With ever-growing online activity including expanding social media platforms, provides an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of continuing to raise awareness of how to stay safe online. This is particularly important for parents/carers, many of whom have very genuine concerns and are seeking guidance about how to help their children stay safe. All schools are encouraged to support parents/carers in this respect, signposting them to the many helpful websites, some of which are highlighted below.
The benefits of being able to connect with each other via the internet and using the latest technology are enormous. However, with this comes a risk that exposure to cyberbullying, disinformation and grooming is greater with children and young people using the internet, unsupervised. There remains a particular concern in relation to chatrooms which encourage children and young people to join together to engage in potentially dangerous behaviours.
The national guidance recommends reviewing security and safety settings, checking facts and guarding against disinformation, being vigilant against fraud and scams, and managing the amount of time spent online. One of the most effective methods of keeping young people safe online is to raise awareness. This can be done through the taught curriculum (Education for a Connected World (publishing.service.gov.uk) and ProjectEVOLVE - Education for a Connected World Resources).
Parents/carers should be encouraged to have conversations about the online activities in which children are engaged, who they are talking with and the safeguards they are taking. Guidance on these conversations can be found at: Teaching Your Child about Internet & Online Safety | NSPCC
Online safety guidance advice and resources are also available from the County Council for parents/carers, children and young people and professionals within schools. Other helpful sources of advice are Parentzone, the NSPCC and the UK Safer Internet Centre as well as the Digital Parenting Magazine published by Vodafone. This is free to order without any cost for postage: Order Digital Parenting | Vodafone. Schools can order a copy for each family within their school.
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PLEASE NOTE THESE APPS SHOULD NOT BE USED BY CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS OLD