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Keeping children safe online is important. Should you wish to talk to a member of staff for advice or if you have a concern, please contact the school office to make an appointment.
Online safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Bredgar CEP School.
All of our pupils are taught how to stay safe and behave appropriately online, but this approach is only successful if we work together and reinforce safe behaviour at home too.
Here are some simple online safety tips to help parents/ carers make safer choices and support their children online.
Make informed choices:
In order to protect children online, it is vital that we fully understand the capabilities and make informed decisions about new games, apps and devices, before providing them to children.
Do your research before purchasing a new device or game for your child; find out what other parents think, search for parental advice online and ask the shop about pre-installed apps or tools.
- Always check the PEGI age rating and descriptors on games before buying them for your child and carefully consider whether the content is appropriate for them.
- Take time to find out whether the device or game has an online component or allows your child to access to the internet, which allows them to connect with others online.
- Familiarise yourself with the privacy, safety and security tools on new devices; ensure you are in a position to teach your child how to make their accounts private and how to block and report other people online.
Much like the ‘real world’, parents need to set boundaries for children online; this provides them with a clear understanding of the limits, expectations and consequences of their behaviour.
- Discuss and agree as a family, how the internet and technology will be used in your home; consider nominating ‘tech-free’ areas or times, such as: your child’s bedroom or dinner time.
- Discuss online boundaries too; let children use the lessons they learn in school to tell you what they think is/isn’t acceptable for them to do online and adapt these messages into your own family rules.
Take a look at the conversation starter ideas and family agreement template available from Childnet International: www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers/have-a-conversation
Filters and Parental Controls:
Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to illegal, unwanted or unpleasant content online, but there are some simple steps you can take at home to help minimise this risk.
- Make sure you install anti-virus software, filters and parental controls on your child’s device before giving it to them.
- Ensure that you are role-modelling good behaviour by using strong passwords yourself; make them difficult to guess and don’t share them with your children.
- Remember that blocks and filters are not 100% effective and you can’t rely on them alone to protect your children, so remind them to tell you if they see something upsetting online.
Take a look at the interactive guide to parental controls available from Internet Matters: www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/interactive-guide/
Talk to your children:
Take an active interest in your child’s online life and engage in the digital world with them.
- Let your children teach you about their online world and how they use technology; playing new games and exploring websites together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.
- Make sure your children know that you are safe and approachable; remind them that they can tell you if something happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable, without being told off or punished.
You can find more advice about talking to you child about online safety from CEOP by clicking here.
Safer Internet Day 2018
Other useful websites for parents/carers:
- NSPCC guide to the most popular apps and websites available online
- CEOP website for advice and reporting abuse online
- Report illegal content online (including indecent images of children)
- Report inappropriate content online
- Free up-to-date security and technical advice
If you would like further support and advice regarding online safety, please contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead in school: Mrs. Madeleine Gower.
Here are some links to other websites and documents about e-safety.
For e-safety information and more general parenting challenges, go to www.parentinfo.org for help and advice.
Pokémon Go is a game where users can collect and trade creatures called Pokémon (Pocket Monsters). It uses ‘augmented reality’ (AR) to make it look like Pokémon have appeared in real life places by using the GPS and cameras on phones/devices. In the game players can collect Pokémon by walking around their local community to capture them as they appear. They can also visit ‘PokeStops’ to collect new items and visit ‘gyms’ to train their Pokémon and compete. PokeStops and Gyms are located in public places.
There are a range of risks for Pokémon Go players which have been featured in the global media which includes physical safety concerns (people walking into secluded, dangerous or busy areas), stranger danger (users may feel encouraged to speak to and meet strangers when collecting Pokémon), in-app purchasing (using real money to buy virtual goods), privacy risks (access to personal data), age restrictions (users under 13 require parental consent), data use implications (the game uses mobile data to access maps) and the impact on battery life (the game can quickly drain battery which could mean users are unable to use their device).
It is however important to be aware that the potential risks identified are not new risks to children (or indeed adults who may play the game) either online or in the “real” world so in most cases the response will be to ensure that players understand how to keep safe and for parents/carers to ensure that appropriate support and supervision is in place for children when using the app.
If parents/carers are engaged with their children’s internet use then the potential risks can be minimised and managed appropriately through regular discussions and appropriate supervision. Pokémon Go can provide a useful way for parents to explore important on and offline safety messages and reinforce safe behaviours.
As long as appropriate safety steps are taken, Pokémon Go could be viewed as an opportunity to engage in a fun family activity which encourages children and parents to go out together and be active and explore their communities in new and engaging ways.
The following links may be helpful for parents to help ensure that their family’s use of Pokémon Go is kept fun and safe.
To report criminal activity online: