keeping safe online
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children and young people should be able to access to information, particularly from the media. As duty bearers it is the responsibility of governments, parents and schools to keep children safe and teach them how to navigate the online world.
At R A Butler we know that technology can be a wonderful tool for enhancing learning and communicating with others, but we are also aware of the need to educate our pupils about the potential risks around using computers and the Internet.
The breadth of issues within online safety is considerable. It can be categorised into four main areas of risk. The 4 C’s (Safer Internet Centre) is a useful starting point:
We make children aware of the impact they have through the choices they make when communicating online or offline. It is important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, what they put online.
- Keep personal information safe and do not share with people you do not know.
- Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours and how this can be done.
- Make children aware of their ‘Digital Footprint’: once something is online, it is often difficult to change.
- We want to empower children to be responsible for their actions and ensure that they know how to report unkind behaviours.
Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It’s important for children to consider the reliability of online material and be aware that it might not be true or written with a bias.
- Internet filtering systems can be set up to prevent young people from accessing inappropriate content – guidance is available here and here.
- Beware of publishing personal/confidential information about yourself or others, as this could put you at risk.
- Encourage children to question sources of information and teach them about assessing reliability.
- Use Guided Access features on iPads or other tablets.
The Internet opens up a wide variety of networks that children would otherwise not have access to.
- Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step.
- Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access.
- If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (www.ceop.police.uk).
- If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, this can also be reported online and offline.
- Reinforce with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.
safe – not giving out any personal information;
tell – tell someone if you see something that you don’t like or upsets you; and
meet – don’t meet up with someone you have met online.
Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online, for example within applications.
- Encourage your children to keep their personal information private.
- Learn how to block both pop ups and spam emails.
- Turn off in-app purchasing on devices where possible.
- Use a family email address when filling in online forms.
This leaflet explores the online gaming environment and provides a wealth of safety advice: Online Gaming.
The following links provide further information about best practice at home that will support what your child is learning at school. We recommend that parents familiarise themselves with the content.
NSPCC Online Safety Website provides information on a variety of online safety topics. Examples include parental controls, advice on sexting, and online games and video apps.
Net Aware provides an overview of the sites, apps and games young people use.
ShareAware helps children to stay safe and understand Social Media use
UK Safer Internet Centre provides tips and further advice for parents and carers
Common Sense Media provides independent reviews and PEGI ratings for games, apps and films – this will help you decide what is appropriate for your child
KidRex is a child-friendly web search
Sort Your Settings an online safety campaign to support parents launched by Essex Police. It aims to help parents check and make the settings for your children’s online devices as safe as possible and includes simple things you can do to make your child’s online devices safer.
Childnet work directly with children and young people from the ages of 3 to 18 on a weekly basis, as well as parents, carers, teachers and professionals, finding out about their real experiences online, and the positive things they are doing as well as sharing safety advice.
KnowITall helps educate young people, parents and teachers about safe and positive use of the Internet.
ThinkUKnow offers latest information and advice to parents and teachers about new technologies and how to help and protect children interacting with them.
ParentInfo provides high quality information to parents and carers about their children’s wellbeing and resilience. Endorsed by the National Crime Agency's CEOP command.
Internet Matters is a Not-for-profit organisation. Working to empower parents and carers to keep children safe in the digital world.
CEOP is The National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. CEOP are here to help if a young person (up to age 18) has been forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity with anyone online, or in the real world. They also have advice and links to support for other online problems young people might face, such as cyberbullying and hacking.
The Breck Foundation raises awareness of how to stay safe when gaming online.
Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. In some jurisdictions, the age limit may be higher. They have a useful Parental Guide for Facebook.
NSPCC Online Safety Helpline for parents and carers to call for technical advice: 0808 800 5002
If you have a safeguarding concern about any child, please contact your child’s teacher or the Designated Safeguarding Lead (Sarah Spaxman) immediately – the school office will be happy to contact these members of staff for you.