St Thomas CE (VC) Primary School
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Helping your child to stay safe online can be difficult. This page explains how the school, family and child can work together to do this.
Exploring, making new friends, chatting to pals, sharing experiences, taking part in games, playing with your friends.
They all sound like the cool things we want our children to get involved with, out there in the real world however we often provide support as parents, carers, teachers and friends.
But what about the virtual world?
The internet comes without a built in safety net. Children get to do all these things online from the moment they get the chance to use their very first smart device. That might well be a phone equipped with all the latest technology available at the click of an app. So how do we make this experience as safe as possible.
"Myfirstmobile" is a programme of study written by our Head Teacher, Mr Rushby, and designed for teachers to equip pupils with basic skills to help them to make the correct choices whilst using the internet. This scheme of work is now helping many children locally and nationally to stay safe online.
The programme is delivered over several sessions in year 6. We've begin the programme with a 5 minute animated film created by students from The Creative and Media Studio School which is all about a boy receiving his first mobile phone on his tenth birthday. The video starts at his birthday party and takes viewers through a number of challenging issues about his ownership and safe use of his new phone.
What follows are a number of lessons in school on different internet related subjects taking the child through their online learning experience.
Once all sessions have been completed, children are encouraged to take the quiz to test their online safety knowledge and skills.
On successful completion of the programme all participants will be able to obtain a certificate of their achievement. This means the each child will be recognised as a 'Digital Citizen' - just in time for high school!
At parents evening our governors and staff shared our online afety questionnare. We really want to work closely with families to identify any risks and to be able to provide the right support. This survey highlights some things that we would like to tackle closely in school, such as the widespread and possibly unregulated use of Youtube. We can also see that some children do not have the safe setting on devices as well as using them in private spaces. The information below should help to present why children like to be online as well as the kind of dangers that are likely to occur.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
GET AHEAD! Know the online dangers.
Research about young people’s online activity
This report draws on data from our 2017 Net Aware research to provide insight into young people’s online experiences.
Young people are motivated by enjoyment in their exploration of the online space. They value opportunities for:
-- Fun: Respondents are enthusiastic about the potential for fun and enjoyment online; this includes sharing funny videos, posting photos and playing games.
-- Communication: The social opportunities provided by the internet serve a range of purposes for respondents including keeping in touch with friends and family, school work and employment advice, testing boundaries and
building communities and social groups.
-- Self-expression, self-representation and creativity: Scope for self-expression is found in the imaginative nature of games, the potential for exploration and freedom, and the creative functionality of some platforms.
-- Online autonomy: Young people feel empowered when sites offer effective tools to keep them safe online. They praise robust privacy settings and effective reporting and blocking mechanisms.
• However, these positive experiences are too often tainted by negative ones – one in four (997out of 3,975) reviews stated that the platform being reviewed was risky. This was across all sites included in the research. The primary risks
Interaction with strangers: This includes unwanted friend requests and sexual or offensive messages, as well as fears about lack of privacy.
Inappropriate content: This is particularly prevalent on sites and apps with live streaming functionality
Violence and hatred: One in three (1,194 out of 3,975) young people’s reviews reported seeing violent and hateful content. This may be in user-generated content, footage from the news or fictional violence in games.
Sexual: One in five (815 out of 3,975) young people’s reviews reported seeing sexual content including accidentally
finding it, being sent sexual messages, or being encouraged to share sexual content themselves.
Bullying: Just under one in five (772 out of 3,975) young people’s reviews reported seeing bullying. Some noted bullying within a social group, while others indicated that the opportunity to be anonymous on some platforms was facilitating bullying behaviour.
What can you do about it?
Set rules and agree boundaries as a family
Set boundaries for how long your child can spend online and what they can do.
Talk about online safety and get involved
Have conversations about online safety little and often and build it into other conversations.
Know who they are talking to
Tell your child that strangers can pop up anywhere online:email, instant messenger, social networking sites or online games. This applies to smartphones, texting and messaging
Check content is age-appropriate
Check age ratings of games, online movies and websites.
Use parental and privacy controls
Check the privacy settings on social media and websites.
What can we do?
We will educate the children to help them to know more and to manage risk. All of the children currently access a school curriculum that has online safety within it. In year 6 the children will participate in a 6 week ‘Myfirstmobilephone’ digital citizenship award. You will receive notification about this and you will be invited to be involved.
There is a wealth of excellent, family friendly content on YouTube. From fun tips and tricks about school, to educational channels, music, creative pursuits, and any number of interesting ways to waste time. But, there is also much to which you wouldn’t want your child exposed.
We won’t go into the details, but very strong language, aggressive opinions, crude and cruel behaviour, all has its own little corner on the site. You shouldn’t be able to find anything truly nasty, as YouTube has strong restrictions on nudity and violence, but it’s best to treat it as an adult-oriented site.
The main problem comes from videos that are recommended in the watch next list. Most of these should be fine, but it only takes tapping on a couple of wild cards here and there to skew the path of a viewer into rougher material.
If you can’t sit and watch the content with your child, then one option is to use the Safety mode. This will at least filter out a fair amount of inappropriate content, but it’s not a fool-proof option.
To do so you need to go to YouTube in your PC browser then click on the icon in the top right corner that represents your account. In the drop-down menu look for Restricted Mode.