The online world is a fantastic place for children to explore, providing a wealth of resources to support their learning and creativity. However, just like in the real world there are risks and dangers of which children should be aware when online.
As a school we promote technology as a positive and useful tool for learning. Through our computing curriculum, children are taught about e-safety and how to stay safe online. We highlight and reinforce e-safety by celebrating Safer Internet Day yearly and we encourage our children to follow ‘SMART’ rules at school and at home.
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.
Meet: 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, images 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 by looking at other websites, in books, or with someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family.
Tell: Tell a 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.
Here are a few simple steps we recommend parents follow to help keep their children safe online.
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
- 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 and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
Useful links and websites for parents:
Information and advice for parents
NSPCC – online safety