The Internet is now an integral part of children’s lives, enabling them to undertake research for school projects, talk to their friends and access information from around the world. Increasing provision of the Internet in and out of schools brings with it the need to ensure that children are safe.
Internet development is constantly evolving into ever more innovative areas with many websites enabling amazing creativity and interaction between peers. Unfortunately though, there are times when Internet use can have a negative effect on children. Schools and parents need to be aware of the potential dangers and take measures to ensure safe usage by all.
At school we take several steps to ensure that children are kept safe while using the internet and electronic communication.
We use targeted filtering to prevent access to websites that are not suitable or may be dangerous.
Internet access in supervised and we monitor the websites that are accessed.
We use a controlled email system where we monitor the children’s emails and we limit the addresses that children can communicate with. These steps are taken protect the children from unsuitable emails and identify possible cyber bullying.
Children are also taught how to use the technology safely so that they can keep themselves safe.
We send home a copy of a magazine published by Vodafone called Digital Parenting to each child. You can read the online version by clicking here. Or you can read more about digital parenting on their website which is below.
Parents can have a difficult job keeping up with their children on the fast changing technology available to them, let alone knowing the dangers they face. The issues of safety, privacy, online predators or grooming and cyberbullying are sometimes complex, both technically and psychologically and parents can struggle to keep up.
To help parents we have put together a selection of links to websites that will help them to ensure that their children can reap the benefits of the Internet while staying safe.
General E-safety Websites
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/
All of the big internet providers can enable internet filtering help you protect your children from unsuitable websites. The link below from Safer Internet provides information about filtering your home internet connection. But you should remember that your child may have access to the internet on their mobile device by using internet provider my the mobile provider or by connecting to other wireless services.
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.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have a minimum age policy of 13 and WhatsApp’s is 16. However it’s fairly easy to circumnavigate this by entering false information.
As a parent, the best thing you can do is be aware of the risks of using social media and communicate these to your child. So, if a problem occurs, you are both ready.
If you’ve got a young child, make sure safety features are activated. If your child is slightly older, talk through the following safety features together, so your child understands what each one does:
- Private account: The majority of social networks allow you to set your profile to private. This means only people whose friend request they approve will be allowed to see your child’s account.
- Location: Discourage your child from posting their location. Many apps have a geolocation feature, so make sure this is turned off.
- Tagging: If your child is tagged in a post by someone else, it may appear in their Facebook timeline without their approval, so encourage them to set up tagging approval. How to control tagging on Facebook.
- Privacy settings: On Facebook various privacy settings allow you to determine who can see each post. Make sure the default is set to Friends, not Public. How to control who can see Facebook posts.
- Friend requests: Discourage your child from accepting friend requests from strangers. Anyone can add you as a friend by default on Facebook, so change this to Friends of Friends. How to control friend requests on Facebook.
- Blocking users: It might not seem like a nice thing to do, but show your child how to block users and report abuse.
- Filters: All ISPs have filters to help young children browse the web safely, so make sure you activate it. If you are a BT customer you can access BT Parental Controls, which has three filter levels. Once activated it covers all devices using your network, including laptops, consoles, smartphones and tablets.
- You may want to add a social network to your blocked list, setting specific times each day a website can be accessed. This way you can monitor use. However, the block doesn’t apply to apps, so they’ll still be able to use them on a smartphone or tablet.
Finally… talk to your child
You might not want your children to use social media, but banning it is not the most effective option. They may find other ways to use it secretly, and if there is a problem may be too afraid to approach you.
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.
We would like remind parents that the minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Skype and Snapchat is 13. Whilst many parents choose to allow younger children to use these services we cannot recommend this.
Further information is available at the NSPCC site Net Aware
Many children spend a lot of time watching vloggers (Video Log) such as Zoella. (Zoella can have over 3 million hits on her uploads!)
Some children chose to emulate these Vloggers, and in doing so without careful thought can leave themselves open to bullying or online grooming by revealing personal details and making videos and comments available to anyone.
This is not illegal but the minimum age to create a Youtube account is 13. Having an account for a younger child breaks the terms and conditions of the site. It is not possible to upload videos without creating an account.
The following links provide additional information for parents and teachers:-
There are several ways to keep your children safe on your home computer or laptop.
Windows offers parental control systems that allow you to block or control what your children can see. The links below will help you set these up.
Apple computers provide controls for parents which you can read about below.
Games offer a wide range of experiences to suit all tastes and abilities. Some of these focus on entertainment, but others also include educational, cultural, social and skills benefits.
By finding the right games for your family, you can discover experiences that take you to new worlds, encourage fresh creativity and get the whole family playing together. From educational benefits, to collaboration and teamwork skills there are a wide range of benefits that video games offer families.
The links below provide more information about selecting suitable games for your children and protecting them against unsuitable games
All of the modern games consoles and other gaming devices can now access the internet but also provide some controls so that parents can have some control over what can be accessed.The links below will provide information on how to use these controls.
Safer Internet Gaming Devices - http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-to-technology/gaming-devices
In Game Chat
While playing games online is often great fun, it's important you understand why your children will chat online, what risks there are and what measures you can take to protect them while they’re playing their favourite games.
If you’re the parent or carer of a school-age child, you’ve probably heard of Roblox. Launched in 2006, it’s now one of the world’s most popular video games, with more than 100 million monthly users, mostly between the ages of nine and 15.
But while it offers a dizzying amount of interactive entertainment for its target audience, it has found itself in the news more than once due to fears over its safety.
Here’s what parents and carers need to know about it – and how to ensure your child has an enjoyable and safe experience when playing it.
Smartphones and Mobiles
There a many mobile devices available now that can access the internet. The websites below provide some helpful information about the potential dangers of mobile devices.
Safer Internet Smartphones - http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-to-technology/smartphones
If your child's device is accessing the internet on a mobile phone network then the networks are required to provide a content filter to protect young users. However this is normally switched off to start with so you will need to contact them to enable it. The links below will take you to the mobile network provider's websites.
Tesco Mobile - http://www.tesco.com/mobilenetwork
O2 - http://www.o2.co.uk
Orange - http://www.orange.co.uk
T-Mobile - http://www.t-mobile.co.uk
Vodafone - http://help.vodafone.co.uk
Virgin - http://www.virginmobile.com
Tablet Devices And Internet Enabled Devices
Android Parental Controls - https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1075738?hl=en-GB
Apple Devices: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201304
Online life and offline life is just life
For many of us, we see our online lives and offline lives as different, but children are growing up with technology and the internet and for them there isn't a difference; online life and offline life is just life.
Technology can move at an extraordinarily fast pace and it can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they're doing online, who they might be speaking to or discussing the potential risks and issues.
Starting the conversation
Talking regularly with your child is the greatest tool to help keep them safe online. Talking regularly and making it part of daily conversation, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed. It also means when they do have any worries, they're more likely to come and speak to you.
But it can also be easy to become overwhelmed with the different technology, the language that children use, the huge number of games and apps which are available and the potential risks.
Please see more online safety top tips at NSPCC:
Give your child a safe space to explore their curiosity online.
Internet Matters has step by step parental controls guides will help you to set up the right controls and privacy settings on the networks, gadgets, apps, and sites they use to give them a safer online experience.
Visit the link below to find out more.
Hello and welcome to Crook Primary's online safety update page.
Here, we will be sharing information, suggested resources and the latest updates to help you to support your children to have a healthy and happy time when using digital devices.
The first piece of information we would like to share with you is to give you choices to guide your child's YouTube journey, because we believe that children can discover new interests, learn from diverse perspectives, and foster a sense of belonging when they explore the world of online video. And with videos from creators around the world, you can choose the best YouTube experience for your family.
Visit the link below to find out more.