Online Safety Day
On 6th February, I was invited by Mrs Burton to a special e-safety assembly for KS2 pupils. It was a pleasure to see the children come into the hall in a quiet and orderly way and settle down to hear what Mrs Burton had to say.
Equally impressive is the care and concern shown by all the staff in ensuring that the pupils in the school are fully aware of the benefits, but also the dangers of using the Internet. Given that no child under the age of 13 should have a social media account, it was surprising how many of them put up their hands when asked who had a Facebook, Instagram or similar account. Mrs Burton emphasised that the ‘stranger danger’ with which they are all familiar exists equally online. They were urged never to give their name, age, address or details of their school to anyone online, and most certainly never arrange to meet someone whom they have met through a chat room etc.
Similarly, they were warned that whatever they posted online would always be there – even if you think it has been deleted, it will make an indelible digital footprint, which could prove harmful to future career plans if it is offensive or contravenes the law. Before posting anything, they should imagine how they would feel if someone said anything unkind or hateful to them – “ if you wouldn’t like it yourself, then don’t say it about anyone else”.
Like ‘stranger-danger’ , bullying does not just exist in the real world but online, and increasingly cyber-bullying is subject to the same rules and laws which protect us all from harassment.
Above all, Mrs Burton emphasised that there is always someone to whom they can turn for advice, and if there is anything about which they feel unsure, unhappy or uncomfortable, they must tell someone – a parent or grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a friend, an older brother or sister, a teacher or any adult in school.
The assembly was followed up by a video in class about a child meeting someone online; I hope that this, together with the excellent assembly will provoke lively and open discussion in families and that all adults together, prepare our children to be safe and keep others safe in an increasingly digitised world.
Advice and safety tips for parents and carers as well as games and activities for children to learn about internet safety is at
Top Tips for E Safety (Primary Age Children)
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
- Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls