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Secondary school (11-15 years old)

Secondary school (11-15 years old)

Children at this age are usually quite tech-savvy. So it’s important to be aware of the different activities they are engaged in, especially online.

While it might not be practical to supervise their use of the family computer at all times, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure their safety across three of the most popular activities – Entertainment & Search, Gaming and Chatting.

Entertainment & Search

To ensure your children aren’t exposed to any unsuitable content, here are some handy tips and advice:

  • There are a range of tools you can use to limit access to certain types of content and website. For specific instructions on how to set these up, see My devices.

  • While you can’t always see what your children are looking at, there are tools that provide a report of their online activities. For details of how to use these, see My devices.

  • Set clear rules for internet use – which devices they can use, when they are allowed to use them, and for how long.

  • If they use a desktop PC, place it somewhere easy to monitor such as the living room or kitchen.


The modern generation of games consoles let people around the world play together via an internet connection. With this in mind, here are some guidelines to ensure your children play safe:

  • Most games consoles come with safety settings that allow you to disable certain functions or content. To find out more about the settings available on your Xbox 360, see Games Consoles.

  • Make sure the games your children play are age appropriate by using the PEGI ratings system. PEGI labels appear on all video games sold in the UK and rate video games at various age levels (3, 7, 12, 16 and 18) depending on content.

  • Gaming can be compulsive for some. Be aware of how much time your children spend playing games and set appropriate boundaries. As a guideline, five minute breaks should be taken every 45 minutes to an hour.

  • It’s harder to control the content your children are exposed to if they play illegally pirated games. So make sure your children only use products purchased from reputable and legal shops.


Children at this age are usually very sociable and love chatting with friends online, using instant messenger programmes such as Microsoft Live Messenger, social networking sites such as Facebook and internet forums.

Most will have a great time. But it is still very important they take care over the information they share about themselves and their family. Here are some tips for ensuring your children are chatting safely:

  • Make sure they understand what personal information they should not give over the internet – such as their real name, address, phone number, or passwords.

  • If a site encourages kids to submit their names to personalise the web content, help them create online nicknames that give away no personal information.

  • Familiarise yourself with the chat programmes and social networking sites your child uses – even consider getting them to show you how they work. Find out more about their safety functions and how they can be used. For instance, sites like Facebook only allow users to create a profile if they are over 13 years old.

  • Keep an open and positive dialogue about who they're talking to online, and encourage them to think before talking to people they don't know.

  • Ask your child if they know how to block someone who they don't want to talk to anymore. If they don't, help them learn how to use the blocking feature.

  • Encourage your children to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they’re not in trouble for bringing something to your attention. Praise their behaviour and encourage them to come to you again if the same thing happens.

  • Consider using filtering options, monitoring and setting time limits for access to chat. For more information on how you do this in Windows 8, see Windows Family Safety.

  • Consider using a customised internet browser on your PC which provides children with immediate access to Think U Know, where they can report any concerns they have. Download the free customised version of Internet Explorer.