The internet can be a excellent resource for information, learning and for entertainment. As pupils gain more skills and knowledge of technology, they become more adventurous in their use. It is therefore very important that parents and carers know exactly what their children are looking at and accessing on the internet. All children need to be aware of the dangers and how to keep themselves safe online.
Online Behaviour and Safety is at the heart of our learning environment. Each year, we recognise Safer Internet Day and invite Online Behaviour and Safety specialists to talk with our children and parents. The message is delivered throughout the year and then emphasised during Anti-Bullying Week. The Police are also active, delivering assemblies on Stranger Danger with a focus on Online Behaviour. Children create their own class contracts and outline how they will use their iPads and how they will stay safe online. Children are aware that all school online activities are monitored and filtered by our IT support, IT Systems, and should anything cause concern, the children must report it to a member of staff.
Staying Safe Online
Although it is a brilliant tool and resource, the internet poses one of the biggest threats to your children’s safety. As a school we do all we can to ensure that the children understand how they can protect themselves online. www.thinkuknow.co.uk provides parents with the following advice.
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
- Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
Our key messages for Online Behaviour and Safety are outlined in Kidsmart’s Poster below. We embed the message that Nothing is Private once it is posted online. We encourage children to discuss their online activities with their parents or carers and to make sure that someone they trust has access/passwords to their device (inline with Police guidance to support with ‘The Magic Hour’ in the event of a Missing Person Incident)
Helpful Web Pages:
Provides guidance on how to stay safe online for parents and children
Advice from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. Understanding the internet and what the risks are of grooming, mobiles, gaming, social networking and chat.
Advice on search engine trends.
Help and advice to keep your children safe on line.
A site that provides advice about different ways of staying safe and secure on social media.
A site that provides a advice about different ways of staying safe and secure on social media.
This website will provide you with information and signs to look out for.
A booklet for parents on all types of chat from instant messaging and chat rooms to mobile phones.
A website with information on how to protect children’s privacy on smartphones and computers.