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Online Safety

Protecting Children Online

Every child and young person should be able to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse and these same principles apply in the online environment. This is the responsibility of every adult.

The Internet offers tremendous benefits and opportunities for children and young people. However, as with any social space, using the internet will pose some risks for children and young people particularly if they are unaware of the way that information / technology can be used by others (children / adults) with ill-intent to exploit or abuse them.

Our vision is to help all our stakeholders, particularly our students, safely maximise the benefits emerging technology is bringing to us all in the digital age. We are developing our students digital literacy, and that of our staff, parents, Governors and wider community 

Like it or not, Digital Parents have to guide their children through the emotional and physical issues of growing up in an age where “Digital Media” is the norm and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can be quite daunting if you are not entirely confident with the technology.

We suggest you: -

  • Think about how you guide your family in the real world and how you can do the same in the digital world - this will help;

  • Try technologies your child enjoys and talk to friends and family about how they manage their children's digital lives;

  • Remind older siblings that websites they use may not be suitable for younger brothers and sisters and make digital issues part of everyday conversation;

  • When you discuss issues, don't forget to include the online aspects and ask your children whether the issues they face are different online and offline - or how they work together to complicate their lives;

  • Set boundaries and rules and talk to your child about their online reputation.

We have grouped potential online risks into these 4 categories - sharing and the 3 c's - content, contact and conduct:

 

Sharing:

Children need to be aware of the impact that their online activity can have on both themselves and other people, and the digital footprint that they create on the internet. It’s easy to feel anonymous online and it’s important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, the information that they may have posted. When using the internet, it’s important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours and how this can be done.

Content:

Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It’s important for children to consider the reliability of online material and be aware that it might not be true or written with a bias. Children may need your help as they begin to assess content in this way. There can be legal consequences for using or downloading copyrighted content, without seeking the author’s permission.

Contact:

It is important for children to realise that new friends made online may not be who they say they are and that once a friend is added to an online account, you may be sharing your personal information with them. Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (www.ceop.police.uk). If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, this can also be reported online and offline. Reinforce with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.

Conduct:

Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online, for example within applications. Encourage your children to keep their personal information private, learn how to block both pop ups and spam emails, turn off in-app purchasing on devices where possible, and use a family email address when filling in online forms.

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