Figures show 4 in 10 grandparents will be left in charge of the kids over the summer – yet any will be in the dark over what kids get up to online. Internet Matters urges grandparents to get involved with the digital lives of their grandkids to keep them safe during the school holidays

New guide has simple-­to-­understand tips on biggest issues in children’s online safety,  including screentime, livestreaming and cyberbullying

More children are expected to turn to their screens during the school holidays, as they keep in touch with friends over Snapchat or Instagram or play the latest online games such as Fortnite and Roblox.

Grandparents stepping in to help over the summer break are being urged to get involved with the digital lives of their grandchildren so they can recognise the potential risks kids face online.

Psychologist and TV presenter Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Ambassador for Internet Matters, said: “Many grandparents now play a pivotal role in bringing up children, with five million in the UK taking on childcare responsibilities for time-­poor parents.

“Yet there is often a gulf of knowledge between the grandchild and the grandparent about what happens on the internet. We regularly hear stories about how grandparents can get overwhelmed by new tech and in which case end up burying their heads in the sand.

“It can be a struggle especially if children see that lack of knowledge as an opportunity to do what they want online while their parents aren’t around. It’s important that the whole family understands how important it is to stay safe online.”

The guide for grandparents is divided up across nine categories: Screen time, online gaming, parental controls, cyberbullying, sexting, live-­streaming, inappropriate content, peer pressure and location settings.

The new guide can be found at: www.internetmatters.

Five quick tips for grandparents:

  1. Know the rules and stick to them: Get to grips with what rules are in place for your grandchild when it comes to their technology. Try and keep consistent messaging while you’re looking after your grandchild so they have the same rules surrounding their technology use and what they can and can’t do online
  2. Gen Up on Your Technology: Get to grips with what devices your grandchildren use
  3. Understand if the tech they’re using is age-­appropriate: Talk to your grandchild about what apps, games and sites they are using and make sure you know that whatever they are doing is age-­appropriate.
  4. Check Parental Controls: Many parents set parental controls through their broadband -­ make sure that parental controls are in place on your broadband where necessary.
  5. Be prepared if something goes wrong: Have an action plan in place if they come across something that upsets them online – offer a listen ear so they are able to come to you with concerns and together work out the best way to support them (whether it’s reassurance, setting controls or reporting the incident).