Online Safety has been a high priority in schools in recent years, in recognition that the internet can play an important role in children’s education but can also bring risks. In December 2015, the Government again reiterated the importance of online safety and circulated a new guide to help parents keep their children safe online. This document has been produced by the UK’s Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCIS) and is a practical guide for parents whose children are using social media.
Please click on the link below:
UKCIS Practical Guide for Parents
Please click here to go to parentINFO – the website run by Parent Zone and CEOP (Child Exploitation & On-line Protection centre).
Smart rules from Childnet’s Kidsmart website
SAFE – Staying safe online involves being careful and thinking about whether it is safe to give out personal information.
MEETING – Meeting up with someone you have contacted in cyberspace can be dangerous. Only do so with your parent’s/carer’s permission and then only when they can go with you.
ACCEPT – Accepting e-mails or opening files from people you don’t know can be dangerous. – they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
RELIABLE – Anyone can put anything on the net and remember people can lie and not be who they say they are in chat rooms.
TELL – Tell your parent/carer or teacher if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.
The internet and mobile technology allows children to:
- Research – access to a huge amount of information
- Collaborate – support each other with homework etc.
- Contribute – using join discussion forums and creating
- shared online resources such as wikis.
- Communicate – speak to other children across the world
- Create – children design their own web pages
- Publish – share ideas and resources with a world wide audience
Be aware of the dangers:
- How accurate and reliable is the information being accessed?
- Who are children collaborating and communicating with?
- Is any of the communication upsetting or threatening?
- What personal information is being shared online?
- Sharing resources may involve sharing viruses and other damaging material, it may also be illegal.
- Is the content appropriate?
- Does private mean private?
Websites for information
Please go to the ‘Online Resources’ section under the ‘Learning Tab’ to see a full list of safe websites for children to use, including search engines and sites for curriculum use.
Involve yourself with what they are doing online
Encourage children to talk about how they use the internet and other communication technology. Install Hector Protector and encourage your child to use him. Be approachable, start early, encourage your child to tell you if they encounter anything that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Set limits about what children can and can’t do online
Set limits on when they can use the computer and gaming equipment and for how long. Agree which types of sites are permissible and which are not, for example un-moderated chat rooms and file sharing sites are no-go areas. Where a webcam is available, be clear how and when your child may use it. Make sure that children understand that once an image or movie is on the internet, there is no way of controlling what happens to it.
Monitoring and filtering what your children look at online
Parents should install effective virus protection and filtering software. Internet filtering software can block access to some unacceptable sites. Many internet service providers have parental controls that allow time limits to be set, restrict access to sites and some even alert parents when their child puts personal information on line or tries to access a site they shouldn’t. It is also possible to review histories or logs to see where children have been, but these can be wiped. There are also resources such as “net nannies” that will track what you child does. These is still no replacement for building trust and educating your children about possible dangers, in fact the more you monitor and block, the less opportunity your child has to develop their own responsible and safe practice.
Make sure all family members use privacy settings and think carefully about who they accept as friends. They may be unintentionally putting other family members at risk.
Supervise what your children are doing at an appropriate level for their age and maturity and educate them about the risks.
If your children feel happy approaching you with their concerns, they will be more likely to tell you if they encounter dangers online.