Online safety concerns staying safe whilst using online and communication technology. This means not only computers but other ways in which children and young people communicate using electronic media, e.g. smartphones and tablets. This allows children to access and benefit from technology like the internet in the safest way possible without risk to themselves or others.
The aim of promoting online safety is to protect young people from the potential adverse consequences of access or use of electronic media.
Across the school we use the SWGfL's internet content filter which blocks many inappropriate websites, images and adverts. This filter blocks anything that has been flagged as inappropriate, but as the internet constantly evolves it is important to be constantly vigilant and ensure that children are taught what is and what isn't appropriate for their age and to ensure they have strategies in place to deal with anything that makes them unsure, upset or that they identify for themselves as inappropriate. On a school level we monitor all children's access to technology as well delivering the Computing curriculum in a way which ensures children are taught about online safety concerns, strategies and procedures. In Key Stage 1 we use the Hector's World safety button on our computers, this comes from the Government's website Think U Know, allowing children to block the screen with happy and playful pictures and calming music whilst they get an adult. In Key Stage 2 children are taught to turn off the screen and get an adult to report anything that concerns them. The Hector cartoons and information are still available from the Think U Know website but the safety button is not. You can find it and download it from Hector's World if you are interested.
Placing your computer or laptop in a busy part of your house e.g. the living room or kitchen can be helpful. this can make it easier for you to be involved in your children's technology use. But remember, the internet can be accessed from a number of portable devices, for example smartphones, iPod touch, games consoles and tablets.
Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows up and develops. they are not the sole answer to your child's online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you may think. Internet service providers are working hard to offer simple, effective and user friendly internet content filters to cover all internet access. Click the following link to find your service provider and learn how to set your controls.
Ensure that you know how to use any technology your child is using so that you know what the technology is capable of. Google (or any other search engine) is a great way to find out what technology can do. there are parents guides out there to help you. when you understand what is possible you can set boundaries that you feel reflect your child's needs and online safety requirements.
Talk to your child about their use of the internet and technology to gauge their understanding of the risks involved and the understanding of how they can minimise those risks and any situations that they will need to discuss with you. Anything you don't feel your child understands you can then ensure you monitor more closely and develop their understanding. You may wish to let your class teacher know of any concerns you have so that we can follow this up in school to ensure that children understand that they should be thinking about online safety both in school and at home anytime they use technology.
Ensure that when you use social networks such as Facebook you are aware of your own privacy settings. Children below 13 years old should not have a Facebook account. Facebook have a safety centre, and lots of online safety websites have leaflets (e.g. Childnet) so as your child becomes old enough you can talk with them about safety settings and concerns when using social media.
Children are used to rules and just like you would have them for children playing outside, you need to establish your expectations regarding online activities. Agreeing as a family on what your technology rules are can be helpful. This might include how long children can be online, websites the can/can't be visited, and when/where children are allowed online. Establishing boundaries from the start lets children be aware of your expectations and live up to them.
PenguinPig - By Stuart Spendlow- I have used this book at KS1- it deals with false information on the internet and not moving things offline into real life.
Webster's Friend - By Hannah Whaley - I have read this book at KS1 - Webster thinks he has made a friend online... but who is he really talking to? Webster tries his best to impress when he makes a new friend online. This story takes a turn when the friend wants to meet and Webster finds out who he has really been talking to! It deals with the issue of someone wanting to meet you and the reliability of information.
Webster's Email - By Hannah Whaley - One click, and Webster's email is on its way... but where will it stop? Webster begins to regret emailing a funny picture of his sister. Count with Webster in this number book as his email reaches more and more people, while gently introducing young readers to the vocabulary and etiquette of email technology.
Webster's Bedtime - By Hannah Whaley - It’s bedtime for Webster, but first he has to help all his electronic gadgets get to sleep. Providing a subtle reminder to young children about the need to switch off from screen time as they get ready for sleep,
Digiduck's Big Decision- a free online story (KS1) about sharing pictures of friends online and how this can lead to embarrassment and teasing by others.
Smartie the Penguin- a free online story (KS1) about beginning to use the internet with choices for children to make during the story about what would be safest when unknown messages, pictures and websites are on the computer.
Think U Know - this website contains information for ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-16 as well as parents/carers.
CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) is part of the Police Service which helps children stay safe online. If you feel uncomfortable or know someone has also been made to feel uncomfortable when using the internet, you can report it to CEOP.
Kidsmart - a webiste with information for parents, children and teachers as well as safe links for games and websites.
Childnet - advice for supporting young children online.
Safer Internet Centre - a webiste with secyions for parents, teacher and young children as well as a hotline advice and to report concerns.
BBC - a wide range of games, videos and information (more KS2+ based) for children and parents to play, watch and share.
Childline offers help to young people who are having problems of any sort, forexample: exam stress, bullying, neglect, alcohol, family relationships, school gangs, racism, eating problems, homework and is there if you need to speak to
The South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) have worked tirelessly since 2003, to ensure that everyone is safer whilst on-line.
Advice for Parents/Carers on Cyberbullying - advice on how to protect children and steps to take to tackle cyberbullying.