Children and young people today have access to a range of technology, including games consoles where they can play online with others, computers, tablets and mobile phones. They are a way of keeping in touch and communicating with their friends.
If used safely they give children good opportunities to share information, communicate and learn. However, every parent needs to understand the possible dangers, and more importantly what to do if they are worried about their child’s use of the technology or the people they are contacting on it.
As part of our role as parents, teachers and school staff, we have to talk to our children about keeping safe online and the dangers there are and how to protect themselves. The clear message is that the world changes but children don’t. They can be at risk from online activity, including social media, texting and sites such as Instagram, as well as computer games they are playing, and this may all happen from inside their own home where we presume they are safe.
On each page of our website is the CEOP button:
If you have a worry or concern about being safe online, as a child or parent, you can click on this button and report it to trained experts who will deal with your concern. This relates to ANY website or online concern, including social media and online gaming. See their CEOP website for further information.
They also have lots of information for children and parents about online safety, how to stay safe and what to do if you are worried. If you have been a victim of online abuse or you are worried about someone else, report it through CEOP.
Their website is ceop.police.uk/safetycentre
CEOP also have information on thinkuknow.co.uk for children from 5-19, and for parents, carers and school staff.
If you are not ready to make a direct report about an online safety concern, you can speak anonymously to Childline as a child, young person or adult via the website
childline.org.uk or ring 0800 1111
The Breck Foundation is raising the awareness of playing safe whilst using the internet. Breck Bednar was a 14 year old boy, from Caterham, Surrey who loved technology and online gaming. He was groomed via the internet and murdered on February 17th 2014 by another young person he met online.
This foundation has been set up in his memory to help other young people enjoy playing online but crucially to be aware of some simple rules to stay safe.
They tell you to always remember that the friends that are made online are not like your real friends.
They also have lots of information on their website www.breckfoundation.org on how to stay safe online and useful resources for parents and children.
|Be aware||Opening files, accepting emails, IM messages, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or nasty messages|
|Report||Tell your parent, or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied|
|Educate||Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real friends and family|
|Communicate||Meeting someone you have only been in contact with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents or carers permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time|
|Keep Safe||Keep safe by being careful not to give your personal information when you are chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number, password, location|
Please click on the link below for an informative magazine which will support you in ensuring games for your child are age appropriate.
Advice for parents – what to do if your child sees something upsetting online – saferinternet.org.uk/blog/advice-parents-what-do-if-your-child-sees-something-upsetting-online
Google has announced a new service called Google Family Link. The app helps parents set online guidelines for their children and stay on top of their child’s online activities as they explore the internet using an Android device.
By using Family Link, parents can help manage the apps their child can use; approve or block the apps the child wants to download from the Google Play Store, keep an eye on screen time, see how much time they spend online with weekly or monthly activity reports, set device bedtime, see their child’s location and remotely lock the device.
The app is available for children’s android devices, but the parent controlled app is available for both Android and iPhone. To find out more, click here.
Google aims to have the children’s app for iPhone soon.