WHAT CAN PARENTS/CARERS DO TO HELP CHILDREN STAY SAFE ONLINE?
A practical guide for parents and carers of children who are using social media - Child Safety Online
A Parents/Carers Guide to Dealing with "Sexting"
Simmondley Primary School Online Safety Policy
Discuss together as a family how the internet will be used in your house. Consider what information should be kept private (such as personal information, photos in school uniform etc) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Ensure your children know the risks of accepting friends’ requests from strangers online and make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline. Make sure your child uses strong passwords to protect their online accounts. It is important they know they need to keep their passwords safe and not share them with anyone or use the same password for several accounts.
Consider locating your child’s computers and laptops in a family area but be aware that children access the internet on mobile phones, games consoles and tablets so use can’t always be supervised.
Be especially aware of settings rules relating to your child’s use of webcams and any applications or devices which allow voice or video chat. Childnet have useful information for young people about using webcams safely www.childnet.com
Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact from unknown people. Research different parental control software and tools available for your home and select the tools which are most suitable to you, your child and the technology in your home.
Visit www.internetmatters.org and www.saferinternet.org.uk for safety information and advice about parental controls on consoles and devices and how to report concerns.
Make sure you read any parental guidance and safety recommendations (including age requirements - most popular social networking sites and apps are only for users aged 13+) for any apps or websites before allowing your child to use them - visit www.net-aware.org.uk.
Always remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
Take an active interest in your child’s life online and talk openly with them about the things they do. Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.
To start a conversation with your child you could tell them that you understand that some young people share images and videos online and that you’re interested to know what they think about it and how they think they can keep themselves safe.
Dialogue - keep talking
Ensure that your child knows that once a picture, video or comment is sent or posted online, then it can be very difficult to remove as other people can forward it and share it with others, without them even knowing.
www.childnet.com and www.thinkuknow.co.uk has some really useful tips and ideas for parents/carers about starting conversations about online safety.
Always ensure your child knows how to report and block people online who may send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply to cyberbullying and to keep any evidence.
Make sure your child knows it’s important that they tell an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
Remember, the internet is an essential part of young people’s lives and provides them with tremendous opportunities. The vast majority use it without coming to any harm so it’s essential to be realistic: banning the internet or web sites often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.
FACEBOOK AND KEEPING YOUR CHILD SAFE
Facebook offers amazing communication and social connections, however it has been created with a specific audience in mind and therefore the permitted minimum age to use the site is 13 years old. There are many possibly risks for children under 13 using the site.
Facebook use “age targeted” advertising and therefore your child could be exposed to adverts of an inappropriate nature, depending on the age they stated they were when they registered with Facebook.
Children may accept friend requests from people they don’t know in real life, which could increase the risk of inappropriate or dangerous contact or behaviour.
Language, games, groups and content posted or shared on Facebook is not moderated, and therefore can be offensive, illegal or unsuitable for children.
Photographs shared by users are not moderated and therefore children could be exposed to inappropriate images or even post their own.
Underage users might be less likely to keep their identities private and lying about their age can expose them to further risks regarding privacy settings and options.
Facebook could be exploited by bullies and for other inappropriate contact.
Facebook cannot and does not verify its members; therefore it is important to remember that if your child can lie about their age and who they are online, so can anyone else!
Many children’s Facebook profiles:
Are not properly secured with poor privacy settings that mean anyone in the world can see their profile;
Have pictures of them (and other children) in their school uniform, which makes them easily identifiable and means people can work out where they will be in real life;
Have content which is wholly inappropriate in terms of the language and/or images on them. (And even if your child’s profile is appropriate, being “friends” with someone who has such a profile means your child can see it.)
We feel it is important to point out to parents the risks of underage use of such sites, so you can make an informed decision as to whether to allow your child to have a profile or not.
If you decide to allow your child to have a Facebook profile we strongly advise you to:
Check their profile is set to private and that only friends can see information that is posted
Monitor your child’s use and talk to them about safe and appropriate online behaviour such as not sharing personal information and not posting offensive messages or photos
Ask them to install the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) application from www.facebook.com/clickceop on their profile. This places a bookmark on their profile to CEOP and the Report Abuse button which has been known to deter offenders
Have a look at the advice for parents/carers from Facebook www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/
If you don’t already have one, set up your own profile so you can understand how the site works and ask them to have you as a friend on their profile so you know what they are posting online
Make sure your child understands the following basic Online Safety rules.
1) Always keep your profile as private as possible.
2) If possible, don’t put in your full name, e.g. Bart S instead of Bart Simpson.
3) Never accept friends you don’t know in real life.
4) Never post anything – writing or images - which could reveal your identity.
5) Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.
6) Never agree to meet somebody you only know online without telling a trusted adult
7) Always tell someone if you feel threatened or someone upsets you.
We also recommend that all parents visit the CEOP Think U Know website for more information on keeping your child safe online www.thinkuknow.co.uk
VIDEO GAMES AND KEEPING YOUR CHILD SAFE
We hope you will find the information below useful as we are aware that many parents feel under pressure to purchase age inappropriate video games. The age rating is a clear indication of the suitability of content and we hope that the information below will help you and your child to choose games which are appropriate for their age.
Ratings denote the content and appropriateness of games
Since 2003 games have been age rated under the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system which operates in the UK and over 30 other countries of Europe, in addition, where a game showed realistic scenes of gross violence or other inappropriate activity the game had to be legally classified and received one or other of the BBFC classification certificates given for videos/DVDs
The PEGI system has been effectively incorporated into UK law and video games will be age rated at one or other of the following age levels. You will find these levels displayed on video game sleeves. Ratings do not denote the difficulty or the enjoyment level of a game, but that it contains content suitable for a certain age group and above
The PEGI age ratings will enable parents and carers to make an informed choice when buying a game for their children.
It is important to note that the age ratings 12, 16 and 18 age ratings are mandatory and that it is illegal for a retailer to supply any game with any of these ratings to anyone below the specified age. The age ratings 3 and 7 are advisory only.
An 18 Rated game is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence.
In general terms it is where the level of violence is so visually strong that it would make the reasonable viewer react with a sense of revulsion.
Any game that glamorises the use of real life drugs will also probably fall into this category.
In addition to age ratings, video games will include indicators of the type of content and activities that the game includes in it. The descriptors are fairly self-explanatory but should be read in conjunction with the age rating given for a video game. For example, a violence descriptor with an 18 rated game will indicate a more extreme level of violence than a violence descriptor with a 12 rated game.
The PEGI ratings system helps you make informed decisions about which video games to choose for your family
A PEGI rating gives the suggested minimum age that you must be to play a game due to the suitability of the content
As parents you can take direct control of what games your children play at home, how they play them and for how long through parental controls on video game systems such as the Xbox or PlayStation
Choosing and playing video games as a family is the best way to understand and enjoy them together
The stories, worlds and characters in video games offer playful ways to engage with a wide range of subjects and fuels creativity, interests and imagination
The Ask About Games website (www.askaboutgames.com) provides further information about video games ratings and offers real family stories and suggestions on how video games can be a creative and collaborative experience for all the family
We also recommend that all parents visit the CEOP Think U Know website (www.thinkuknow.co.uk) for more information on keeping your child safe online.