eSafety is a vital part of keeping pupils safe at St Osmund’s Middle School. We have extensive security measures in place in school, which are monitored both internally and externally to help safeguard pupils from potential dangers or unsuitable material.
Our aim is to provide pupils with the tools to support their learning, to help them develop into independent enquirers and to ensure that they are well equipped for the future. To support them in this area we teach pupils to identify efficient and effective use of technology and also the need to be safe whilst using technology. We can only be successful in keeping pupils safe online if we work in partnership with parents and carers to ensure the eSafety message is consistent. It is crucial that parents and carers reinforce to pupils how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online.
The Internet is a fantastic source of information for all ages. However, there is information on the Internet that is unsuitable for young people, or that is misleading or inaccurate. Some websites are constructed by fraudsters and criminal gangs, that either try to extract personal information (“phishing”) or install malicious software on your machine without your knowledge (“trojans” or “keyloggers”). With sites such as YouTube, young people can be exposed to video footage that might not be age appropriate. Users can also leave comments about videos that could contain unsuitable language.
Please bear in mind the following:
– It is advisable to keep computers in family rooms rather than in bedrooms so you can keep an eye on what your child is doing.
– Make it clear to children in your home that they should never publish personal information about themselves on the Internet as it could be accessible to people they do not know and therefore put them at risk.
– It’s not just computers that can be used to access the Internet. Mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, eBook readers and even MP3 players can also be used. Anything you could do on a computer connected to the Internet can also potentially be done with these devices.
– You can turn on “safe search” options on some search engines such as Google and on YouTube. This can help to prevent inappropriate material being seen by children.
– Avoid file-sharing sites, and avoid downloading and installing software unless you are certain it is trustworthy.
– Installing an up-to-date virus checker can prevent problems – speak to your broadband provider, many companies now are providing free virus checkers as part of the standard broadband package. Even a free one like AVG can be sufficient protection.
Whilst no search engine is 100% safe, we have provided some links to more child-friendly search engines below:
|General web browsing and searching||Image searching|
|Kidrex Search||Pics 4 Learning|
|nICE Search||Pic Search|
|Setting Up Google Safe Search|
Social Media and websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer amazing communication and social connections, however they are created with their audience in mind and this is specifically 13 years old and above. At St Osmund’s, we are aware and acknowledge that many children now use social networking sites. Our school does not advocate our pupils having social media accounts and is committed to promoting the safe and responsible use of the Internet and as such we feel it is our responsibility to raise this particular issue as a concern. Whilst children cannot access social networking sites at school, they could have access to it on any other computer or mobile technology.
Possible risks for children under 13 using the site may include:
– Facebook use ‘age targeted’ advertising and therefore your child could be exposed to adverts of a sexual or other inappropriate nature, depending on the age they stated they were when they registered.
– Children may accept ‘friend requests’ from people they don’t know in real life, which could increase the risk of inappropriate 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 other options.
– Sites could be exploited by bullies and for other inappropriate contact.
– Some sites do not have the ability to verify its members, therefore it important to remember that if your child can lie about who they are online, so can anyone else!
We feel that it is important to point out to parents and carers 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. These profiles will have been created away from school and sometimes by a child, their friends, siblings or even parents or carers. We will take action (such as reporting aged profiles) if a problem comes to our attention that involves the safety or wellbeing of any of our children. Should you decide to allow your children to use a social networking site, 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 and carers from Facebook www.facebook.com/help/?safety=parents.
– Set up your own profile so you understand how the site works and ask them to add you as a friend on their profile so you can keep track of what they are posting online.
Make sure your child understands the following rules:
- Always keep your profile private.
- Always tell someone if you feel threatened or someone upsets you.
- Never agree to meet someone you only know online without telling a trusted adult.
- Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.
- Never accept friends you don’t know in real life.
- Never post anything which could reveal your identity.
CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) delivers a multi-agency service dedicated to tackling the abuse and exploitation of children in the real and ‘e’ world. Often it is referred to as an online 999. By clicking on the button, young people and parents can get advice on a range of issues such as viruses, hacking and dealing with bullying online.
The Thinkuknow website is brought to you by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre.
Kidsmart gives you lots of advice on how to stay safe online.
The NSPCC have introduced a website called NetAware. This has many no-nonsense guides on social media, apps and games that children use.
Vodafone have produced a Digital Parenting Magazine, which informs parents about the various technologies children are accessing today. There is information on Facebook Settings, Xbox Settings, Blackberry Settings, Jargon Buster and many more ‘How to Guides’. Well worth a read!
Internet Matters is a new online eSafety portal designed for parents to access simple, easy and practical advice about online safety for their children, right through from pre-school to teens. It provides tips on protecting children from online grooming, cyberbullying, privacy and identity theft and inappropriate content. Internet Matters is a not-for profit organisation set up by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
If you have any queries about any eSafety related matter, please contact the school office by email or telephone.