Staying safe online - current advice for parents
This page is to give parents/carers a source of information about how to keep your child safe when online, and what to do if there is an issue.
What do we teach the children at school?
Each term we teach the children how to stay safe online, and behave in a respectable way. We teach them the SMART acronym:
SAFE – Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information when you’re chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
MEETING – Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.
ACCEPTING – Accepting emails, messages, or opening files, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages!
RELIABLE – Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family
TELL – Tell your parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
We will also teach them about the dangers of the internet, discourage the use of social media sites (see below), privacy, passwords, being respectful and responsible, and what to do if they have a concern.
We also have filters on the school internet to prevent children from accessing particular sites that are unsuitable for their age or interests. This includes social media sites.
Using social media
WhatsApp have just announced a change. Users will now need to be 16 to use WhatsApp.
Nearly all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Musical.ly and Skype.
Whilst there is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account.
This means that no primary age children should be accessing these social media accounts. I would implore all parents to abide by this ruling. If all parents stick to this, it makes it easier for pupils to resist peer pressure.
There are a few reasons for not allowing your child to use social media.
- Young people risk being exposed to content which is intended for older users when they use sites that are not designed for people their age.
- What goes on the internet, stays on the internet. Photos and posts about children will be there forever and could be used against them when they are older.
- Do they know how to keep their content private? Do they know who to share with?
- Primary age children are not cognitively ready to deal with the issues, posts and opinions on social media.
- Overuse of screen time is bad for their health. Children only get one childhood – do you really want them to spend it glued to a screen? Isn’t it better for them to be talking to real people and having real experiences?!
Going online – use this as a check list for a conversation with your child
When you child is ready to go online, here is some advice to follow.
- Which devices are we allowed to use and when? Are we allowed to use our own personal devices?
- Are there any areas of the internet which we are not to use, eg games or social networks
- How long can we spend online or on a device?
- What do we do if a notification appears on a device? Eg not clicking ‘accept’ before checking with an adult
- When is it okay to download files, games or apps?
- What information is ok for us to share online? Eg reinforcing not to share a clubs location online or names of other players
- Who will we talk to if we feel uncomfortable about anything we have seen or heard online or on a device?
- Which websites are okay for us to use?
- Should we open links from people we don’t know?
Positive online behaviour
- How can I be a good friend online?
- What will I do if I receive frightening or bullying messages?
- Do I know where the report and block buttons are online?
Helpful resource: Young children and screen Time – start here
Do you know where your child is on the internet? watch here
It is worth looking at these websites so you are familiar with them, for reference – or to use the resources with your child.
Thinkuknow for 5-7 year olds – https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/
- If you are 5, 6 or 7, I bet you probably like to use the computer for fun. We’ve made this website to help you go on the internet in a safe way and know who to talk to if you are worried. You can also find out about Lee & Kim’s adventures or watch Hector and his friends learning to use computers safely!
Thinkuknow for 8-10 year olds – https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/
- If you’re between 8 and 10, you probably know a lot about using the internet. We’ve created this area for you to show you what we think is good, look at what’s not and show you ways you can get yourself out of bad situations.
Thinkuknow for 11+ year olds https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/11_13/
- Keeping safe online.
Thinkuknow for parents https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
Childnet – https://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers
CEOP (Police: Child Exploitation and Online Protection) – https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
- Are you worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online? Make a report.
- More information about staying safe online.
#DITTO is a free online safety (e-safety) magazine for schools, organizations and parents to keep you up to date with risks, issues, advice and guidance related to keeping children safe online, with a view to enjoying and learning about technology. A new edition is released approx. every 6 weeks.
All archived issues of #DITTO can be downloaded for free – click HERE