What is Online-Safety ?
Cyber-safety/E-Safety/Online Safety/Internet Safety are ‘....the ability to act in a safe and responsible manner on the internet and other connected environments’. This is to ‘...protect personal information and reputation; include safe practices to minimise danger from behavioural-based rather than hardware, software-based problems (iKeepSafe, 2011-2014).
How Is Online-Safety Taught At Wessex Gardens?
Children at Wessex Gardens use the Internet on a regular basis as part of their learning.
In school, we use a filtering system to prevent children accessing inappropriate sites.
We also have regular Online-Safety activities to remind children of the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
Online-safety is taught to pupils through a variety of Online-Safety programmes including ThinkuKnow from CEOP, Childnet and BBC.
These develop exemplary Online Safety learning for children and young people.
Key Stage 1
We allow pupils through the guidance of the class teacher, to explore aspects of Online-Safety such as online identities, the importance of passwords and appropriate photographs; using search engines to research different topics; cyberbullying; how to interact with others online in a safe and secure environment.
Key Stage 2
We follow a similar pattern of Online-Safety lessons as in Key Stage 1. However these lessons develop a deeper understanding of previously taught knowledge and skills as well as introducing new concepts and knowledge in online gaming and shopping, risks and precautions when downloading from the internet, awareness of digital foot print.
What Can Parents Do At Home?
Protecting children at home is equally as important. Simply not allowing them to use something or ‘locking down’ all the settings does not help your children prepare for the future. The key to helping your child at home is talking to your child about the dangers when they are online and discussing why they need to stay safe.
Here are some tips and useful links to help you to keep your children safe online:
Follow the link below for the latest guides and information from the ThinkuKnow website -
- Fortnite is an incredibly popular online combat game which can put children at risk from exposure to obscene and violent language and images, as well as grooming. This article has lots of information about the game itself and how potential risks can be minimised.
- The fantastic Parent Zone website recently published this excellent article featuring brief, up to date guides to some of the apps that are currently popular with young people. The recent updates to Snapchat (which allow users to see one another’s locations) are also explained in the article, along with some sensible and timely advice on how to talk about traumatic events with young children.
- Many apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope are developing a ‘live streaming’function, and this is becoming one of the most popular ways for young people to communicate with one another. While live-streaming can be fun and exciting, young people can be exposed to dangers such as bullying, talking to strangers and seeing inappropriate or upsetting material. The NSPCC’s Net Aware website recently published this article which gives more detail about how this new technology works and some of its associated risks.
- Hello Neighbor is a ‘stealth horror game’ which is becoming very popular. The content and gameplay appear to be quite adult in nature. An age rating for the game is unavailable at present, but when I contacted the game’s developers to find out more about it they felt that it would probably be awarded a ‘teen’ rating when it is officially released later in the year. As well as playing the game itself, many children also enjoy watching ‘online walkthrough’ videos on youtube. These videos are home-made clips of someone playing a video game, such as Hello Neighbor or Minecraft, and adding a commentary as they play. The content of these videos, in particular the strong language that often features, is not always suitable for such a young audience.
- Roblox is a very popular free game that looks fantastic from a perspective of teaching children basic coding skills, but it also carries some very real drawbacks and dangers. The game is created by its users, meaning that obscene and pornographic images can be posted by anybody with a Roblox account for children to see. Users also report frequent bad language and anti-social, bullying behaviour. It is also associated with computer viruses as children who want to get better at the game are drawn to other websites which claim to give them secret tips or ‘hacks’ to help them advance further, and these websites then install harmful viruses on your home computer or device. Perhaps most worrying though is the game’s chat function: predatory adults are easily able to create accounts and pretend to be children, using the chat function to make contact with and subsequently ‘groom’ young fans of the game. Please talk to your children about whether they use Roblox. Remind them of the need to only accept friend requests from people they know in real life, to never, ever give out personal information about themselves, and to report any images or behaviour to you and the game’s moderators that make them feel uncomfortable.
- Musical.ly is a website and app which has been very popular with older Key Stage Two children recently. Users are able to upload videos of themselves singing or miming to pop songs, and it certainly looks like a lot of fun. The idea of sharing these videos with friends and family members seems harmless enough, but what many users do not realise is that, unless the correct settings have been activated, their videos can be seen by anyone with an internet connection. The site has a reputation for being used by predatory adults looking to chat with young children. Please talk to your child about whether they enjoy using this app and help them to ensure that their settings are fully private. Also remind them about the need to only accept friend requests from people that they know in real life.
- Many children enjoy using YouTube and some have set up their own YouTube channels to share videos of themselves. Although the age for having a YouTube account is 13 we know that many younger children know how to get around this. Please talk to your children about whether they enjoy using YouTube and about their privacy settings in particular. This YouTube Parents Guide explains some of the ways in which we can support children to enable them to use YouTube safely.
- Pokemon Go is a gaming app that has become incredibly popular overnight. You may have even seen it on the news. The game looks like a lot of fun but comes with some very real safety risks. This document, produced by the NSPCC explains some of the potential risks, and the ways to reduce them, really clearly.
- Oovoo, a video chat app, is very popular with teenagers and is becoming more popular amongst older primary-aged children. Find out more about it in this ooVoo guide for parents
- AskFM is a social networking site based around users asking one another questions. It has been associated with cyber-bullying. Read more here: AskFM-Online-Safety-Guidance
- OurPact is a free parental control app which allows you to control and block the internet and Applications on individual devices in your home, teaching children proper device use and responsibility. The parental control solution gives parents the ability to manage their child’s screen time throughout the day. Parents can enforce bedtime, set dinnertime, manage study time and schedule family time throughout the day. By syncing your family’s iPads, iPhones, and iPods to OurPact, you can have the power to manage your entire family’s screen time & device use under one platform. Please click on attached link for more information: https://ourpact.com/
- Internetmatters.org has excellent, impartial advice on a very broad range of e-safety issues
- It’s Not Okay is a Greater Manchester based organisation working to end child sexual exploitation. Their website contains vital information about this issue including tell-tale signs to look out for and how to report suspicious activity.
- Parent Zone and Parent Info are linked websites containing advice for schools and families on a very broad range of e-safety topics. The sites are affiliated with CEOP, the part of the National Crime Agency committed to protecting children, so the advice they offer is very reliable and up to date.
Facebook /Bebo /Whatsapp/Snapchat/Musical.ly
Many of these sites have a minimum age limit of 13, so our pupils should NOT be using them. If your child has a social media account, talk to them about it and make sure they are aware of the risks. It is important that your child feels they can talk to you about anything they are unsure, upset or worried about.
See the links below for more information -
Parental settings, similar to the parental controls on game consoles, allow you to set limitations for a range of aspects. These can include limits to your children’s access to the web, the times they can log onto the computer and which games they can play and programs they can run.
You can control these settings via the following method — Click ‘Start’ or ‘Home’ – Control Panel – User Accounts and Family Settings — Parental Controls.
Did you know that 54% of children aged between 12-15 know how to delete their online browser history?
A computer history logs which programmes have been used as well as internet pages that have been visited. By deleting this history log, you will not be able to keep track of the sites/games that have been visited.
Discuss with your child which sites they visit most — are they appropriate for them to use?
The world of online gaming is ever increasing in size and popularity, with gamers accessing the internet and online world to play against friends and others from around the world.
Using game consoles for excessive amounts of time is unhealthy for all children.
Find out how to restrict the amount of time children spend on games consoles at the following links: