We have put together a series of pages and links that we hope will help you learn, talk and feel empowered to deal with the growing issues that surround Internet Safety and the dangers that children and young people face.
Risks you child may face online
As with the real world, there are risks online and it’s important that we teach your children together about how to stay safe.
Some of the risks children will face are:
Cyberbullying is when someone uses the internet or technology to bully someone else.
Because we use the internet and technology everywhere, this type of bullying can affect young people not just at school, but at home as well.
It can sometimes be hard to identify who the bully is because they can block their number, email, or post things on websites anonymously. The nature of this bullying means it can have a large audience, many of whom may not even realise they are being bullies.
This kind of bullying can be evidenced. With bullying before this technology, it could be one person’s word against another’s, but with cyber-bullying you can save texts or print out emails / IM’s / Webpages. This can be used as proof to catch the bully.
If your child has been cyberbullied, make sure that they:
Do not respond to the bully.
Block contact with the bully.
Save relevant communication, such as texts, emails or webpages.
Report the incident either to the website or service provider, your child’s school or, if it is persistent harassment, to the police.
You’ve probably heard of the term ‘grooming’ before. In essence, this is a process used by people with a sexual interest in children to attempt to engage them in sexual acts either over the internet or in person.
Sadly, these people do attempt to make contact with children over the internet. This may be in social networking sites, chatrooms or games. They could be pretending to be someone else, or showing an interest in them.
It is important that children understand that people like this exist and that they should never do anything online or offline that they are uncomfortable with.
Grooming is a process of manipulating a child to gain control over them; as a parent or carer you should be approachable so that if your child is concerned about something, they know they can talk to you.
If you are concerned about someone’s behaviour towards your child, you can report this directly to CEOP.
Young people can report directly to CEOP and this can be done using the CEOP reporting button on the School’s website.
The term ‘sexting’ is used to describe the sending and receiving of sexually explicit photos, messages or video clips by text, email or posting them on social networking sites.
1 in 4 children have received unwanted sexual images via a text message or other messaging based form of communication.
The internet is open for anyone to post material on it; therefore sometimes your child may see things that they wish they hadn’t, or are inappropriate for their age.
Parental controls can help reduce the risk of your child seeing age inappropriate sites. However, no parental filters are 100% effective and inappropriate material can always slip through the net.
You should encourage your child to tell you if they have seen anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or upset so that you can help them.
If you think the content might be illegal, like sexual images of children and young people, you can report it directly to an organisation called the Internet Watch Foundation: http://www.iwf.org.uk. It’s their job to make sure that things like this are taken off the internet.
Pictures and videos can be copied, shared and spread at great speed. What may have started as being posted for a few friends can very quickly end up in the hands of the entire school and beyond. Some young people have posted or sent sexualised pictures of themselves to a boyfriend or girlfriend and found them shared further. Some of the main risks with this type of image being in the hands of someone else include:
Bullying – young people can be bullied by others about the content of pictures.
Distress – knowing that other people they do not know are looking at personal pictures can be very upsetting.
Blackmail – if the images end up in the hands of someone with bad intentions, they may be used to attempt to manipulate the child.
Reputation – once something is online it is very difficult to remove. Images can become part of a young person’s ‘digital footprint’ and potentially affect them in the long-term, such as if someone searches their name as part of a job interview.
Young people are growing up online and may be posting information which in the past would have been written in their secret diary. These thoughts, opinions and activities provide a window to their lives at a time where jobs and responsibility might be far from their minds.
The internet provides permanent records of these high and lows which, if not controlled carefully, may be accessible to future employers, universities or friends.
Young people should think about what they share, where they share it and who they share it with – what seems funny now, may not do in the future.
With limitless information, endless games and the ability to escape from the real world, young people’s relationship with the internet can become un-healthy.
This can be a problem when a young person’s online behaviour diverts and distracts them from other activities – this might be school work, seeing their friends or even sleeping and eating.
The amount of time young people spend playing games can become unhealthy. If they are gaming against people around the world, they may want to be involved in activities that take place at unsociable hours and may find it difficult to stop. The fact that other players are real people can put pressure on young people to take part as they don’t want to let their gaming friends down.
Young people can be someone else online. Therefore, if they are unhappy in the real world, they may want to spend more time online.
As a parent or carer, you should be alert to the amount of time they are spending online and aware of the issues that might be causing a dependency.
Have you stopped to think about how many devices in your home access the internet? … Are your children allowed free reign? … Do you know what your child is looking at? … Have they seen something that has upset them? … Have they talked to you about it?
When was the last time you ‘Googled’ your name? … What does the whole world know about you?
Most social networking sites, like Facebook or Instagram, now give you a lot of control over what you share and who you share it with. Through a site’s ‘privacy settings’ you are able to control:
Who can search for you – this means that when people search your name on a site, your profile does not come up.
Who sees what – this means that you can control the information you share, like your photos or ‘wall’ posts. You can usually restrict this to friends only, friends of friends, certain groups of friends, or everyone. We would recommend that for young people it is restricted to friends only.
Who can post information about you – some sites enable others to ‘tag’ photos of you or share other information about you, like your location. Many sites enable you to restrict people’s ability to do this.
It is important that you stay up-to-date with the privacy settings that your child uses and help them stay in control of their profile. For more information about privacy settings in Facebook:
You can also report underage children:
You can enable Restrictions, also known as parental controls, on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Restrictions stop you from using specific features and applications. Learn more about the types of Restrictions and how to enable or disable them on your device.
All smartphones offer many ways to communicate; including texting, calling, accessing social networking sites (like Facebook), instant messaging, video calling and multiplayer games. Talk with your child about how they use their iPhone to communicate.
Encourage your child to think about what they say, send or post when using their phone; once it has been sent, they are no longer in control. The internet is the same whether accessed through a phone or from a computer – so internet safety rules like the SMART rules2 apply to phones too.
Have you set Parental Controls?