Older teenagers may find it particularly difficult to stay at home at the moment, and rely on the internet even more for their friendships and entertainment. Use our activities below to help them manage their online lives whilst staying at home.
We’ve selected a couple of activities from across our resources to help older teens manage their time online, support each other and stay safe too.
1. Take the lead in the Family Agreement
Ask your teen to lead a family discussion on how you all agree to use the internet during this time. Our Family Agreement is an easy-to-use guide to having these conversations. By giving your teen a key role, they will feel more empowered and invested in following the boundaries you agree together.
Download the Family Agreement here
2. Online identity check-up
Suggest your teenager uses this time as an opportunity to reflect on what their online identity currently looks like. They could start by searching their name online to see what results come up, or by looking through their online gaming and social media accounts. Encourage them to deactivate old accounts which they no longer use, remove contacts who they no longer wish to keep, and even delete old posts which may no longer be relevant, appropriate or represent who they are!
Find out more on how to control settings and keep information safe here
3. Be a role model
If you have more than one child at home, why not ask your eldest to reach out to their younger siblings to help check their account settings and chat with them about staying safe online? Helping others is a great boost for your emotional well-being, and they no doubt have some online wisdom to share. Be sure to let all your children know they can come to you if a problem comes up that they’re worried about.
Download advice about talking to your child about their online life here
4. Family debate club
Why not ask your teen to stage a debate with your family about different opinions about the online world. It’s a great way to hear about the differing experiences and perspectives of all members of your family. Use one of the following prompts to get you started:
• “It’s impossible to be entirely real online.” – Agree or disagree?
• “The internet is a force for good – it allows difference to be celebrated.” – Agree or disagree?
• “It’s right and fair for employers to judge prospective employees on what they share online.” – Agree or disagree?
5. Help your community
Now more than ever, young people are turning to the internet to stay in touch. It’s important they do – talking about their shared experiences with friends can be a great stress-buster. Is there something they can organise with their friends to make a positive difference to the current situation in their local offline or online communities? For example, could they help raise awareness of their local food bank, or set up a weekly virtual ‘tea break’ with their friends?
6. Fake news trap
There are a lot of crazy stories and misinformation being shared online about coronavirus. Set your teen the challenge to find the most outrageous, unbelievable story they can, and to share what they find with you. Discuss what they could do to help stop the spread of fake news.
Teens can find more information on how to spot false information and what to do about it here.
7. Enter our Film Competition
Do you have some budding film-makers at home? We have adapted our competition so that young people can enter individually or as a group. This means that for the first time, young people can create this content for themselves at home and enter their chosen category. We have even introduced a new category, 'creating a storyboard,' which doesn't require any film making equipment.
As with all of our competitions over the years, we will always judge the content on the strength of the message and creativity in delivering it. We understand that young people may not have access to specialist equipment but don't let that stop you. Encourage your teen to get creative with the technology they have, including phones and tablets, or enter our storyboard category and show us their creative ideas that way.
Find out more about Film Comp 2020 here