You will find a wealth of resources and advice on this page along with some useful links to additional websites that can offer further guidance on keeping your child safe in the online world.
Please check back regularly to see any future updates.
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s safety whilst online and wish to speak to a member of staff in school, please liaise with the main school office who will arrange a meeting with our designated safeguarding lead (DSL), Mrs Lane.
Parental Guidance Videos
Please see below a selection of videos from the three main internet service providers (ISP’s) in the UK offering guidance on setting parental controls at home to help restrict access to he internet and protect your child whilst online.
There are a range of useful websites that provide information for parents and children:
NSPCC Share Aware
What is Random Chat?
These sites connect individuals at random with strangers to enable them to chat, either by text or webcam. The random element of connecting you with someone anywhere in the world is the main appeal of these sites.
This type of site is often unmoderated and frequently used for chat and actions of a highly and inappropriate nature which can be harmful to young people.
Some of the main risks with this type of image being in the hands of someone else include:
- Bullying – young people can be bullied by others about the content of pictures.
- Distress – knowing that other people they do not know are looking at personal pictures can be very upsetting.
- Blackmail – if the images end up in the hands of someone with bad intentions, they may be used to attempt to manipulate the child.
- Reputation – once something is online it is very difficult to remove. Images can become part of a young person’s ‘digital footprint’ and potentially affect them in the long-term, such as if someone searches their name as part of a job interview.
Young people are growing up online and may be posting information which in the past would have been written in their secret diary. These thoughts, opinions and activities provide a window to their lives at a time where jobs and responsibility might be far from their minds.
The internet provides permanent records of these high and lows which, if not controlled carefully, may be accessible to future employers, universities or friends.
Young people should think about what they share, where they share it and who they share it with what seems funny now, may not do in the future.
With limitless information, endless games and the ability to escape from the real world, young people’s relationship with the internet can become unhealthy.
This can be a problem when a young person’s online behaviour diverts and distracts them from other activities – this might be school work, seeing their friends or even sleeping and eating.
The amount of time young people spend playing games can become unhealthy. If they are gaming against people around the world, they may want to be involved in activities that take place at unsociable hours and may find it difficult to stop. The fact that other players are real people can put pressure on young people to take part as they don’t want to let their gaming friends down.
Young people can be someone else online. Therefore, if they are unhappy in the real world, they may want to spend more time online.
As a parent or carer, you should be alert to the amount of time they are spending online and aware of the issues that might be causing a dependency.
As well as parental controls, you also get:
Advanced spam filtering – with image blocking to protect children from offensive content
BT Cleanfeed – blocks sites classified as illegal by the Internet Watch Foundation
Access to our internet abuse prevention team – for children or parents to report any concerns
Talk Talk’s Internet security service is called HomeSafe. Built into the broadband network itself, HomeSafe is designed to help you block every device in your home from websites you’ve defined as unsuitable for your home. Parents also have the option to control the after school homework routine specifically. It’s been developed in partnership with their panel of parents and online safety experts.
Parental Controls is part of Virgin Media Security and is available for free to all Virgin Media broadband customers. With Virgin Media Security’s Parental Control you can: Screen out offensive material Filter sites by pre-defined age categories. Add exceptions or block specific sites Control access to specific content types like chat or social networking. Set an access schedule for individual users. See a history of sites viewed, including those that were blocked
Plusnet offer Plusnet Protect Internet security. With this service, either offered free or for a small charge dependent on your Broadband package, parents and carers are able to set safe boundaries for children with parental controls.
Sky offer McAfee Internet Security suit, available free or for a small monthly charge dependent on your Broadband package. Parental Controls are included in this package, however all Sky Broadband customers can get McAfee Parental Controls on their own as a separate download, free and for up to three
McAfee’s Parental Controls help control when your children can be online, monitor/control what websites they can visit.
It’s never a good idea to share personal information such as their name, address, email address, passwords, telephone numbers or the name of their school with people they don’t know and trust in the real world. Talk to your child about how people can sometimes lie online or pretend to be someone else.
Encourage your child to keep gaming friends ‘in the game’ and not to invite them to be friends on their social networks.
Some online games are virtual worlds which never end, where missions can take hours to complete. It’s important to set limits on the amount of time your child spends playing online. Be aware of how long they spend gaming and set rules, as you would for TV. Also, ensure that they take regular screen breaks – at least five minutes every 45- 60 minutes.
Know what to do if something goes wrong
Things can go wrong when gaming, whether that’s someone being mean, inappropriate or asking you to do something that you’re not comfortable with. It’s important that you and your child know what steps you can take in the game to block and report people and how to report and seek support from other services.
Discuss what they can share – teach your child to think before they share online and the consequence of doing this over the mobile phone, such as sharing their location.
Discuss and monitor costs – phones can be expensive. As well as bills, costs can be run up through downloading apps, mu-sic or leaving data-roaming on abroad. Your child should be made aware of the financial responsibility that comes with owning a phone. There are different ways to manage costs, such having a contract or pay-as-you-go deals; make sure you discuss this in the shop.
Keep their mobile number private – young people need to understand that their phone number should only be given to people they know and trust; make sure that if they are concerned, they ask you first.
Be prepared in case the phone is lost or stolen – know who to contact to get the SIM card blocked. Every phone has a unique ‘IMEI’ number; make sure you write this down so if the phone is stolen, the police can identify the phone if they find it. You can get this by dialling *#06#.
My Child’s Mobile Phone
More and more young people in primary schools own a mobile phone. The devices them-selves are becoming ever more powerful and many offer the same functions you might have on a computer. Many mobile phones can now:
Access the internet – this is no different to accessing the internet through a computer. Young people can go on any site that you can find online, including sites like Facebook, YouTube and also potentially age inappropriate sites.
Take and share photos and videos – most phones have a fully functioning camera. Young people can take images and videos and these can be shared quickly, easily and for free through text message, email or uploading to the internet.
Chat with instant messaging, video and text – young people can take part in private chats with people through their mobile phone.
Share your location – through GPS, many phones can now identify their user’s location in real time. This can then be shared on social networking sites and through other sites and applications.
Play games – young people can use their mo-bile to play games and download new ones, sometimes these can come at a cost.
Add and buy ‘apps’ – apps are programs that you can add to your phone that enable you to do a wide range of things, from playing simple games to finding up-to-date train times. Some of these apps have a cost.
With all of these functions available, talking to people is now only a small part of what mobile phones are used for. It can be difficult to keep tabs of what your child is up to on a mobile phone.
How can I help my child use their mobile phone?
Parental settings – some mobile phone service providers allow you to set certain controls over your child’s phone. This can include blocking access to certain sites and monitoring your child’s activities. When buying a mobile, speak to the sales representative to find out more about what services they offer. You can find out more about what controls are available by looking at ‘parents’ sections online; here are a few to get you started:
O2 – http://www.o2.co.uk/parents
Orange – http://www1.orange.co.uk/safety/
Loopholes – even if you have set controls, your child may be accessing the internet through other sources. Many phones can access the internet through Wifi, which could be available on your street and picked up for free. Accessing someone else’s Wifi may mean that your safety settings no longer apply.
Understand what your child’s phone can do – all phones are different and you need to know what they are capable of so you can manage the risks.
Set a pin code on your child’s phone – setting a pin code is like a password. With-out a password, others may use your child’s phone. This could enable them to access personal information, online accounts or run up expensive bills.
Set boundaries and monitor usage – this doesn’t mean spying on your child! You can set rules with them about where it is used and how long for. For example, if you don’t want your child to use their mobile at night, why not only charge it overnight in the living room?