It is our aim that pupils are both confident and safe when they are online.
In the modern world, the role of the Internet and online technology is ever-increasing, and we want our pupils to be confident and safe when they are online. We use computing lessons, assemblies, PSHE and 1:1 conversations with our pupils to ensure they know how to keep themselves safe.
Advice and Guidance for Parents/Carers about online safety
Children and young people spend an average of 12 hours a week online, and it becomes part of their routine early on in life. More and more we are seeing that children’s misuse of the internet can be to the detriment of their safety, welfare and happiness.
To have a social networking account a person should be 14 or over. Research done by the NSPCC highlights that the damage done to the wellbeing of children aged under 12 years, by social media, is far more acute as they do not have the emotional maturity to cope with the issues that arise. All internet sites that children are using should have a CEOP – report abuse button. If it doesn’t, it isn’t safe. In particular, the use of internet sites/apps that are used to make others feel unhappy or can lead to children viewing images that are inappropriate should be avoided.
Some sites/apps are chat rooms and social networking sites, others are for the display of pictures and messages. All are open to public forum and therefore have an element of danger, especially chat room and social networking sites where children can talk to people from anywhere in the world who may not be who they say they are. Many of the sites/apps have location settings, which if not disabled, can allow another person to see exactly where you are. This coupled with the personal information which many children share online can be very dangerous.
All can be used in negative way to upset others. Examples include, posting images of events other children were excluded from or posting comments about people with pictures on Snapchat, which only lasts a short time on Snapchat but can be screenshot and used elsewhere. The easiest way to avoid this is to not look at these sites and to stop your child accessing them.
Video games can also be a source of danger as many contain images and action that is violent and unsuitable, even popular games like Minecraft and Call of Duty should be monitored carefully. Games played online enable children to interact with strangers and view ‘messages’ left behind. Please check the PEGI rating of any game your son/daughter is playing.
One of the biggest dangers of social media in recent years is the ease with which individuals can be accessed online. This has led to online grooming and sexual exploitation. Despite being fully aware of online safety guidelines, most children with social media have hundreds of ‘friends’ or followers that they do not know in person. They will often become involved in 1:1 conversations and ‘relationships’ with these people. This can lead to requests that are inappropriate and dangerous. For example they may ask for sexual photographs/videos, often using emotional blackmail to acquire them. Peer pressure to be popular with others can often persuade girls/boys who would otherwise know better, to send inappropriate images.
We would urge you to be extremely vigilant about what Internet sites your child is using and ensure your parental controls are set to the appropriate setting. However, there is a wide variety of software and advice available to parents at www.internetmatters.org or www.parentinfo.org. You can restrict the Wi-Fi on certain devices in the home and Wi-Fi at certain times. Go to www.bt.com/staysafe, www.sky.com/security, search ‘Virgin Media Parental Controls’, www.talktalk.co.uk/security. Young people will inevitably find ways to get around parental controls so even when you have these set up please continue to be vigilant. In general, we would advise that you limit the time your child has on technology and, in particular social media. You will find that her happiness and interaction with family life is much improved as a result. Encourage use of the internet in communal family areas and be concerned if your child is spending a lot of time on their own in their room on social media. Supervise internet use for homework as this can be a key time for distraction onto other sites.
It's important to start talking to your child about keeping safe online at an early age. It's easier to have conversations about online safety little and often, rather than trying to cover everything at once. Treat your child’s online activity just like any other activity. Ask them to show you their favourite things to do online, show an interest in what they do - just as you would offline. Children don't think of people they've met online through social networking and online games as strangers, they're just online friends. Ask them about any online friends, who are they? Check they know how to use privacy settings and reporting tools on any online accounts like instagram or games, and remind them to keep their personal information private. Talk to your child about what to do if they see content or are contacted by someone that worries or upsets them.
We know that one of the hardest things about internet use is restricting it. We would strongly advise that you set rules and agree boundaries. These will depend on your child's age and what you feel is right for them, but you might want to consider:
• The amount of time they can spend online and when
• The websites they can visit and activities they can take part in
• Rules for sharing images and videos
• How to relate to people online - not to post anything they wouldn't say face-to-face
• Information that they are allowed to share
Don’t be afraid to shut it down, turn it off and insist they have a conversation with you!
National Online Safety have launched a new free national Online Safety App. Watch the video to find out more:
The following sites might be useful in providing information and advice to keep your children safe online.
CEOP - Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre
Advice and support if you or your child are worried or upset about something that has happened on the internet.
Think U Know
Activities for all ages to develop a greater awareness of online safety.
A non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
Information for parents about a range of topics related to online activities and digital content.
UK Safer Internet Centre
E-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.