Online Safety in School
Our children are growing up in a digital age where communication through digital devices is the norm. The internet and digital communication can provide some excellent learning opportunities and can open the door to lots of incredible experiences and opportunities but it is a public place and as such there are dangers that our children can be exposed to. It is therefore essential that children are taught how to keep themselves.
In school, we have rules about the safe use of the internet and e-mail. These rules are shared with children regularly and they have to sign our Accepted Use Policies before they can use the equipment in school. Online-safety also forms part of the computing curriculum which we teach and children will have regular blocks of online safety lessons as well as regular reminders about staying safe whilst using internet enabled devices.
Copies of pupil Accepted Use Policies can be found on the policies section of the useful information section of this website.
Using the Internet safely at home
Whilst many Internet Service Providers offer filtering systems and tools to help you safeguard your child at home, it remains surprisingly easy for children to access inappropriate material including unsuitable text, pictures and movies. Parents are advised to set the security levels within Internet Explorer or other browsers with this in mind. In the olden days (!), you could put a computer in a family room to enable you to supervise your son or daughter as they used the Internet. This is no longer the case given mobile phones and games consoles and other devices can access the Internet. However, don’t deny them the opportunity to learn from and enjoy the wide variety of material and games available on the Internet. Instead discuss with them some simple rules for keeping safe online and making sure they understand their importance.
Simple rules for keeping your child safe
To keep your child safe they could:
- Ask permission before using the Internet and discuss what websites they are using
- Only use websites you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine
- Only email people they know, (why not consider setting up an address book?)
- Ask permission before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know
- Not use their real name when instant messaging, using games or websites on the Internet, (create a nick name)
- Never give out any personal information about themselves, friends or family online including home address, phone or mobile number
- Never arrange to meet someone they have ‘met’ on the Internet without talking to an adult first; always take an adult and meet in a public place
- Never tell someone they don’t know where they go to school or post any pictures of themselves in school uniform
- Only use a webcam with people they know
- Tell you immediately if they see anything they are unhappy with.
Using these rules
Go through these rules with your child whenever you buy them a new phone, handheld device, laptop etc. Discuss how you are going to monitor their Internet use; is it a good idea to regularly check the Internet sites your child is visiting e.g. by clicking on History and Favourites for example, are there things you could monitor together? Reassure your child that you want to keep them safe rather than take Internet access away from them. Create a dialogue and a relationship of mutual respect as far as the Internet is concerned.
There are some really useful apps available that can help you manage your children's internet use. For example Circle Go.
For further information, follow the links below.
This site is also very good for internet safety. It has sections for both children and parents.
This site has some good general advice for talking to children about online safety
This site has some good advice for safety when using particular devices.
This site has some good advice and some really useful contracts for internet use at home.