What is online safety?
This is is the safe use of the internet for gaming and communication. It included devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and games consoles. It is important that children and young people understand the benefits, risks and responsibilities of using and sharing information online.
Worried about what you or child have seen on line?
Using the Internet safely at home
While many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer filtering systems to help you safeguard your child at home, it remains surprisingly easy for children to access inappropriate material including unsuitable texts, pictures and movies. Parents are advised to set the security levels within Internet browsers with this in mind. Locating the computer or tablet in a family area, not a bedroom, 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 rules for keeping your child safe
To keep your child safe they should:
- set screen time limits and switch off times
- ask permission before using the Internet, tell you what they are doing
- only use devices in family space, not in bedrooms
- only use websites and games you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine.
- only email and message people they know
- limit use Internet chat rooms (on games consoles or devices)
- do not use their real name when using games on the Internet (create a nick name)
- never give out a home address, phone or mobile number
- never tell someone where they go to 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. 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.
Online safety top concern as children head back to school post lockdown
Children’s online safety is emerging as a top concern in the new school year – as over half (53%) of teachers believe it is now more likely their pupils will experience issues as a result of lockdown.
Stay switched on campaign
This campaign from 'internet matters' aims to remind parents to “stay switched on” around issues their children might be facing, including cyberbullying, screentime, peer pressure, online grooming and viewing inappropriate content.
Find out more here: https://www.internetmatters.org/ or download these useful parent guides.
Talking to your children about staying safe online
We regularly use our RSHE lessons to remind your children about the importance of staying safe online. You can use some of the resources below to continue the conversation.
Ofsted have produced a useful 'Online Safety Webinar' for parents and schools. The webinar focuses on the work of the Breck Foundation. This foundation is a self-funding charity, raising awareness of playing safe whilst using the internet. It was established following the death of a young boy called Breck who was groomed online.
The webinar lasts for around 1 hour. For parents who are short on time we would recommend that the first 23 minutes are watched, after that Ofsed focus on what schools and inspectors can do to keep children safe.
Things you can do to keep your child safe online:
- check your parental controls on your PC to stop then accessing inappropriate material;
- accessing games on a console or tablet? Here's how to set parental controls: Ask About Games
- have a conversation, discuss sites and apps together, talk about any concerns they may have;
- talk about personal information and what not to share online;
- is your child accessing social networks? Most of these have an age limit of 13+, check the content and age limits of what they are accessing here: NetAware
- Is your child playing computer games, check the age limit here: Netaware
As well as the Breck Foundation website, the NSPCC website provides further resources and links on how to keep your child safe online. Live My Digital, is an educational site aimed at families. The site has links to a video series which covers the following online safety themes:
- The digital footprint
- Identity and self-esteem
- Relationships and grooming
- Security and privacy