The internet is an exciting and fun place for adults and children to explore and use, both educationally and socially. Technology is becoming so advanced that you can now access the internet in lots of different ways however, while you enjoy the nice side of the internet, it’s very important to be aware of the risks involved with such a public and open world. The challenge for parents, carers and teachers is to make sure our children are aware and understand how to be safe when using the internet and related technologies.
E-Safety is concerned with safeguarding young people (and indeed adults!) in the digital world. Just as you would protect your child in the real world, you also need to keep them safe in the virtual world. It is about learning to understand and use new technologies in a positive way, it is not about restricting children, but instead educating them about the risks as well as the benefits so they can feel confident and happy online. It is also about being educated ourselves to be able to support and help young people.
Children at St. Stephen’s C. E. Primary School use the Internet on a regular basis as part of their learning. In school, we have regular ‘e-safety’ activities to remind children of the importance of keeping themselves safe online and all children are asked to sign an acceptable use policy which governs their safe use of the internet. We also provide information to parents via e-safety meetings, correspondence and our website.
At home, children may be given unsupervised access to the Internet. This potentially, allows them to access all kinds of content (both good and bad). By using the following simple guidelines you can help to ensure your child stays safe online:
- Talk together and have fun learning together. Regularly discuss online safety and go online with your children. Involve everyone and agree your family guidelines and rules. Remember that sometimes what is acceptable for a Year 10 child is not necessarily acceptable for a Year 4 child.
- Keep the computer in a communal area of the house, where it’s easier to monitor what your children are viewing. Do not let children have webcams, or similar, in their bedroom. Remember any image, sound or text can be copied, viewed and even altered by anyone.
- Be aware that many social networking sites, such as Facebook, have an age restriction of 13 years therefore younger children should not be using them.
- Keep your computer’s virus and firewall software up to-date. Remember that passwords should be kept private and not shared with others. Many e-Safety incidents relate back to the sharing of passwords
- Enable your ‘browser safe’ search option and/ or consider using internet filtering software and child-friendly search engines. Critically view all content as some websites are not what they appear.
- Encourage your children, and in fact all family members, to tell you if they feel uncomfortable, upset or threatened by anything they see online. Communication is the key to ‘staying safe’ online.
Online Safety Information
The following websites provide useful information for parents and children:
- Think U Know – http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- BBC Stay Safe – http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/curations/stay-safe
- Kidsmart – http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/
- Childnet International – http://www.childnet-int.org/
- Digizen – http://www.digizen.org/
- Think U Know Parents – http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
- Google Family Centre – http://www.google.com/familysafety/
- Parent Info – http://parentinfo.org/
Social media is hugely popular. Every day millions of people actively use Facebook and millions of Instagram photos are shared. For the majority of people social media is a positive experience, a way to share photos and news stories and communicate with family and friends all over the world. If you are a parent there’s a good chance your child will want to use social media. If you have very young children, you can probably prevent them, but if they have access to laptops, games consoles, tablets and smartphones, it becomes increasingly difficult.
It’s really important to talk to your children about social media, try to understand why they use it, and inform them of potential dangers. This allows you to understand what they are doing and encourages them to think about the implications of their online actions and how they behave.
It is important to remember that the minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Skype YouTube and Snapchat is 13. Whilst many parents choose to allow younger children to use these services we would not recommend this.
Further information is available at the NSPCC site Net Aware – http://www.net-aware.org.uk/
National Online Safety Guides for Parents
- Tik Tok
- You Tube
- Age Ratings
- Age inappropriate content
- Parental controls – Android
- Parental controls – Iphone
- Online Safety tips for under 5’s
- Online Grooming
- Squid Game
Many children will at times suffer from online bullying. It is really important that they have someone they can talk to and know that it is not acceptable. Most apps and sites will have systems inn place that allow bullying to be reported. Your child’s school may be able to help.
Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 for advice on anything that is worrying them.
Finally since 2015 is has been a criminal offence for an adult to send a message with sexual content to a child (This is Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015). If you are concerned that this might have happened please contact The Police without further using the device. This will help ensure that evidence can be preserved. The Police can be contacted by phone or from the ThinkUKnow website.
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