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       Online Information for Parents and Carers

 

Online Safety is fundamental in our quest to keep children safe, at home and school. As a parent or carer you play a key role in helping your child to stay safe online. 

Regular assemblies and classwork focus upon how children should use the internet safely and the risks if children have unrestricted access to sites they are too young for. If a site has an age restriction, then it is there for the safety of all children (popular social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram etc. have a recommended age of 13+). However, the main focus is to educate children on how to keep themselves safe online and what to do if they do encounter a potential risk.

 

Cyber-bullying is a very real and current issue, we discuss this with our children in school regularly.

 

As a school it is our duty to advise and share concerns. The internet has so many positives but can also pose risks to our children if they don't understand the risks and how to respond in an appropriate way.

 

1. WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

 

The most serious threats we are faced with when using the internet, can roughly be grouped into six areas of risk. They are:

  1. Predators who might be tempted to make contact with a child or begin 'grooming' them.
  2. Cyberbullies and trolls who deliberately engage in malicious or vindictive behaviour.
  3. Inappropriate text, images and videos, which are a threat due to their emotive, hateful, violent or sexual content.
  4. Hackers and data thieves who might attempt to crack passwords, copy files and steal data such as credit card numbers.
  5. The risk of downloading a virus, or being affected by malware or spyware.
  6. Cons and scams which can lead to losing money, or exposure to the above risks 1-5.

 

 

 

2. HOW DO WE GUARD AGAINST THEM?

Now that the risks have been firmly established, the way forward is this: an internet user should ask three key questions about the technology they are using, whether it be a device, an app, a website, a service, Xbox live etc:

 

  1. What are the dangers presented by this particular technology?
  2. What is the worst case scenario when using this?
  3. How, if at all, can we use this technology safely?

 

E-Safety education is firmly embedded into the curriculum. Children in ALL years groups are taught about the risks of using the internet and technology and what to do if they come across inappropriate material. We also celebrated 'Safer Internet Day' which happens every year in February. 

 

We reinforce the following key steps with the children:

1) If A child encounters anything they are not comfortable with, then they should tell an adult they trust immediately.
2) Children should never give out personal details on-line, such as their full name, age, gender, location, school e-mail address or phone number.
3) If the decision is made to meet an internet acquaintance in person, then a parent or carer is to accompany them. Children of primary school age are strongly advised NEVER to meet someone whom they only know on-line.
4) Children should not deliberately search for inappropriate things, and should resist peer-pressure to do so.
5) They are not to trust 'win an ipad' adverts, nor to open emails or download anything from sources they don't recognise or trust.
6) They should never take, send, nor receive revealing pictures of themselves or others. 'Sexting' is both dangerous and illegal.
7) Children should protect all devices and services with a PIN or a secure password which remains secret.
8) All existing, emerging and future technologies should be evaluated using the three key questions:

-What can go wrong?

-What is the worst-case-scenario?

Then: How, if at all, can we use this technology safely?
9) Children are to be aware that unkind messages constitute cyber-bullying, and to be alert not to become a perpetrator, nor an accessory to cyber-bullying. Children are also be on the look out for their friends, in case they are targeted. Children are taught to take a screenshot of, and report any malicious or vindictive messages received to an adult they trust.
10) Finally, Children should be aware of the power of the police to investigate cyber-bullying.

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