What is Online Safety?
Online safety is the safe use of information systems and electronic communications, including the internet, mobile phones and games consoles. It is important that children and young people understand the benefits, risks and responsibilities of using information technology. Online safety:
- concerns safeguarding children and young people in the digital world.
- learning to understand and use new technologies in a positive way.
- is less about restriction and more about education about the risks as well as the benefits so we can feel confident online.
- is concerned with supporting children and young people to develop safer online behaviours both in and out of school.
If you have any concerns speak to a member of the school's safeguarding team.
For more information: https://www.erscp.co.uk/e-safety/
What's the problem?
Always be careful when you are using the internet. It can help you to keep in touch with your friends and help your education – but it can also cause harm – to you and to others.
Remember help is always available at school if you are having any problems online.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher or another adult at school.
If you or anyone you know is worried about Child Exploitation, Online Protection or anything related to Internet safety please click the link below which will take you to the CEOP reporting website:
Using the Internet safely at home
Whilst many Internet Service Providers offer filtering systems to help you safeguard your child at home, it remains surprisingly easy for children to access inappropriate material including unsuitable texts, images and movies. Parents/guardians are advised to set the security levels within internet browsers with this in mind.
Locating the device to access the Internet in a family area will enable you to supervise children as they use the Internet. However, don’t deny your child the opportunity to learn from the wide variety of material and games available on the Internet. Instead, set some simple rules for keeping them safe and make sure they understand the importance of these rules.
Simple, suggested rules for keeping your child safe
- ask your permission before they use the Internet
- only use websites you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine
- only email people they know (perhaps an address book would be useful)
- ask permission before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know
- do not use Internet chat rooms
- do not use their real name when using games on the Internet (perhaps encourage them to create a suitable nick name)
- never give out a home address or personal contact details
- never tell someone where they go to school
- never send an image of themselves, their home or school
- never arrange to meet someone they have ‘met’ on the Internet
- only use a webcam with people they know
- ask them to tell you immediately if they see anything they are unhappy with
Using these rules
Go through the rules with your child and ensure they understand what you suggest. It is also a good idea to regularly check the Internet sites your child is visiting e.g. by clicking on History and Favourites. Please reassure your child that you want to keep them safe rather than take Internet access away from them.
The more you know about the kind of social networking sites your children belong to and what information they like to share, the more likely you’ll be able to keep them safe:
- The age limit to join most social networking sites is 13
- The most popular social networks include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat; sites aimed at younger children, like Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters, also have a social networking element
- Many sites include an instant message function that allows private conversations between site members
- You can create ‘privacy settings’ on most social networking sites, so only close friends can search for your children, tag them in a photograph or share what they post
- Most social networking sites have an app, which means your children will have access to the social network from their (or your) smartphone or tablet
- Facebook, for example, has a setting that allows your children to approve or dismiss tags that people add to their posts
- Information shared between friends can be easily copied and may spread widely
- It isn’t easy to take back information once it’s online, and it can be impossible to recover after someone has shared it
- Not everyone your child meets online will be who they say they are
- Chat rooms and forums are one of the places that online groomers visit to connect with children; they can also be places where people use a lot of sexual language and engage in online flirting
Cyber bullying is any form of bullying which takes place online or through smartphones and tablets. Social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms such as Facebook, XBox Live, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and other chat rooms can be great fun and a positive experience but they can be used as platforms to upset and bully individuals.
Tips and advice
- If you post abuse about anyone else online or if you send threats, you can be traced by the police without any difficulty. Every time you visit a website or make a posting, your internet service provider, Sky, BT or Virgin, has an electronic note of your activity. Even if you create an anonymous email address like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, you can still be traced.
- Keep safe by using unusual passwords. Use a combination of letters, lowercase, uppercase, symbols and numbers. Don't use any part of your name or email address and don't use your birth date either because that's easy for people who know you to guess. Don't let anyone see you signing in and if they do, change the password as soon as you can.
- If you are using a public computer such as one in a library, computer shop, or even a shared family computer, be sure to sign out of any web service you are using before leaving the computer so that you can protect your privacy.
- Being bullied online can affect someone enormously. Being bullied can impact on a person’s self-esteem, confidence and social skills. Try to consider the impact your words may have and think twice before posting.
- Think twice before you post anything online because once it’s out there you can’t take it back.