E-safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Greenshaw High School. We have extensive security measures in place in school, which are monitored both internally and externally, to help safeguard pupils from potential dangers or unsuitable material. Any e-safety incidents are recorded and managed in accordance with our e-safety policy. E-safety is taught to all pupils explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online.
We can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with you to ensure the e-safety message is consistent. Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online. Recently we have had a number of parents express concerns about children’s behaviour online. Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to unwanted or unpleasant content or comments online and there are steps you can take at home to minimise this risk.
All the popular social media platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, music.ly etc.) have an age restriction of 13, and WhatsApp has just announced that it has raised its age limit to 16.
There are good reasons for this age restriction to be in place. For example, inappropriate content, lack of maturity to use the site safely, exposing them to harmful content, risk of being contacted by sexual predators, creating an online profile which will be hard to remove in the future, placing added pressure on the child to deal with situations beyond their years. The list goes on, but as parents you need to be aware of the safety implications by allowing your child access to social media at such a young age.
The Communication Act 2003 makes it an offence to send anything on the internet that is offensive, indecent, threatening or false and the reason for sending it is to cause the other person annoyance, inconvenience or needles anxiety. Remember, the age of criminal responsibility in England is 10 years old. We would not want any of our children to get on the wrong side of the law, so we have to ensure they are using the internet in a responsible and appropriate way.
What can parents/carers do? Follow the golden rules...
Discuss as a family how the internet will be used in your house. Consider what should be kept private online (personal information, photos etc.) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline. Only allow them to play online games that are age appropriate. Check the PEGI rating of the game.
Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use parental control functions on your home broadband for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content.
Remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
Locate your computer in a supervised family area. Always supervise the use of webcams and applications which allow voice or video chat. Consider your child’s use of other devices that allow internet access such as Mobile Phones, Games Consoles, Kindles, IPods etc.
Hand held devices
Remember that Children are accessing the internet via their phones, tablets, I Pods, Kindles, X boxes, Nintendo’s, PlayStation etc. Without parental controls on these devices, children can access whatever they want on the internet. Visit www.childnet.com to show how to set parental controls on a variety of hand held devices and gaming machines.
Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour with your child.
Always ensure your child knows how to block or report people online who send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply.
Make sure your child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
It’s essential to be realistic – banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem. Education around safe use is essential.
DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO HAVE INTERNET ENABLED DEVICES IN THEIR BEDROOMS UNTIL THEY REACH AN AGE AND MATURITY TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE.
Free resources for parents/carers
To help keep children safe, the Online Safety Alliance has produced a number of parental guides. Covering risks posed and actions to keep safe, these guides cover the big four social media platforms that students may be using (Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and TikTok). These guides can be downloaded free of charge from their website:
The Internet Watch Foundation has produced a guide for parents and carers, called the TALK checklist to help keep your child safe online. You can download it here.
Websites for more information:
- https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/– Visit the 'Parent/Carer' section and use the 'Click CEOP' button to seek advice and report online abuse
- www.childnet.com – Visit the ‘Know It All’ section for an interactive guide about online safety
- ww.getsafeonline.org – Free up-to-date security advice
- www.parentinfo.org - Supported by CEOP
- https://cybermentors.org.uk/ – Online support for children
- www.childline.org.uk – Online support for children
- https://www.internetmatters.org/ – Sponsored by the broadband providers.
- https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ – Find out about apps and games and age restrictions.
- https://talk.iwf.org.uk/ – follow the TALK checklist to keep your child safe online.