Online Safety - Guidance for Parents
Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet.
E-Safety: Keeping your child safe online
The internet is a wonderful and life enhancing invention and many of us use it in our daily lives. Phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and even DVD players are capable of accessing the internet. You will be aware the internet hosts many exciting opportunities for education. The online world is a wonderful place for young people to explore, with unprecedented opportunities for learning and creativity, but just like the real world there are risks and dangers they should be aware of and which we should all act to protect them from. As a school we encourage the use of technology as an important part of our students’ development but always want them to spend their time online safely. As a parent/carer you can play a significant part in ensuring this.
At school, pupils engage with a rigorous e-safety curriculum. The school network is extremely secure and protected by numerous filters, including our Network Manager. This means that pupils are unlikely to encounter an e-safety issue whilst at school. However, out of school, in a more open environment, pupils are more likely to encounter an e-safety issue. This can be a daunting concept for many parents; often there is a feeling that pupils know more than parents!
If you feel like this, then please do not despair! There is a lot of support available to parents to help them to keep their children safe whilst using technology at home. School will support parents wherever possible. Mr Mason-Edwards is always willing to offer advice and support to parents. You can contact him on the school number below or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org If you believe that your child is a victim of cyber bullying, please contact Mr Mason-Edwards to discuss the issue straight away - do NOT delay!. The school takes all type of bullying seriously and will do its upmost to bring those responsible to account. Remember, if your child has been sent an offensive or bullying message, DO NOT DELETE IT, as this is valuable evidence. Further advice can be obtained from http://www.beatbullying.org
Just a few simple steps by you can help keep them safe and give young people the awareness to know what to do if they feel uncomfortable about anything they encounter while on the internet.
If you do not wish for your child to be able to access any inappropriate content online, please ensure that their computers, laptops and other devices with internet access are all fitted with parental controls.
You can find free downloadable versions online or you can contact your internet service provider (such as BT, Talk Talk, Sky) for more information.
As a minimum, please set parental controls on your search engines, youtube account and the mobile phone your child uses.
One of the most popular search engines in the world is Google. You can visit Google’s informative safety centre for simple step by step guides - www.google.com/familysafety/tools
There is also a lot of advice available from the Thinkuknow website. There are numerous resources and fact sheets available that support the work we do in school. Thinkuknow is run by CEOP, a police organisation who host the report abuse button (which you will find on every page of our site).
Parents need to be vigilant and monitor the sites, services and apps that their children access. If your child is using any of the below, please talk to your child's class teacher about some of the potential dangers.
· Snap Chat: An app that sends photos to others for a few seconds before deleting it- There are ways that the pictures sent can be retrieved. People have been known to take a photo/film the image as it appears. Some young people have been using this App to send inappropriate pictures voluntarily or when pressurised.
· Burn Note: Similar to Snap Chat but with Text- this has similar issues as the messages can be retrieved, stored and used.
· ASK.FM: A site where you can ask questions and anybody can answer anonymously- this has led to a number of self-harming incidents due to negative responses and bullying.
· Chat Roulette: A site where you are matched to a random person from anywhere in the world via your webcams- most of the content on this site is highly sexualised and children are at risk of being exposed to pornographic material.
· Blackberry Messenger: Free instant messaging service on Blackberry phones- pupils can block unwanted contacts but not change their ‘Pin’ (id) so these details can be widely published across the internet.
· Facebook- Pupils under 13 should not have accounts. If your child does have an account, please delete it and do not let them use Facebook until they are 13.
Please take a look at the following link from CEOP for more information and tips:
Cyberbullying is the harmful application of technology by students wishing to extend the reach and impact of their bullying behavior during and beyond school hours. It is the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, defamatory online personal polling Web sites, and digital photography, to support repeated acts by an individual or group, that are intended to embarrass, humiliate or intimidate their victim.
“Cyberbullying is different from face-to-face bullying because the bully is removed from the immediate and tangible feedback of the victim. They don't "see" the harm they have caused or the consequences of their actions, which minimizes any feelings of remorse or empathy. This creates a situation where kids do and say things on the Internet that they would be much less likely to do in person.” – The MindOH! Foundation.
Parenting Suggestions Regarding Technology
Become involved in your child's cyberspace. Sit at the computer and let them teach you how they use the Internet:
Ask them to take you places they frequently visit and show you what they do. Three types of sites children commonly utilize are:
- Instant messaging / texting
- Social networking sites
- Video Posting
Open up your own accounts where they have accounts. Have your child guide you through the process.
If your child is under 13, you do have the option to have these accounts deleted since most of these services have an age and/or parental consent requirement.
Have them share with you all their user account names and passwords. If this is creating a trust issue, perhaps a good compromise is to have your child write down all the user account names and passwords on a sheet of paper and place this in a sealed envelope to only be opened by the parent in case of an emergency.
Make certain they have never and will never share their passwords with anyone, even a friend. Explain the risk of someone impersonating them and ruining their reputation.
Have them show you what they have in their profiles/pages. How do they describe themselves? Is it all accurate and appropriate? Does it show too much detail about your child? Are they protecting and sustaining a positive reputation?
Scrutinize their friend lists on these accounts. It is very important to recognize the identity of each person. If they don't know the real name of an on-line friend, then consider that person a stranger. Request they delete and block that person.
Ask your child if they have ever been ridiculed, intimidated and/or humiliated on the Internet (cyber bullied). Encourage them to come to you for support if they are being bullied. Both of you should learn how to use the print screen option to save evidence of the cyber bullying.
Ask whether they have bullied anyone. It’s important for them to appreciate how much emotional pain can be inflicted by unkind words or images, and that the reach of the Internet makes it far more destructive. Use Ryan’s story to make the point.
Also explain that this is a particularly difficult emotional period for many children and what may seem to be harmless teasing, can be devastating to the person being teased.
Share with them that the Internet is a public forum so anything can be shared with other people without their knowledge or consent. They should be very discreet in what they say and do on-line. They need to always be vigilant in protecting their reputations. Things said and done on the internet can come back to bite them many years later.
Have a very pointed conversation about “sexting”, the risky practice of sending sexually explicit photos and/or messages which can easily be forwarded on to others and damage their reputation.
Establish clear and enforceable guidelines:
Establish your own family policy for acceptable computer use. List what may or may not be allowed including clear rules about time limits.
Be upfront with your child, that this policy will be enforced and monitored. Try to set a policy that respects your child’s privacy while also considering their age, maturity level and inclination towards risky behavior.
Purchase monitoring / time control software to help enforce your family's policy.
Search “parental control software reviews” to find the latest products, features, and reviews.
Do not allow a computer to be in a child's bedroom. Keep it in a public area such as the kitchen or hallway.
How much technology and access does your child really need?
Does a middle school child or younger possess the maturity, judgment, and social skills to use instant/text messaging and social websites responsibly? Do their peers?
Does your child really need a cell phone, particularly with text messaging and/or photo/video features? Are they mature enough to handle these options responsibly?
When does too much technology begin to hurt a child? You need to find the right balance with other activities.
Is it healthy for them to come home and plug right back into their social network versus having some quiet, reflective and regenerative time with their family?
REMEMBER! Children should NOT have their own Facebook account under the age of 13.