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Children at our school use the internet on a regular basis as part of their learning. In school, we have regular online safety activities to remind children of the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
What is Online Safety?
It can be called E Safety (or e-safety), Online Safety or Internet Safety, but it all means the same thing. It’s about risk; it’s about being aware of the possible threats that online activity can bring, and how to deal with them.
These risks are grouped into four categories:
- Conduct: children’s behaviour may put them at risk
- Content: access to inappropriate or unreliable content may put children at risk
- Contact: interaction with unsuitable, unpleasant or dangerous people may put children at risk
- Commercialism: children’s use of platforms with hidden costs may put them at risk
Talking to Children about Online Safety
Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2019, released in February 2020, found that between the ages of nine and ten smartphone ownership doubles. What does this mean for online safety? How can parents keep children safe online? This can be a daunting prospect, but it’s important. Your kids need to know they can talk to you if something does go wrong.
Keeping children safe online is all about openness and honesty. Talking to them about their online activity in the same way you would do about anything else will help them to relax and, if anything is troubling them, they’ll be more likely to tell you about it. Conversations about online safety should engage young people on the topics of interest to them, whether that may be social media, gaming, chatting, or browsing and learning, as well as giving support, guidance and advice on how to behave and report content if needed.
If you can focus on these three key principles, you will find your conversations about online safety are well-received and have a lasting effect.
Make sure your children or the young people you are speaking with feel trusted. If you do not, you will quickly find any conversations you have about being online become defensive and protective, creating an environment of privacy, uncertainty, and silence.
The internet is incredible. Jaw-droppingly, mind-blowingly, world-changingly amazing. The potential it holds is unfathomable and it can enrich our lives in ways that were never possible for humankind before 1990. The benefits of being online far outweigh the risks.
By giving young people the tools and strategies to navigate their online experience safely, you will empower them to achieve and discover more. When we practice online safety, we unlock great potential in ourselves and the people with whom we interact.
Useful websites for parents and children to learn more about E-Safety can be found at:
Cyber Sprinters for 7-11 year olds.The Cyber Protect & Prevent Officer at Hertfordshire Police has introduced some new teaching resources. Developed by the NCSC and quality assured by the PSHE Association, these free teaching resources include an award-winning online game and unique interactive short film that you may wish to share with your children to help them to develop key cyber security knowledge, skills and behaviours — this will help them to navigate the risks of online life more safely.
Know IT All - Lots of useful advice for keeping yourselves and your children safe on the Internet.
Kidscape – An organisation which helps to prevent bullying and child abuse.
Childline – ChildLine is the free helpline for children and young people in the UK.
Net Smartz Kids– Click on the image opposite to visit the Net Smartz Kids website for lots of e-safety activities.
Childnet International – website to “help make the Internet a great and safe place for children”.
Parent Information – Expert information to help children and young people stay safe online.
UK Safer Internet Centre – E-safety tips, advice and resources.
NSPCC Online Safety – Helpful advice and tools you can use to help keep your child safe whenever and wherever they go online.
Kidsmart - An award-winning internet safety programme for children. The Kid Smart website is a brilliant resource for learning about e-safety. It has lots of top tips on issues such as social networking and online gaming. It is aimed at children in Key Stage 2 but also has advice for parents and carers.
Childnet - This website provides lots of links to useful websites relating to e-safety for parents and carers.
BBC Staysafe - Test your Internet safety knowledge with Hacker and help the Horrible Histories gang stay safe online.This site has lots of useful advice and quizzes for children to take part in.
Think U Know – containing internet safety advice for those aged from 5 to 16, along with parents and teachers, this site is produced by CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).
Thinkuknow Cybercafe - Click on Dongle the Rabbit to visit his pages where your child can take an e-safety quiz, learn an e-safety song or download the e-safety rules screen saver (with adult's permission). https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Hector's Safety Button - Click the link to download Hector's Safety Button. This is a useful resource to have at home, because if your child sees something that makes them feel confused or scared when using the computer, they can click on Hector (or one of his friends) to cover the screen while they get some help.
Digital Parenting – highlights the potential risks of technology and gives you expert advice
PARENTSAFE – LGFL advice for parents