With our children growing up in an age where much of their learning, socialising and play is done online it is important that we as a school and as parents are well informed about the opportunities available and how they can be used safely.
We run regular internet safety days in school for children, staff and parents to ensure everyone is kept safe and informed whilst taking best advantage of the internet.
Following the internet safety day in school we have been given the following information sheet which is very useful for learning about the potential risks and discovering who to contact with any concerns.
Talk, talk, talk. The most important thing for parents and carers is to have lots of conversations with their children and young people about what they are using, how these website/apps work, why they enjoy them, who else is using them etc. In this way they may be able to identify any risky content, inappropriate contact or conduct at an early stage.
2. Allow access to the internet from devices within the family space. We do not recommend children and young people having computers or games consoles etc in their rooms.
3. Check virus protection. Ensure that mobile devices and laptops have the relevant software to protect from viruses and other malware. There are several free brands that update regularly and provide good protection or there is other commercially available software.
4. Subscribe to their Internet Service Provider’s family filtering service. All major providers now have this service free of charge – the account holder simply goes to their account online and ticks the relevant boxes. This will prevent different types of content from being available via the router in a particular location. Note this does not have any effect on devices that are not accessing the internet via the router eg 3G/4G phone signal.
5. Use Safe Searching. Most search engines such as Google and YouTube have a safe search facility under the settings menu. Parents and carers of young children particularly may wish to use this to stop them coming across inappropriate material.
6. Tighten privacy settings on websites and apps. Parents and carers should try to ensure that any social media accounts or apps are set to the highest privacy settings to prevent unknown or inappropriate people from viewing or contacting children and young people – this can be found under Settings in most websites/apps. Often the default setting for these types of account is public meaning that everyone can see content including pictures and videos.
7. Consider using Parental Controls on devices. Parents and carers may wish to use Parental controls on laptops, mobile devices or games consoles. These controls can limit the times the device can be used, whether apps/games can be downloaded and whether the internet can be accessed. iPads, Windows and new Android (4.3 or higher operating system) have built in parental controls: for older Android devices, apps may need to be downloaded to provide parental controls.
Parents/Carers course at Bournemouth LV Streetwise Safety Centre are available for a very small cost.
Childline – Private and Confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19 to find advice and discuss issues with counsellors.
NSPCC - Advice for parents particularly aimed at those with children aged 8-12 years.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – Advice on internet safety for young people, parents and professionals. Report appropriate content or contact with a young person.
Internet Watch Foundation – UK hotline for reporting criminal content including child abuse content so that it can be removed.
Safe School and Communities Team Dorset – Advice and links about different issues relating to young people including internet safety.
ThinkUknow – Advice on internet safety for young people, parents and professionals
UK Safer Internet Centre – Advice on internet safety for young people, parents and professionals. Go to advice and resources- Parents and Carers section for information on parental controls for home internet, parental controls on devices and privacy settings on social networks.
National Centre for Domestic Violence- Help with injunction- 24 hour Emergency 08448044999