You might have spent time browsing the internet for the best way to teach your kid programming and arrived here with us at FunTech. As you will now know, we run a Scratch course for younger children. It’s designed specifically for children and is a block-based visual programming language and website that aims to teach children how to code.
With daily practice, children can easily come to grips with the basics of coding through Scratch, and across the globe, many schools, libraries, museums, and community centers are already utilizing the platform in their curriculums and programs.
However, despite Scratch’s immense popularity, rumors about the safety of its online community persist. Unlike many similar coding resources aimed at youngsters, Scratch has an extremely popular online community and forum where children can discuss and share their creations with other like-minded individuals.
You might have seen discussions by parents concerned about the potential dangers that strangers on Scratch could pose towards their kids through its community.
Whilst Scratch prides itself on being a safe place for children, you should always conduct your own research before deciding whether it is suitable for your 10-year old child to use online.
In this short guide we will explain the safety precautions and steps the Scratch team utilizes to keep children safe from predators and bullies, as well as offer tips on how you can keep your kids extra safe if they do start using the platform.
How Scratch keeps kids safe
Scratch does a good job of keeping children safe in its online community. Firstly, moderators are employed to keep a watchful eye on the type of content members publish on the platform, removing any project that breaks its community guidelines.
They also actively block members that have been reported by other users. More often than not, it is a rare occurrence for a child to come across a hurtful or sinister comment as they are quickly reported and removed.
Additionally, all members are expected to follow the community guidelines. Firstly, the sharing of personal information is highly forbidden, and members sharing their details will receive an alert from the scratch team that they have broken the rules. After breaking a rule multiple times, these users will either be permanently banned or blocked for a certain period (depending on the severity of the infraction).
When it comes to its other rules, Scratch members are encouraged to treat everyone with respect, to be honest, and to help keep the site friendly (by reporting problematic users and disruptive content.)
Lastly, private messaging does not exist on Scratch. Members can only discuss projects by commenting on projects and the forum, and as a result, it is very difficult for potential predators to groom children on the website – this is the main factor that keeps the website so safe.
Alongside this, members are also not permitted to create chatbot projects that could potentially allow them to talk privately with other members – Scratch being extremely strict about enforcing this rule at all times.
How you can help to keep your child safe
Although Scratch is a predominantly safe platform, it is understandable that some parents will want to monitor their kid’s interactions on the website (at first, anyway).
To do this, you can encourage your child to only use the website while you are supervising them, or if they are at school and in the company of teachers… or of course in a session with the FunTech tutors where we can monitor the kids’ screens.
Failing this, Scratch can also be used offline, via the app, and it is not a requirement for kids to be involved in the online community if they do not want to be. If your child has had problematic interactions online before, you can always set up their account via your email and log in from time to time.
How Scratch can benefit 10 year olds
Scratch offers youngsters who join the website a plethora of potential benefits. First and foremost, it allows them to learn coding at their own pace and features many fun projects to keep them entertained.
Unlike other forms of entertainment, Scratch can benefit kids by teaching them a highly valuable practical skill they can take with them into adulthood. Similarly, by teaching children coding, Scratch can also help kids to develop their problem-solving skills, and encourage them to use their minds to understand pretty complicated subjects.
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