7 - 11 year olds

Children aged 7-11 are increasingly independent users of technology and the internet, with many of them owning their own devices. Their photo and video use will consist of many of the same behaviours as younger children (taking photos with friends, using photo editing apps, video-calling distant friends and family) but they may be increasingly accessing device cameras away from adult supervision.

7-11s may also be starting to explore the use of social media through services like Tik Tok, Snapchat and Instagram, and other entertainment services such as YouTube and gaming platforms. The opportunities to use device cameras without adult supervision, and increased online communication with friends could mean they are at an increased risk of taking and sending explicit images of themselves, either out of curiosity or peer pressure from others. There is also a risk that they exert pressure on their peers in order to receive nude or explicit images from others, either from being inquisitive about other people’s bodies, or from feeling a pressure to act in what they perceive to a be a sexual or ‘grown up’ way. 

5 top tips for supporting children aged 7-11 online

  1. Discuss what sorts of images are okay or not okay to share online: It’s important for children to learn what sorts of photos or video are okay and not okay to take of yourself, of others and to share online. You could include the NSPCC PANTS rule in any conversation about taking and sharing photos – any part of the body that is covered by underwear belongs to you and no-one else. Talk about how, when and where they use the camera on any devices they have access to. You may wish to include livestreaming in these discussions, as this is an emerging trend amongst young people, in which they are able to watch or broadcast live video online. See our Livestreaming Hot Topic for more information.
  2. Discuss puberty and growing up: As children reach puberty, their bodies will begin to change and they may have questions. Taking images is one way young people may explore the way their body is growing and developing. They may wish to seek out images of other people’s bodies in order to compare, or out of curiosity. Visit Family Lives for more information on how to have conversations around puberty
  3. Discuss consent and peer pressure: Resisting pressure from others to engage in activities they are uncomfortable with can be a challenge for children, but one that can be overcome with the knowledge that they have the support of parents/carers. Talk to your child about online etiquette, and the different types of things that permission is needed for. To share any content belonging to another person without asking them first can damage relationships and hurt people's feelings. This is especially true of nude or nearly nude images. If young people are ever unsure whether they have someone's consent or not, the crucial thing to remember is to ask.
  4. Be supportive: It's important that children know who they can turn to for help and that they feel listened to and supported if anything ever does worry or upset them online. Make sure children know who all the trusted adults are that they can ask for help, whether it's at home or at school. Use our Family Agreement to help these discussions. Children can be put off from telling an adult something they are worried about if they think they will get in trouble. This can be particularly true for nude images. Remind your child that they can talk to you about anything, and that together you can help them to feel better.
  5. Activate parental controls: Minimise the risk of your child seeing explicit or sexual images online, which may spark further curiosity, by activating parental controls. You can filter the type of content they are able to view on devices themselves, or on your home internet connection. Visit Internet Matters for more detailed information per service, app and device. Remember that parental controls should form part of a wider approach to keep children safe online and not be a used as a replacement for discussion and involvement. Parental controls can go some way to filtering the content a child can see online, but not the type of photo they are able to take or send themselves.


Conversation starter ideas

A simple and effective way to get involved in your child’s online life is through discussion - an open dialogue is the best way to help your child access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online. Here are some conversation starters to help you:

  1. What is your favourite thing to look at or do online?
  2. Who do you like taking photos/videos with?
  3. Do you like taking selfies? What do you do with the selfies you take?
  4. Do you ever send photos to your friends? What sorts of things do you like to share with each other?
  5. If someone you don’t know asked for a photo or video of you, what would you do?
  6. Who can you go to if you are worried about something online?

There is more advice on having a conversation about thr private parts of our bodies with the NSPCC 'Pants' rule

Online Safety resources for 7-11s:

Why not help your child to learn more about staying safe online using our interactive Primary Pages. You could work through the top tips, videos and quizzes together. One of the pages focuses on safe sharing online which can be particularly useful with children aged 7-11.