution is simple: YouTube Kids. This video explains the basics of this YouTube app.
  • COVID-19: Online Safety Advice for Parents (in English). These uncertain times have led to an understandable disruption to family life, with parents and children spending more time than usual at home, and online. While all families have their own unique circumstances, many parents have similar concerns when it comes to their child's use of technology. How can parents strike the right balance between online and offline activities, and help their kids have a positive relationship with technology and the internet?
  • What is…Houseparty? A guide for parents and carers (in English). Houseparty is an app that many young people are using to stay in touch with their peers and play games during lockdown. Many young people see this app as a fun and exciting way to talk to their friends in a time where they can't speak face to face. This article from the UK Safer Internet Centre looks at the features of the Houseparty app and picks out the key things that parents and carers need to know.
  • Explained: What is Zoom? (in English). Zoom is a video conferencing platform that can be used through a computer desktop or mobile app, and allows users to connect online for video conference meetings, webinars and live chat. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has seen a surge in popularity, with millions of people using it to stay in touch with others. Webwise shares some insights about it.
  • What you need to know about Houseparty (in German). The app for group video calling called Houseparty is suddenly back. Find tips and background information on this article from the Austrian Safer Internet Centre.
  • Netflix, Disney+ and Co - use streaming services safely (in German). Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are already part of everyday life for many families, and are being widely used during the current coronavirus pandemic too, with both adults and children using them equally. Klicksafe summarises how parents can safely set up different streaming services for their children.
  • What you need to know about the Houseparty app (in German). The Houseparty app for group video chat is suddenly back in the top 10 most downloaded apps in app stores. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for simple applications for video chat has skyrocketed and Houseparty is currently enjoying great popularity, especially among children and adolescents. But, without the right privacy settings and rules of conduct, using this app can be risky. Find out more in this klicksafe resource.
  • Booklet "Time in front of the screen" (in Greek). An information leaflet from the Greek Safer Internet Centre with tips for managing time on the internet.
  • Parental guide for social media (in Norwegian). Young people spend a lot of time on social media, and many say that they share things which are important for them. There is no doubt: social media plays an important role in children and young people lives, and parents have an important task to follow up and understand what they do. This page offers some information on how the most popular social media platforms among children and adolescents work, and what parents and children should talk about when they use them.
  • Netflix parental controls (in Portuguese). Children and young people being at home for a long time tends to lead to an increase in their use of the internet, including streaming platforms such as Netflix. Netflix has recently updated its parental control options to allow parents to more efficiently manage the content their children can access. Internet Segura shares a Netflix parental control guide.

Remember that European Safer Internet Centres also provide helpline services allowing children and young people, and parents and carers to access personalised advice and support. Equally, each SIC also provides a hotline for reporting any illegal content you mind find online. Don't hesitate to contact them in case of need!

In addition, ISFE (the Interactive Software Federation of Europe), which represents Europe's video game industry, has collated responses from its members to the COVID-19 situation, and has published a handy resource giving five tips for parents to manage screen time and responsible video gameplay.

ISFE has also produced Parental controls on your video game consoles, devices and platforms (in English). Parental control tools can assist players, parents, and caregivers in determining whether or not their child can communicate with other players, limiting the amount of time their child spends playing video games, and setting a maximum PEGI age rating. They can also disable purchases or set spending limits. See the link for instructions on how to do all of this.

Discover more resources published by European Safer Internet Centres in a variety of European languages >>

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