Some of the issues you may be aware of surrounding internet use for children and young adults are as follows:
- Talking to your child about Online safety
- Online wellbeing
- Parental controls
Online life and offline life is just life
Talking to your child about Online safety
For many of us, we see our online lives and offline lives as different, but children are growing up with technology and the internet and for them there isn’t a difference; online life and offline life is just life.
Technology can move at an extraordinarily fast pace and it can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they’re doing online, who they might be speaking to or discussing the potential risks and issues.
There are lots of positives for children being online, however there can be negatives too. For some it can become overwhelming trying to keep up with friends, and the pressure can mount.
Many things can impact our online wellbeing, and you can take control of the choices made to reduce any negativity. Being aware of the impact of being online, just like you would be aware of the impact of offline activities, is the first step to managing your children's online wellbeing.
- manage the content that our children see,
- ensure interactions are suitable
- and manage how long they’re online, in balance with other activities.
There are several things you can do to help support a child with their wellbeing online, including specific apps, and looking at settings.
The online world gives us access to a huge amount of information and services, but the scale of information available also means that there is content that is inappropriate for children. What is or isn’t appropriate is up to individual parents and carers to decide, and could be based on things like age, ability, beliefs and family values.
What are parental controls?
Parental controls allow you to block and filter upsetting or inappropriate content. They work across your WiFi, phone network, individual apps and devices.
Parental controls can help you to:
- plan what time of day your child can go online and how long for
- create content filters to block apps that may have inappropriate content
- manage the content different family members can see.
The limits of parental controls
Whilst parental controls are a helpful tool there are limitations. So they shouldn’t be seen as a whole solution. Even if you’ve put things in place on your home broadband and your child’s device, they won’t help if your child connects to a different WiFi with no controls in place.
Parental controls are just part of the way you can help keep your child safe online.
More top tips include:
- Talking to your child. Explain why you are setting parental controls; to keep them safe. But also let them know that they can talk to you to discuss why certain settings are in place.
- Set good, strong passwords where you are able. On some parental controls you can set a password which prevents settings and features from being changed.
- Age is a significant factor; as children get older, restrictions and controls you use will change, but only at a pace that is appropriate for your child, not pressure from your child “because everyone else is allowed”.
- Content filters are never 100% effective, it is likely at some point that your child will see inappropriate or upsetting content and it is important that you are able to talk to them about this.
How is online safety taught in school?
Our online safety work is based upon two key documents:
The document below details how we cover Online Safety in our RHSE and Computing curriculum.
Online safety is also taught across the curriculum and during Safer Internet day and during Anti-Bullying week.
We also regularly assess children against the 8 areas of Education for a connected world using Project Evolve year 5 and year 6 children are assessed using the LGFL Safeskills quiz.
Acceptable Use Policies
Our school internet is filtered - Google web searches & Youtube both default to safe-search mode in school and children are appropriately supervised during internet use. Children are taught how to search safely, effectively, respectfully & responsibly. This involves thinking about appropriate key words to use and only visiting recognised sites. They are taught what action to take if they do see something upsetting. At home this may be turning off the screen and telling an adult immediately. We also include age-appropriate lessons on copyright and plagiarism.
Please be aware that Google Images cannot be effectively filtered and so children may be better using alternative sites, such as http://www.photosforclass.com/
If children receive inappropriate or bullying messages then it's important to keep them as evidence.
If you have any concerns or questions about online safety please arrange to speak to Andrew Knox (DSL) or Debs Hastings (DDSL)