The internet and related technologies, including mobile phones, games consoles and social networks are becoming increasingly important in the daily lives of our children and have many positive benefits. They can be used both educationally and socially and are becoming part of a child’s identity. Socially our children often use the internet for entertainment, interaction, and communication with ‘friends’. Access to the internet can take place anywhere and at any time so we need to make sure our children are able to use the internet safely. Many children are unaware of the risks – for example by having many online friends (who could be strangers), uploading inappropriate images, viewing unsuitable content or sharing too much personal information.
In school the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning provides for a safe and secure online environment for children in Hertfordshire LA schools. Information about setting up filtering in your own home can be found below. Some of the advice about online safety is common sense but it’s also important that parents and carers know how to use the technology and are aware of how their children are using the internet.
Information about online safety issues and how to ‘Stay Safe’ can be found on the websites below. This is just a sample of websites that can provide parents with support and information. Once parents and carers have the background knowledge and understanding of eSafety, they can decide what is right for their family.
Please remember to tell your child that if they tell you about getting into trouble online, you will be very proud of them – and that you won’t take their device off them. This will help to ensure that they come back to tell you if they are ever in trouble. You may of course want to check the settings on their device so that you can make it safer for them – but try to resist the temptation to take it off them permanently.
www.childnet.com – A non-profit making organisation working directly with children, parents and teachers to ensure that the issues of online child protection and children’s safe and positive use of the internet are addressed. Childnet International produce an online guide specifically for parents.
KnowITAll – www.childnet.com/resources/kia/
http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/– The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has set up its own educational website which has been designed and written specifically for children, young people, teachers, parents and carers.
http://parentinfo.org/ – Another of CEOP’s websites, this is specifically aimed at parents rather than children. Many interesting and enlightening stories, tips and videos are available here, along with support for schools.
www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/ – The BBC Webwise is a beginner’s guide to using the internet. There is a good section on children’s online safety.
www.internetmatters.org – This website contains lots of information about staying safe online, with tips about games, social networking, mobile technology and more.
www.getsafeonline.org/ – A beginner’s guide to using the Internet safety, including a quiz and some video tutorials about how to ‘stay safe’ on-line.
www.kidsmart.org.uk – Kidsmart is an award winning internet safety website for parents and those working with children. It has been developed by the children’s internet charity Childnet International and has excellent information on many of the technologies used by children, with guidance on how to ‘stay safe’ online.
www.bullying.co.uk – One in five young people have experienced bullying by text message or via email. This web site gives advice for children and parents on bullying.
http://parents.vodafone.com – Vodafone have developed this website in conjunction with mumsnet. It is very accessible and provides information and guidance to parents in understanding their child’s digital world and getting more involved. There is even an on-line test to see how much you know!
Information on Parental Controls for your home broadband
- Talk Talk: http://sales.talktalk.co.uk/product/homesafe
- Sky: http://www.sky.com/shop/broadband-talk/broadband-shield/staying-safe-online
- Virgin Media: http://store.virginmedia.com/discover/broadband/security/web-safe.html
- BT: http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/products/manage-broadband-extras
The internet is an exciting and fun place for adults and children to use and explore educationally and socially. The challenge for parents, carers and teachers is to make sure our children are aware and understand how to be safe when using the internet and related technologies.
Some Key Advice for Children
- Be nice online
- Keep your personal details private
- Think before you post, send or forward
- Do not share your password with others
- Don’t arrange to meet up with someone you only know online, and tell a trusted adult if someone asks
- Be careful who you webcam with
- Know how to keep yourself safe
- Don’t open an attachment unless you are 100% sure it is safe
- Tell a trusted adult if anything happens online that worries or upsets you