Being safe online, whether at home or at school, is a central part of our pastoral strategy.
Technology can support and enhance learning, and the internet can be an effective tool for learning, collaborating and communicating. Parents and teaching staff play a pivotal role in helping young people to understand the online world, recognise risks and stay safe online.
We need to show pupils:
- how to use technology in a safe and responsible way;
- how to behave appropriately online;
- what to do if they are worried about something they see online or that is sent to them electronically.
Keeping our pupils safe online
Blanchelande promotes e-safety and cyberbullying and radicalisation awareness through PSHE and ICT lessons, and through assemblies.
- Cyberbullying is when bullying occurs online rather than in person, and although it may happen away from school, it is within the school’s remit to investigate incidents and apply our anti-bullying and behaviour policies, both available on our website.
- Our school internet access provider operates a filtering system that restricts access to inappropriate materials.
- Pupils read and sign our Acceptable Use of ICT policy, containing the rules for staying safe online in school.
How parents can help
All parents know that the internet is a major forum for children to learn, play, socialise and express themselves. It is a highly creative place of amazing opportunities. But this technology brings with it real dangers that parents and children must actively avoid, such as bullying, contact from strangers or the possibility of them seeing illegal or inappropriate content.
The following checklist may help you decrease online risks. Here are some conversation starter ideas from Childnet.
- Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online. Understand what the different ratings for games and apps mean and look up the ratings here.
- Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
- Make a point of discussing the potential risks of social networks and help them to set appropriate privacy settings. Remind them that the Internet is a public place and explain why it is important not to give out personal information.
- Explain that any comments or images they post online could be there permanently and could be accessed by anyone including future employers, college, or university. Using social networking sites to harass others, even outside of school hours, will be taken seriously and dealt with in accordance with our behaviour and anti-bullying policies.
- Be curious - ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice and how to report or block on the services they use. Listen to your child when they talk about what happens online and if a problem does occur, try not to place blame, but remain calm and supportive and report any abuse to authorities.
- Think about how you use the internet as a family. What could you do to get more out of the internet together and further enjoy your lives online? Set ground rules as to how much time is spent each day on games and on social media.
- Encourage them to help. Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
Further information and resources
- The NSPCC provide advice on their website for talking about difficult topics. They also host a website called NSPCC NetWare, where parents can find out everything they need to know about the social networking sites their children might be accessing from Pinterest and Musically to Snapchat and Instagram.
- Saferinternet.org.uk provides tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep your child safe online.
- Childnet is a non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
- Internetmatters.org has advice on cyberbullying, how to talk to your children about internet safety and quick guides to different types of social media such as Instagram and Snapchat.
- Common Sense Media enables you to check the age appropriateness of a film, TV programme, game, app, website, or book.
- Smart Phone Safe offers information on how to keep your child safe when they are using a smartphone.
- Advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying from the Department for Education (UK).
- Online parents support website from the Department for Education. It has advice on everything from keeping children safe from online trolls to WhatsApp - a guide for parents.
- Young People and Social Networking, and Supporting Young People Online, leaflets from Childnet.
- Think U Know advice for young people and parents about bullying or other forms of abuse via social media, emails or text messages.
- Passfault evaluates the strength of passwords.
- Digital Parenting Magazine is an initiative by Vodafone developed in partnership with The Parent Zone. Contains articles about cyberbullying, sexting, bringing together advice from academics, psychologists and other experts to keep young people safe in the digital world.
These links are provided for information purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement by Blanchelande College.