The internet has changed all of our lives, particularly our children’s. For parents and carers this opens up a whole new world of things to be aware of.
You might be struggling to keep up with the things your child is doing online, you might wonder whether what they are doing is safe, and you might also be thinking how can I be as good a parent online as I am offline?
As a school we work closely in conjunction with the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB), The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and to help provide our students, staff and parents with the best guidance possible.
In June 2019, HM Government set out new directions for teaching online safety, these now form a significant part of our Computing lessons at school. You can find out more here.
CEOP have set up a website dedicated for parents, www.thinkuknow.co.uk, to offer help about children using the internet safely. Advice also includes how to deal with cyberbullying, grooming, inappropriate websites, losing control over pictures and videos and hacking, viruses and security.
Here are some Top Tips to help get you started:
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.
Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
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. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls.
Online safety Advice
The information found on this page and its links are designed to help you and your children understand the internet and how some of the devices can be utilised or restricted.
So what are 'smart' devices?
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that links several billion devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks. There are many ways to access the internet including computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, TVs and games consoles. These devices are often referred to as ‘Smart’ which simply means they can connect to the internet.
There are many benefits of the internet; however there are many risks too.
Guide to access, restrictions and safe Internet use
The following links will take you to recommendations about what might or might not be appropriate for children at given age groups. Use this as a guide to help consider what might be right for your own family.
Internet access using different devices
Some children will have access to a number of different devices which connect to the Internet. When thinking about what you wish your children to be able to do online, you must also consider whether restrictions need ot be applied to these too. The following links provide clever ways of managing access on a number of common devices.
PlayStation: http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/ps3/current/basicoperations/parentallock.html you can also take a look at http://manuals.playstation.net/document/gb/ps4/settings/restrict.html
Use of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter etc)
Social Media is an instrument of communication; like a newspaper, radio or a TV. It is widely used to share information, photos and videos. There are currently over 1 billion uses of Facebook in the world. Any media or posts (pictures, comments or messages) that are uploaded online cease to be your property. Please check the Terms and Conditions of any sites you or your children use. The general guidance is an age restriction of 14 years old.
There has been a meteoric rise in the number of games played online over the last ten years. These games not only offer interaction and entertainment but many facilitate communication between users. This is often unregulated and should be monitored very closely. Please see below for guidance on reporting any concerns you may have.
Useful website list for concerned parents
The latest information on the sites children may like to visit and use. Most importantly, there’s also a place which anyone can use to report if they feel uncomfortable or worried about someone they are chatting to online. The site is run by the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection service).
Guidance and advice offered by the Metropolitan Police Force.
Children focussed advice and guidance.
Help and advice for using the internet more efficiently.
Family Lives works around the clock, transforming the lives of families, supporting parents and making happier relationships, happier families and a stronger society.
All sorts of useful advice for parents.
Common Sense Media improves the lives of kids and families by providing independent reviews, age ratings, & other information about all types of media.
If you would like any further advice or guidance please just ask at the school office or contact us through our website.