The internet is amazing. Children can play, learn, create and connect, opening up a whole world of exciting possibilities. But with the digital world changing all the time, how can you make sure your child’s staying safe? It is a real worry for most parents but fear not, there is lots of information available about how best to ensure your child is safe online.
As a good starting point, why don’t you and your child complete the safer internet quiz to rate your awareness and the influence that the internet has on our day-to-day lives?
Online Safety Newsletters
Each month, The Heys School publishes an online safety newsletter to help you to stay up-to-date with online developments, risks and trends in order to safeguard your children and help them safely navigate the online world. We hope that you will find them helpful!
Here are some other websites, resources and tips that you might find useful:
Social Media / Apps
Social media is now an inevitable part of our lives. Used responsibly, it can be a fun way to stay in contact with friends. However, there are also considerable risks involved so it is important to remain informed about current social media trends, age recommendations and guidelines and the differing functions these apps and sites have.
This document has been made available to school by the Police Intelligence Unit and provides invaluable information about different apps and their uses and how they can make our young people vulnerable. It is a very useful read to help you understand and monitor your child’s online activity and help keep them safe online. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive and new apps are being created all the time. It is a great idea to check your child’s phone regularly to ensure you are fully aware of their online activity. We also recommend that you take your child’s phone off them overnight or set up a “do not disturb” period to ensure that they are not sending / receiving messages at unsociable hours.
As a school, we are committed to promoting the safer use of social media with our pupils and families.
Netaware is a fantastic resource. It gives a very simple overview and risk rating for the most popular apps and games that children and young people are using. It also gives ideas about how to start conversations with children about what they like to do online and how they stay safe.
For more information, please visit: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/
National Online Safety Website:
New games and apps are regularly being released and existing ones updated.
The National Online Safety charity publish regular information sheets to help parents navigate the minefield of these changes. They offer tips and guidance on how safe each app / game is and also how to set up appropriate parental controls to reduce or remove risk.
These can be found here: https://nationalonlinesafety.com/guides
Parent Zone provides a hub of advice for parents and carers of children of all ages to help them safely navigate the internet and any challenges or difficulties it poses. It has a range of resources that can be used with children to help them understand the importance of being safe online.
More information can be found on their website: https://www.parentzone.org.uk/
Take a look at their parent guides which covers a wide range of platforms, apps and games:
CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. It is a law enforcement agency whose aim is to keep children and young people safe from online sexual exploitation and abuse.
Parents / carers and children and young people can report directly to CEOP if they are concerned about the way that someone has been communicating with them online.
For more information or to make a report, go to: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
The ThinkUKnow website is designed for children and young people who want advice around issues they have encountered online. There are different areas of the site aimed at specific age groups:
11-13 years old: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/11_13/
14+ years old: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/
There is also a section for parents and carers:
Children will not automatically know how to use mobile phones, games consoles, apps and social media safely and responsibly. Often, they will need to be shown how to do this and not teaching our children how to be safe online can place them at risk. However, as well as teaching our children how to be safe online, there are also certain measures that parents / carers can put in place to help manage their child’s online activity safely, sensibly, and responsibly. This means that you can stay in control of what they see and do online, especially while they are learning.
Parental controls are a great way of ensuring your child only has access to age appropriate material online and restricts their access to prevent them from seeing or downloading anything that you might not consider appropriate. They exist to provide you with some reassurance and some control although they do not replace the need to regularly check your child’s devices and talking to them about their online activity so you can be confident that they are safe in the digital world.
Please find below a link to a recommended online safety booklet which includes an overview of key parental controls for a range of devices including phones and consoles and computer operating systems, as well as apps for streaming TV, social media and downloading films and music. We strongly recommend that you safeguard your child by ensuring that any devices that they use have these controls in place, appropriate to their age range, until they leave school.
Would your child benefit from a Digital Detox? Are they over reliant on their devices and spending too much time online? Research shows that regular breaks away from technology is beneficial to young people. Learn more about how to support your child with a digital detox here:
Our top ten tips for online safety:
1) Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
2) Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore. Make sure you switch off location if you are posting live or others will know exactly where you are.
3) Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
4) Never give out your passwords.
5) Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
6) Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do.
7) Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
8) Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
9) Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
10) If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.
Our top ten tips for mobile phone safety:
1) Talk to a trusted adult if you see or receive anything that upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
2) Don’t reply to any nasty messages you receive.
3) Don’t reply to a text from someone you don’t know, even it seems friendly.
4) Don’t answer calls from withheld numbers or numbers you don’t recognise, let it go to voicemail so you can screen before speaking to them.
5) Don’t take photographs or film without the person’s permission.
6) Don’t have your phone on show when out and about. Keep it somewhere safe and out of sight.
7) Don’t give your mobile number to someone you don’t know.
8) Don’t send pictures to someone you don’t know.
9) Don’t pass on any inappropriate images, always report them to a trusted adult.
10) Don’t take any inappropriate images of yourself. If someone asks to create and send an image, report this to a trusted adult. Images like this are very difficult to retract once they are out in the public domain.
Our top ten tips if you are experiencing bullying or unkindness online:
1) Tell a trusted adult what is happening.
2) Don’t respond or retaliate to bullying messages – it could make things worse.
3) Block users who send you nasty messages.
4) Save any abusive emails or messages (or texts) you receive.
5) Make a note of dates and times you receive bullying messages, as well as details you have of the user’s ID and the url.
6) Don’t pass on any cruel or unkind photos, videos or messages – this is cyberbullying.
7) If you are being persistently bullied online, change your user ID / profile and use a name that doesn’t give any information away about you. Only give this information to people you can really trust and ask them not to share it.
8) Visit bullying.co.uk – this is a website where trained counsellors can support you if you are being bullied, either by chatting online or by calling their free helpline. You can also find some top tips on how to stay safe – http://www.bullying.co.uk/
9) Talk to someone at ChildLine or get online safety advice at: http://www.childline.org.uk/talk/Pages/Talk.aspx
10) Visit http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ for more tips and advice on staying safe online.
Our top ten tips for managing and monitoring your child’s online activity:
- Help your child to maintain a healthy balance by ensuring that they don’t spend too much time online (this includes gaming) and that they take regular breaks.
- Check that the games / apps / social media that your child is using is age appropriate. Most phones have a facility to set up parental controls to ensure that your child can only access apps within their own age group. Games consoles can also be set up with parental controls.
- Be their virtual friend – download the same apps or try playing your child’s favourite games with them so you can learn more about their virtual habits and monitor their interactions. Be their “online friend” on social media so you know who they are talking to.
- Take your child’s devices off them overnight or set up a “do not disturb” period to ensure that sleep is not disturbed by online activity late at night.
- Regularly check your child’s virtual address books / contacts lists (including friends on social media) to ensure that your child knows each one in person. If you spot anyone that you don’t know, ask your child who they are and how they know them.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about any worries that they have concerning their online interactions with others.
- Teach your child the “granny” rule. If they wouldn’t say it to their granny, don’t say it online!
- Contract with your child regarding how much time they are allowed to spend on time each day and stick to this, even though this can sometimes be difficult. Agree a time that your child should come off-line in the evening – prolonged use before bedtime can have a seriously detrimental impact on sleep patterns.
- Keep ahead of online trends / issues with our online safety newsletter.
- If in doubt, speak to your child’s form teacher or year team for advice. Report anything which concerns you such as inappropriate image sharing, online bullying etc.
Did you know that as part of the partnership between the NSPCC and O2, you can take a device in to any O2 shop (you don’t have to be a customer) and ask for an appointment with a guru, who can show you how to set up safety settings? There is also a helpline that offers advice and support about online safety Tel: 0808 800 5002. For more information, go to: https://www.o2.co.uk/help/safety-and-security/age-restricted-content-and-age-verification
If in doubt, contact school:
We would always urge you to contact us if you have any concerns in respect of your child’s online safety. Our pastoral team will do what they can to support and advise, even if these issues originate outside of school.