7-11 year olds

At this age children are likely to become more independent users of technology but will still need support in order to make safe and sensible choices online. 

Popular games and apps with 7-11s often include open chat features and multiple player options. Whilst it’s important to remember that not everyone online is a groomer it is vital to talk openly to your child about appropriate online communication and how to get help if they are ever worried about a message they receive.

What are the signs of inappropriate contact from others online?

Not all inappropriate contact is the same and groomers are unfortunately very skilled at what they do. However, the following signs are things which you may want to talk to a trusted adult about, report or block further contact.

Someone suggesting or pressuring a child to:

  • meet up offline
  • share personal information about themslves or others
  • send images and videos of themselves
  • share sexual messages, images or videos
  • keep contact private or to keep secrets
  • not talk to friends or family
  • always be available and reply straight away to messages.

5 top tips for supporting children aged 7-11:

  1. Be open and take an interest – an important part of supporting your child online is taking an interest in what they like to do and remaining non-judgmental. This will help your child to see you as someone they can come to for help and support with online issues.  
  2. Discuss the difference between online and offline friends – friendship can be a challenging concept online. We can communicate with people that we only know online in the same space as trusted friends and family. This can make it difficult for a child to recognise appropriate boundaries. It’s important to emphasise that however nice a new friend online can seem, or however long you have spoken to them for, they are still a stranger.
  3. Keep online game chat about the game – talking tactics and game play can be an important and enjoyable part of many multiplayer games but it is important to encourage chat with others gamers that sticks to these topics. Talk to your child about ‘red flags’ in chats which are important to report, block and tell an adult about. These would include someone suggesting to meet up offline, asking for personal information or to send photos or videos, chats moving to private messages or anyone asking them to keep secrets.
  4. Find out where the report and block buttons are – as a family find where the block and report buttons are on your child’s favourite games, apps and sites. You can find out more by visiting the UK Safer Internet Centre Safety Guides. You can also report grooming to CEOP.
  5. Set up a family agreement - why not try using our family agreement to create a set of boundaries to help keep your child safe when using technology. You could even ask older children to suggest rules which could help you as a family and discuss how they will help keep you all safe when online.

Conversation starter ideas:

  1. What is the difference between an online friend and an offline friend?
  2. Can we trust someone we only know online? What about if they are always nice to us?
  3. If someone you only know online (a stranger) sends you a message on a game, what could you do?
  4. You could ask the above questions with the message involving the following requests: suggesting to meet up offline, asking for personal information or to send photos or videos, chats moving to private messages or anyone asking them to keep secrets.  
  5. What is ok to talk to other players in a game about?
  6. Do you know where the report and block buttons are in your favourite game or app? 
  7. Who can you come to for help if something worries or upsets you online?