As we approach the festive period, a number of our students may be receiving a new gadget as a gift, from games consoles to smartphones and tablets, most of which will be internet ready. You will already be aware the internet hosts many exciting opportunities for young people, from self-expression to improved methods of communication, with unprecedented opportunities for learning and creativity, but just like the real world there are risks and dangers they should be aware of and which we should all act to protect them from.

As a school we encourage the use of technology as an important part of our students’ development but always want them to spend their time online safely. As a parent/carer you can play a significant part in ensuring this and with this in mind below is a summary of guidance you can find to support your child with their new technologies.

We will also be repeating in February, close to Safer Internet Day, some information sessions for parents/carers combining the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) and the Left To Their Own Devices courses.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to ensuring that children use technologies in a safe and enjoyable way. By following this simple checklist, you can start to protect them and decrease the risks they face:

 

  • I have asked my child to show me the games, apps & websites they use – By doing so, your child is including you in their online life and social activity. Show an interest and take note of the names of their favourite sites. You can then re-visit these when you are alone. Take your time and explore the space, find out how to set the safety features and learn how to report any issues directly to the site. In the case of games/apps, I have looked in the app store to see if the game includes micro-transactions such as loot boxes or downloadable content (DLC)

 

  • I have asked my child to set their profile settings to private – Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are used by children to share information, photos and just about everything they do! Encourage your child to set their privacy settings to private. They need to think about the information they post online as it could be copied and pasted anywhere, without their permission. If it got into the wrong hands, somebody may wish to use it against them or worst of all try to locate them in the real world.

 

  • I have asked my child about their online friends – We know that people lie online about who they are and may create fake identities. It is very important children understand this. Whether they are visiting a social network or a gaming site, the safety messages are the same. Children and young people must never give out personal information and only be “friends” with people they know and trust in the real world.

 

  • I have set appropriate parental controls on my child’s computer, mobile and games console – Filters on computers and mobiles can prevent your child from viewing inappropriate and possibly illegal content. You can activate and change levels depending on your child’s age and abilities. You can also set time restrictions for using the internet or games. They can be free and easy to install. Call your service provider who will be happy to assist or visit CEOP’s parents' site for further information. Explain to your child why you are setting parental controls when you talk to them about their internet use.
    • In the case of phones, tablets & games consoles, you can also set spending limits in the app store, the manufacturer should offer advice on their website as to how to set these limits.

 

  • My child has agreed to tell me if they are worried about something online – Sometimes children get into situations online where they don’t feel comfortable or see something they don’t want to see. By opening up the communication channels and talking to your child about the internet, their favourite sites and the risks they may encounter, they are more likely to turn to you if they are concerned about something.

 

  • I know where to get help if I’m concerned about my child – The CEOP Safety Centre provides access to a range of services. If you are concerned that an adult has made inappropriate contact with your child you can report this directly to CEOP. You can also find help if you think your child is being bullied, or if you’ve come across something on the internet which you think may be illegal.

 

Smart Devices

A students may also be receiving smart devices or smart toys for Christmas, CEOP has recently published guidance on how these devices could introduce risk to children and young people and how to mitigate for these risks. Find more information here (https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/what-is-the-internet-of-things-iot)

 

BBC Own It App

Getting that first phone is a big moment for any child. But for parents and carers, it’s often a worrying time too. The Own It keyboard and app gives parents peace of mind by empowering children to make smart choices, and helping them to lead a positive life online.

 

The BBC Own It app allows child to use their phones as they would normally, however it adds the following features;

  • The keyboard will offer advice whenever they type.
  • They can journal & track their feelings and win badges as they reflect.
  • They can find help when they need it about the online world.
  • They can take quizzes to learn more about themselves.

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/childrens-responsive-ichef-live/r/800/1x/stay-safe/SBS2.png

Follow this link to find out more and to download the app from Apple or GooglePlay app store https://www.bbc.com/ownit/take-control/own-it-app

 

You can find more information at the following sites;

 

20 Dec 2019

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