Skip to content ↓

Latest News

Letters and Latest News

Page 2

  • How to talk to your child about the conflict in Ukraine

    Published 28/02/22

    Supporting your child if they see upsetting content online about what is happening in Ukraine (Childnet)

    We should not hide from children what is happening in Ukraine (Schools Week/Children's Commissioner)

    How to talk to children about what’s happening in Ukraine and World War Three anxiety (Metro)

    Help for teachers and families to talk to pupils about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how to help them avoid misinformation (Department for Education)

    Information produced previously about war and international violence

    How and when to talk to children about war, according to a parenting expert (Independent)

    How to cope with traumatic news - an illustrated guide (ABC News, Australia)

    Talking with Children About War and Violence in the World (Family Education, US)

    Tips for parents and caregivers on media coverage of traumatic events (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, US)

    Read More
  • QR codes and hyperlinks to promote online safety

    Published 03/02/22

    Please see the below pdf to access QR codes to promote online safety on a range of apps. 

    Read More
  • Y7 Parent / Carer Tour 10th March 2022

    Published 02/02/22

    To allow us to limit the number of people in the building, we have used an online booking system. Tickets can be ordered from Wednesday 2nd February at 9am, by following the link here:  

    Read More
  • Prepare for Safer Internet Day with Parent Zone

    Published 01/02/22

    Welcome back to Parent Zone.

    We’ve almost reached the end of January, and we’re sure it’s been a busy month for you and the families you work with. 

    February brings fresh opportunities for you to help younger generations become happy and resilient internet users, including Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 8 February. 

    To help you prepare activities to do with the children you work with on Safer Internet Day, and to engage their families, we’ve put together a selection of free resources and ideas to incorporate into your plans.

    Discover them below, and let us know how you’ve used them by tagging us on Twitter (@TheParentsZone) or Facebook (@ParentZone1) using the hashtag #SaferInternetDay. 

    We’re looking forward to seeing what will inspire you the most! 

    Discover our free Safer Internet Day resources

    Live virtual Safer Internet Day event for parents

    If you’re looking to engage families around important internet safety issues, invite the parents and carers you work with to our free Safer Internet Day Special Event on Tuesday 8 February, 4.30-5.00 pm, live on YouTube.

    What games are appropriate for children? What are the advantages and disadvantages of gaming? How can parents and carers make the right decisions for their family? Under the headline “All fun and games? Your guide to gaming”, our expert trainer, Sophie Linington, will explore some of the most frequent questions parents have about gaming. 

    You can share our flyer with the families you work with, and write to us at if you have any questions you’d like answered. 

    Share the invitation with parents in your community

    Be Internet Legends: assemblies and teacher workshops now available to book!

    Kick-start your pupils’ online safety learning this term by joining school communities across the UK for an exciting shared learning experience - with the first national assembly of 2022 taking place next week, on Thursday 3 February. Over 1200 schools joined one of our national assemblies in 2021, so book now to ensure your pupils can join in the fun this year!

    Google and Parent Zone’s live, interactive assemblies are designed to engage 7-11 year olds in your online safety teaching and explore the key concepts underlying the Be Internet Legends programme - with parents encouraged to take part from home. With plenty of opportunities to get involved and interact with our presenters, this is an engaging and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

    Dates are now available to book throughout the spring and summer term - we look forward to seeing you soon!

    Book an assembly

    Our free CPD-accredited teacher workshops are designed to guide you through all the resources available from the Be Internet Legends programme, and help you find the best way to use them to bring online safety learning to life for your school community.

    With the launch of the refreshed curriculum just around the corner, join one of our February workshops to be among the first to find out about all the new activities and content we’ve been developing. We’ll explore what the updates will mean for your online safety teaching this year, and how to make the most of all the opportunities the programme offers.

    We also have sessions available to book right through to the Easter holidays, so there are plenty of chances for you to hear from our experts, and ask any questions you may have, to support your roll-out of the new curriculum. 

    Register for a teacher workshop

    Last chance to have your say about Ollee

    Have you used Ollee - the virtual friend designed to help 8-11 year olds explore their feelings - with the children and families you work with? We’d love to hear your feedback to help inform our future plans for development.

    The survey that we’ve been sharing as part of the evaluation of the app will be closing next week. If you have a few spare minutes, we’d appreciate it if you could fill it in. You will also have a chance of winning a £100 Amazon voucher as a thank you for taking part.

    Complete the survey

    Read More
  • Age ratings - what do they really mean?

    Published 24/01/22


    Age ratings are designed to help users find suitable and appropriate online content and platforms. They can also be hard to understand, especially when they are not always consistent. So what are the really important things to know?

    Why age ratings matter

    Age ratings are used across different types of online content and platforms to guide on what is suitable for different ages. Most popular content and platforms – from the films and TV shows you stream, to the games you play and the social media you use – will have an age rating. But things aren't always as simple as you might hope.  

    Online platforms can be rated differently – depending on where you look. Ironically, this can make things harder when having conversations with a child or young person about what may be suitable for them, and at what age. 

    While age ratings flag when a user may be suited to specific platforms or content, they don’t necessarily reflect what may actually be safe or appropriate – including certain risks and harms that are not so obvious.  

    Why can age ratings differ?

    The same games or online platforms often have different ratings on different online spaces or devices. This is because there are different regulatory organisations rating them. It will usually depend on where in the world you are looking. 

    In the UK, Apple’s App Store uses the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) system as guidance to rate games (like Minecraft, 9+) or social media apps (like Instagram, 12+). 

    Likewise, on XBox or Google Play Store, which use the PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) system, Minecraft is rated as suitable for 7+ while Instagram is rated as ‘parental guidance’. In other territories, however, the age ratings can differ again. So far, so confusing.

    Online games

    PEGI is the standardised way of providing games with an age rating in the UK and Europe. Here, it is a legal requirement for a game to have a PEGI rating. But note: the age rating provided by PEGI is a recommendation; children under 18, for example, can’t legally buy an 18+ game, but it is not illegal to play. 

    PEGI has five different ratings; 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+. Read more about these in our PEGI parent guide. Ratings are assigned based on several factors: including depictions of violence, sex, swearing, discrimination, drugs, gambling – as well as in-game purchases. 

    So while the App store, which uses the IARC system, may rate a game as 9+ (‘unsuited to children under 9’), platforms that use the PEGI system may rate the same game 7+ ('unsuitable for younger children’). 

    Ultimately, it should be your decision, based on what you understand of the game’s content and functionalities.

    App stores, social media and online platforms

    You can find age ratings for social media and other online platforms in App and Play Stores – but on the platform’s community guidelines they can often be different. So why do they contradict each other?

    Most social media platforms (e.g. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram) state their age rating as 13+. This is because US data laws dictate that below this age, children must have a parent’s or guardian’s permission to sign up. It has less to do with content. 

    On the Google Play store, most social media apps are rated ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’ by PEGI. This symbol comes up as an exclamation mark. This rating recommends that parents carefully consider whether these apps are suitable for children under 18. 

    In the Apple store, most social media apps are rated 12+ – but this doesn’t always apply. Twitter, Discord and Twitch are all rated 17+, despite having a 13+ age rating in their own community guidelines. Twitter, for example, is rated 17+ because, as the App store descriptor says, it may include 'profanity, crude humour, mild sexual content', and more. Note that on the Google Play store, Twitter is rated just as ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’. 

    Whether you feel that Snapchat is more or less suitable for your child than Twitter is something that, ultimately, you should decide for yourself.


    The Children's Code came into effect in September 2021 – requiring all online platforms that could be accessed by UK under-18s to legally follow several key data principles preventing them from negatively impacting children’s privacy. 

    This includes accounts for under-16s that must now be set to ‘private’ by default, have geo-location disabled, and all privacy-related information presented in a way that children can understand. You can find out more here, including how to make a data complaint about an online platform.

    Look beyond the age rating

    Age ratings do act as a useful guide – especially when it comes to explaining boundaries or supporting conversations with a child about what may or may not be suitable. 

    But parents should always try to find out more about an online platform – including its content, functionalities or other social aspects – to make a more informed decision. There are several aspects to consider…

    Pressure to spend

    PEGI has two major failings given the current climate of gaming. First, its coverage of in-game purchases doesn’t take into account some issues that microtransactions in games can cause. 

    These include loot boxes – virtual chests players pay real money to open, rewarding them with in-game items. With a loot box, you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get. This can lead to children continually spending in the hope of eventually getting what they want. Research has shown that loot boxes can promote gambling-like behaviour

    It also fails to take into account the pressure to spend online that children and young people can feel from their peers or from watching professional streamers – especially in online games. 


    Age ratings don’t always reflect the evolving nature of online platforms – and the effects of functionalities on children and young people. 

    For example, Roblox is a gaming platform aimed at – although not exclusively for – younger users. But despite being rated 7+ by PEGI (‘possibly frightening for younger children’) the user-generated games within can have many similar functionalities to social media. 

    This includes chat forums, in-game chat, friending and trading with other users – as well as in-game purchases and loot boxes. 

    These can create social situations that are risky or harmful for younger and even older children – especially so, if parents are not aware of these functionalities. Note: the Play Store rates Roblox as 10+ and the App Store as 12+.

    Media literacy

    When considering online social media and games and age ratings, it helps to think about content and functionality – in relation to a child’s media literacy. 

    Children and young people will be differently equipped to cope with environments affected by seemingly simple functionalities – for example the ‘like button’. 

    Children need the social-emotional and media literacy skills to understand more mature/complex content – as well as potentially disinformation, influencer marketing and ‘perfect-life’ depictions. These can influence their world views, pressurise them into spending, contribute to mental health issues – or many other risks. 

    It’s not easy to understand the complexities of different online social spaces – either for children or adults. The best place to start is to look beyond the age ratings, and try to understand the platforms a child wants or uses. This could be either by exploring it, talking to other parents, or talking to the child about how they use it. 

    Age ratings – the Parent Zone view 

    When it comes to differing age ratings, every child is different. An app or game that could be suitable for one young person may not be suitable for another. Children develop at different rates, which is important when thinking if a platform or game will be appropriate. 

    It is, however, equally important that children have the opportunity to explore, learn about online spaces and relationships, and – on occasion – have negative experiences or make mistakes. This is all about fostering their digital resilience – and learning the skills to manage their online spaces and experiences. 

    If you are considering these questions – whatever app, game or platform your child wants to use – the most important thing is to make sure that you understand why, offer guidance and support. Listen without judgement if they ever experience anything that makes them feel uncomfortable – and help them find solutions if there is a problem. 

    In the end, age ratings can help but, usually, your parental instincts are the best guide of all.

    Read all of Parent Zone's Parent Guides here  

    Read More
  • How to claim October food vouchers

    Published 15/10/21

    Please see below for instructions on how to claim food vouchers. 

    Read More
  • Summer Concert

    Published 15/07/21

    Summer Virtual Concert Tonight!

    Read More
  • Assessment and Grading 2021

    Published 25/03/21
    Please click on this link so see our Assessment and Grading presentation video: 
    Read More