Online safety advice during Covid-19
During this period of online learning at home, we understand that children will be making more use of technology to complete work set by their teachers. As a school we want to make sure that all children stay as safe as possible whilst using technology. Whilst children are at home, it is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that their children are being supervised whilst online..
As parents, there are many ways in which you can ensure that your children are safe online.
Almost all devices allow parental controls to be set. These can be adjusted depending on the ages of the children. They can :-
- Stop children putting new apps on a device until the parents approve them
- Reduce the chance of a child accidentally spending money on virtual goods
- Limit the time that children use a device without having a break
A good starting point is the internet matters website https://www.internetmatters.org/ go to the SETTING CONTROLS section at the top.
Probably the best thing you can do to help your son or daughter is to talk to them regularly about how they use technology, which apps and sites they use and who their online friends are. Some children struggle with online relationships perhaps either sending or receiving hurtful messages. Parents and carers will be able to help guide their children through this difficult area. If children receive unpleasant messages these can usually be reported and each app or site will have a different way of doing this. All children have been taught about SMART rules and how to tell an adult if something is worrying them online.
Age limits and Safe-searching
In the UK the NSPCC have a site called Net-Aware https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ which explains many current apps, the risks and the benefits of their use.
It is advised that children use safe search engines which are more user friendly and suitable for children of primary school age. One such example is: https://www.kidzsearch.com/
Also for videos ‘YouTube Kids’ is a different version of the main YouTube and is more suitable for children, (Please note that this can only be accessed via an app and is not web-based).
I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about the age restrictions for many Social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. Creating an account/ channel on sites such as these is restricted to children aged 13 and above.
Further information about E- safety and to some websites which help parents to understand the possible pit falls of Social Networking websites and Apps.
E- safety activities for Children
https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ is the website aimed at children and their parents from the National Crime Agency. It has lots of useful suggestions and advice on how to report issues. It also has games and activities including Jessie and Friends for the younger children and Band Runner for the older ones.
For the youngest children being tricked into sharing pictures can be an issue. LGfL have produced a lovely free video https://undressed.lgfl.net/ which has some great advice and a very catchy song!
The NSPCC has a wealth of information and provides advice to parents and have a free helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 for advice on anything that is worrying them.