Children love to use technology and from a younger and younger age are learning to navigate websites, online games, consoles and touch screen technology such as iPads and smartphones. We’ve produced this guide to help you keep your child safe whilst they use these new technologies.
In the same way that you set rules for most areas of your children’s lives, establish your expectations regarding online activities. A discussion with your child might include time spent online, sites that can be visited, and behaviour expected; remember, what’s right and wrong offline is also right and wrong online. It’s a great idea to agree these rules from the outset, so that you and your children are aware of their boundaries.
Placing your computer or laptop in a busy part of the house, e.g. the living room or kitchen, can be helpful. This makes it easier for you to be involved in their technology use. But remember, the internet can be accessed from a number of portable devices, for example smartphones, iPods, games consoles and tablets.
Children can often be enthusiastic users of technology. The challenge can be to harness this enthusiasm and ensure a balance, so that the use of technology does not negatively impact on other important areas of their lives. Agree time limits for using technology or remove devices from your child’s bedroom at night to avoid tiredness.
Many websites used by young people have reporting facilities built in. These can be used to report any misuse of the service directly to those responsible for the website.
If you are suspicious about the behaviour of others online, reports can be made to CEOP - part of the National Crime Agency. Inappropriate media content, online and offline can be reported via ParentPort.
Just like adults, teens use social networking to connect with friends - through chat, personal messages and sharing photos, videos, links and other kinds of information. They use these sites to announce achievements, wish each other a happy birthday and to plan social events such as going to the cinema or to a friend’s house.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter enables users to control the audience of their posts. Encourage your child to review their privacy settings and to make sure that they consider the audience when sharing content online.
It's also important to talk about the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. This also applies to using new technologies. Make sure your child knows where to go for support if someone ever harasses them. Help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post - anything they put online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.
Think before you post!
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and write or do something that may seem hilarious at the time. But, remember what you say can really hurt someone, or come back to haunt you. Think before you post. It only takes a second or two. Ask yourself if you really want to say it. Make sure you don’t mind if your friends, classmates or teachers hear about it later.
Also remember that any information you post - whether in a comment, a note or a video chat - might be copied, pasted and distributed in ways that you didn't intend. Before you post, ask yourself - would I be OK if this content was shared widely at school or with my future employer?
At the same time, we all make mistakes. If you find yourself wishing you hadn’t said or done something, it’s never too late to apologise.
Some important points to consider when using social networking sites:
Don’t share your password with anyone else - keep it private to protect your profile.
Only accept friend requests from people you actually know.
Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see.
Check and review your privacy settings - know what you are sharing and who you are sharing it with!
Snapchat is a fun messaging application for sharing moments through pictures, short videos, messages and video chat. Users can take a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend or add it to their Story to share with some or all of their friends. Users can also message friends with Chat and share live videos.
Users need to be aged 13 or over to use application such as Snapchat.
If your child uses Snapchat you should talk to them about the appropriate use of the application - for example, in the classroom is not an appropriate location to use the application.
Instagram is a social networking site based on photographs and short video clips. As with other networking sites, check your child’s privacy settings and remind them to only share with people they actually know. Again, users need to be aged 13 or over to use the application.
If your child is being harassed by someone through a mobile application, they can block users who cause them distress. A simple search online will show both you or your child how to block a user on any given social networking site or mobile phone application.
'Sexting' is an increasingly common activity among children and young people. It is the exchange of self-generated sexually explicit images through mobile picture messages or webcams over the internet. It can also refer to written messages.
As a parent, it is important to understand the risks so that you can talk to your child about how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable.
Young people may also call it: cybersex, sending a nudie, picture or selfie.
'Sexting' is often seen as flirting by children and according to research by the NSPCC, young people can feel that it's a part of normal life.
Young people may see 'sexting' as an harmless activity but there are risks. Taking, sharing or receiving an image, even voluntarily, can have a long-lasting negative impact. It may be common but 'sexting' is illegal. By sending an
explicit image a young person is producing and distributing child abuse images and risks being prosecuted, even if the picture is taken and shared with their permission.
Parental controls on your child’s mobile phone can help to monitor and restrict the content they can access. For more information, contact your mobile network provider.
If you are concerned about something that may have happened while online, you can take control. If you or your child is in immediate danger or want urgent help call 999 or contact your local police. Otherwise there are a number of ways you can access help and advice:
‘Think U Know’ has a section with advice for parents which is very useful and explains key terminology well as well as offering a monthly parent email.
‘Know IT All for Parents’ is a useful resource parents can use with their children to make sure that they get the most out of the internet.
‘Get Safe Online’ provides information and advice on using the internet safely at home.
‘BBC Online Safety’ helps you and your child use the internet in a safe way.
‘Chat Danger’ is appropriate for 7-14 year olds and covers how to be safe when using interactive services online.
‘Internet Safety Zone’ has advice and resources for parents and children aged under 13.
'Parent's Guide to Internet Safety' has some useful advice for parents and students
'BBC KS3 Bitesize - eSafety' is an interactive page for younger students to learn a bout eSafety
'Digital Safety: Staying Safe Online' has some general inforamtion on Internet safety and common safety concerns
'Net-Aware' gives reviews and age ratings on all of the popular social media sites and apps used by children along with safety advice for parents
You can report bullying incidents at school through the link on the school website homepage. These messages are sent directly to the Senior Leadership Team.
If you are concerned about your child’s use of the internet at school and wish to discuss this in more detail please contact Mr Swift, Head of Faculty: Computing by emailing hofICT@kscs.org.uk or telephoning the school reception on 01733 765950.