With the increase in electronic communication, ensuring you and your family stay safe online can be difficult and, at times, confusing. Issues seem to change daily making it increasingly challenging to keep your children safe while using the internet or in their day to day communications. To help you tackle this, there are below a number of useful links and helpful information. This is not an exclusive list but may help you to start the discussion at home.
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)
This is the primary resource recommended to anyone wishing to find information about child online safety or report suspected abuse. They work with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinate activity against these threats to bring offenders to account. They protect children from harm online and offline, directly through National Crime Agency led operations and in partnership with local and international agencies.
This website will help you navigate some of the most important issues. It suggests where you may want to set boundaries, gives some useful tips on the tools available and all the information you need if you or your child encounter anything worrying online.
As part of their provision they provide starting points for a family IT Acceptable Use Policy:
In conjunction with CEOP this is an educational website aimed directly at young people to help them understand the dangers of social networking and communicating online. There is also useful information for parents including information and resources to help teach young people how to stay safe when using the internet.
In conjunction with CEOP this site covers a range of parenting issues, but starts from the assumption that young people make little distinction between their online and offline lives and the issues for you as parents are often the same. The aim is to help parents help their children be discriminating, web-literate and resilient.
Educate Against Hate.
This Government website gives parents, teachers and school leaders practical advice on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation.
In School Resources, Activities and Events
- An annual introduction for Year 7 parents to e-Safety during our pre-start afternoon.
- An annual event for parents, students and staff on e-Safety with Jane Binnion a Social Media trainer https://www.janebinnion.com/
- Encouraging our students to engage in Safer Internet Day through form activities and year assemblies. To find out more visit https://www.saferinternet.org.uk
- All students are expected to sign and abide by an Acceptable Use Policy.
- A page in our student planners with some key tips on staying SMART online.
If you have any questions we may be able to answer please do not hesitate to contact one of our in school accredited e-safety representatives via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Alternatively contact can be made via the usual school channels. (Please be aware where this relates to issues with students in school we will not be able to offer confidentiality.)
Online Safety – Tips for Parents
1. Have the conversation early and often
It’s easier to have conversations about online safety little and often, rather than trying to cover everything at once. As your children get older, and technology changes, make sure you keep talking about what they’re doing online and how to stay safe.
2. Explore online together
Ask your child to show you their favourite things to do online, and show an interest in what they do – just like you would offline.
3. Know who your child is talking to online
It’s important to keep track of who your child’s talking to. Ask them questions like:
- who do they know that has the most online friends?
- how can they know so many people?
- how do they choose who to become friends with online?
4. Set rules and agree boundaries
It’s useful to agree on some ground rules together. These will depend on your child’s age and what you feel is right for them, but you might want to consider:
- the amount of time they can spend online
- when they can go online
- the age rating of websites they can visit or activities they can take part in
- sharing images and videos
- how to treat people online and not post anything they wouldn’t say face-to-face.
5. If your child plays online games
- check the age rating before they play
- make sure you know who they’re playing with
- talk to them about what information is OK to share with other players
- negotiate the amount of time they spend playing online games.
6. Use parental controls to filter, restrict, monitor or report content
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky or BT, provide controls to help you filter or restrict content.
- Laptops, phones, tablets, game consoles and other devices that connect to the internet have settings to activate parental controls.
- Software packages are available – some for free – that can help you filter, restrict or monitor what your child can see online.
7. Check they know how to use privacy settings and reporting tools
Check the privacy settings on any online accounts your child has, like Facebook or games, and remind them to keep their personal information private. Talk to your child about what to do if they see content or are contacted by someone that worries or upsets them. Make sure they know how to use tools to report abuse.
8. Consider limiting your child’s access to mobile devices
We are experiencing an increasing number of well-being issues due to the misuse of mobile technology. Unwanted and unpleasant messages can arrive at any time of the day or night and can be extremely upsetting. A very good tip is to insist that your child leaves the mobile phone downstairs before they go to bed. It is also advisable that children do not have computers in their bedroom. This way, children can at least get some sleep without interruption or harassment from technology.
The government has published guidance for authorities, including schools, on their responsibilities under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, which came into effect on 1 July 2015.
Under the Act, schools and other authorities have a duty to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
What is the Prevent strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.
The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?
From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.
This means we have a responsibility to protect students from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from other dangers.
Importantly, we can provide a safe place for students to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
What does this mean in practice?
Many of the things we already do in school to help students become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.
· Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
· Challenging prejudices and racist comments
· Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
· Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
We will also protect students from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils.
Different schools will carry out the Prevent duty in different ways, depending on the age of the students and the needs of the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent relate to British values?
Schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
· The rule of law
· Individual liberty and mutual respect
· Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
The school will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the year group involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others.
We will give students the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Ideology – a set of beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremism and terrorism
Where to go for more information
Contact the school
If you have any questions or concerns about the Prevent strategy and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
The following sources may also be useful for further information:
Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales, HM Government – www.homeoffice.gov.uk
Frequently asked questions, Prevent For Schools – http://www.preventforschools.org/?category_id=38
What is Prevent? Let’s Talk About It – http://www.ltai.info/what-is-prevent/