At Saint Gregory’s we recognise that modern technology is an intrinsic part of modern-day life and our students use modern technology both in education and out of it. However along with the opportunities that modern technology offers, students, parents and carers need to be aware of the problems and the risks.
Whilst the internet and digital media platforms are an excellent tool and resource to enrich learning, there are still dangers related to their use. Some examples of this are:
- Bullying via chat or email
- Obsessive internet use
- Exposure to inappropriate materials
- Inappropriate or illegal behaviour
- Physical danger of sexual abuse
- Risk of exposure to extremist idealogies
Online Safety has a very high priority at Saint Gregory’s and all students receive advice and guidance appropriate to their age. As well as learning about Online Safety in their Computer Science lessons, students get more targeted input as part of the PSHE programme. Our PSHE mornings cover key themes on Online Safety through lessons and talks, these key messages will then be built on during tutor time and in dedicated events, such as UK Safer Internet Day.
Our Online Safety and Social Media Policy outlines the measures in place to safeguard all students whilst in school. To help you keep students safe at home and in other settings we have put together some useful advice and weblinks.
Online Safety Tips for Students
- Social Networking
- Privacy settings need to be set to ‘friends only’ – including comments, posts and photos
- Limit friend numbers to people you genuinely know – people you trust
- Only post content and photos you wouldn’t mind showing your family
- Learn how to report any issues direct to the social networking site
- Never accept people you don’t know and trust in the real world
- Remember that giving out personal information can be risky
- Remember that web cam feeds can be recorded and faked
- Don’t web cam with people you don’t know
- Turn web cam off after use
- Delete anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable
- Know how to report a problem
- Don’t enable your location or geo tagging on your phone
- Only let friends in the real world have your phone number, BBM or location
- Think before you post
- Understand the safety functions and how to report
- People are not always who they say they are online
- Keep gaming friends ‘in game’
- Don’t give out personal information
- Learn the reporting processes in the game
How to report an online child safety issue – for children and parents
If you need to report an online child safety issue then the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) offers a simple way to do so.
Online Safety tips for Parents/Carers
Below you will find some guidance on how you can ensure your child stays safe online
- Talk to your child about what they are up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and why they like them. If your child knows you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems. The thinkuknow.co.uk/parents has films, games and advice for children from 5-16+.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate websites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them develop online skills.
- Keep up to date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It is important that as a child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they might share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment they connect to the internet in a family space. It is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Make sure you’re aware which devices your child uses to connect to the internet, such as their phone and games console. Also find out how they are accessing the internet – this will affect whether the safety settings you set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not an answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working to make them simple, effective and user-friendly. There is a link on the ‘Think u Know’ website which can help you set up your controls.
- Help your child to understand that they should never give out personal details to online-friends – personal information includes their messenger ID, email address, mobile number, and any pictures of themselves, their family and friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it. Remind them that anyone could be looking at their images.
- If your child receives spam, junk email and texts remind them never to believe them or reply to them. It is not a good idea for your child to open files from people they don’t know. They won’t know what they contain – it could be a virus or worse – an inappropriate image or film.
- Help your child to understand that some people lie online and therefore it’s better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers.
How to report an online safety issue
If you need to report an online child safety issue then the Child Exploitation Online Protection centre (CEOP) offers a simple way to do so.
Online Safety resources for Students
The following sites all offer support and advice on Online Safety:
ThinkUKKnow Find out what’s good and what’s not so good on the internet and what you can do about it.
KnowITAll An interactive internet safety resource. Contains advice on cyberbullying and reporting.
Digizen Information and advice to encourage responsible digital citizenship.
KidSMART Fun and games alongside internet safety advice.
PhoneBrain Advice for young people on phone-paid services such a ringtones, competitions and television voting.
Childline A private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. Call free on 0800 1111 have a 1-2-1 chat online or send an email.
Online Safety resources for Parents/Carers
The following sites all offer support and advice on safety. Parents might also find sites helpful listed under Online Safety resources for Students
ThinkUKnow Resources for parents and young people.
Parentinfo (from CEOP and Parent Zone) Expert information to help children and young people stay safe online.
Childnet Works in partnership with others to help make the internet a safe place for children.
Getsafeonline Practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computer and mobile devices against problems encountered online.
Getnetwise Educates about the challenges and the problems presented by the internet and offers solutions.
Theparentzone Information, help, advice and support and resources for parents.
Internetmatters Information and support on protecting your children online
BroadbandSearch Guide to highlight the dangers children face – cyberbullying, sexual predators, and strategies in keeping your families safe online.
There are also a number of useful documents on our Key Documents and Policies page and detailed below: