E-Safety: Keeping your child safe online
The internet is a wonderful and life enhancing invention and many of us use it in our daily lives. Phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and even DVD players are capable of accessing the internet. You will be aware the internet hosts many exciting opportunities for education. The online world is a wonderful place for young people to explore, with unprecedented opportunities for learning and creativity, but just like the real world there are risks and dangers they should be aware of and which we should all act to protect them from. As a school we encourage the use of technology as an important part of our students’ development but always want them to spend their time online safely. As a parent/carer you can play a significant part in ensuring this.
At school, pupils engage with a rigorous e-safety curriculum. The school network is extremely secure and protected by numerous filters, including our Network Manager. This means that pupils are unlikely to encounter an e-safety issue whilst at school. However, out of school, in a more open environment, pupils are more likely to encounter an e-safety issue. This can be a daunting concept for many parents; often there is a feeling that pupils know more than parents!
If you feel like this, then please do not despair! There is a lot of support available to parents to help them to keep their children safe whilst using technology at home. School will support parents wherever possible. The E-Safety Coordinator and one of the school's Child Protection Designates, is always willing to offer advice and support to parents. You can contact him/her on the school number above. If you believe that your child is a victim of cyber bullying, please contact the E-Safety Coordinator to discuss the issue further. The school takes all type of bullying seriously and will do its upmost to bring those responsible to account. Remember, if your child has been send an offensive or bullying message, DO NOT DELETE IT, as this is valuable evidence.
Just a few simple steps by you can help keep them safe and give young people the awareness to know what to do if they feel uncomfortable about anything they encounter while on the internet.
If you do not wish for your child to be able to access any inappropriate content online, please ensure that their computers, laptops and other devices with internet access are all fitted with parental controls.
You can find free downloadable versions online or you can contact your internet service provider (such as BT, Talk Talk, Sky) for more information.
As a minimum, please set parental controls on your search engines, youtube account and the mobile phone your child uses.
One of the most popular search engines in the world is Google. You can visit Google’s informative safety centre for simple step by step guides - www.google.com/familysafety/tools
There is also a lot of advice available from the Thinkuknow website. There are numerous resources and fact sheets available that support the work we do in school. Thinkuknow is run by CEOP, a police organisation who host the report abuse button (which you will find on every page of our site).
Parents need to be vigilant and monitor the sites, services and apps that their children access. If your child is using any of the below, please talk to Mr Warwick about some of the potential dangers.
· SnapChat: An app that sends photos to others for a few seconds before deleting it- There are ways that the pictures sent can be retrieved. People have been known to take a photo/film the image as it appears. Some young people have been using this App to send inappropriate pictures voluntarily or when pressurised.
· Burn Note: Similar to Snap Chat but with Text- this has similar issues as the messages can be retrieved, stored and used.
· ASK.FM: A site where you can ask questions and anybody can answer anonymously- this has led to a number of self-harming incidents due to negative responses and bullying.
· Chat Roulette: A site where you are matched to a random person from anywhere in the world via your webcams- most of the content on this site is highly sexualised and children are at risk of being exposed to pornographic material.
· Blackberry Messenger: Free instant messaging service on Blackberry phones- pupils can block unwanted contacts but not change their ‘Pin’ (id) so these details can be widely published across the internet.
· Facebook- Pupils under 13 should not have accounts. However, this is not always the case, if your child does have an account, please contact Mr Warwick for tips that may discourage unscrupulous people trying to add your child.
Below is a CEOP video that provides useful infomation about keeping your child safe on the internet: