Children have access to the internet through a range of devices and it is important we are one step ahead in order to maintain the safety of our children when using the internet.
Does your child have a smart phone? Are you buying one for Christmas? Please read this guide for parents first.
There are three rules taught in schools:
- ZIP IT: Don't give out personal information about yourself or be rude to anyone.
- BLOCK IT: Don't accept people you do not know or accept bad behaviour. Don't click/download things you are unsure of.
- FLAG IT: If your worried or someone asks to meet you - always tell an adult you trust.
Set rules and agreements
In addition to parental controls enabled, it is important you set basic rules and guidance on how and when the internet is accessed. Below are some ideas to consider when agreeing your rules:
- Agree a time limit for use - This is to stop arguments and ensures the child isn't using the device for too long.
- Agree where it can be used - The main reason for this is to avoid grooming issues - most of which will happen if the child is in their bedroom or non-family space. As for mobiles phones, it is a common problem for cyber bullying to take place via mobile phones - repeated text messages, repeated phone calls. Agreeing to charge the mobile phone downstairs enables you, as the parent, to pick up on issues such as cyber bulling in which you can confront your child and offer some support and guidance.
- Agree what it can and cannot be used for - Homework, gaming, social networking - Make it clear what you will and will not allow.
- Understanding what to do if something goes wrong - Inform an adult. If they see something what has disturbed them, either accidental or through a wrong choice, turn over the tablet, turn off the monitor, put the lid of the laptop down and then tell an adult. Once you have seen, talk to them about it, support them - whether it was purposely done or not, do not be angry - reassure them for making the right choice and telling you. If it was intentional enforce consiquence - monitored internet use, no use of tablet etc. If it was non intentional, see your parental settings and add to filter list.
- Make it clear about sanctions and rewards - Whether you take the device off them, monitor or reward a new computer game - it is up to you.
Social networking is available and great to use if you know how to use them safely. For further information, click the links below the social networking sites.
Social networking can be accessed through mobile phones such as Facebook, Myspace, Google+ and Twitter - which are open to the public. BBM (Blackberry Messenger) is available on a Blackberry phone - but can be downloaded as an app, Snapchat and Whatsapp are also available - all of the above are NOT recommended for children.
There are social networking sites specifically designed for children:
- Moshi Monsters - Monitored by adults, filtered content in place - if rules are broken, the purple monster appears on next log on telling the child he knows a rule has been broken. If they break the rules more than twice their account is blocked for a couple of days.
- Club Penguin - Club Penguin is an online multiplayer game with social networking elements. It is regularly monitored and there is a choice of two types of chat set ups: Ultimate Safe Chat and Standard Safe Chat. If "Ultimate Safe Chat" is enabled, the child cannot send or receive any typed messages. If Standard Safe Chat is enabled, the child can send and receive messages with other online players - the content is filtered.
Enable Parental Controls
Computers and other digital technologies have parental controls which are located in their device settings. Parental controls enable the adult to control the privacy and security of the device such as:
- Blocking selected items such as websites and email addresses by adding them to a filter list
- Setting time limits for use of the device
- Blocking the use of selected words
Before you set Parental Controls, you can check the devices user manual or the manufacturers’ websites to see what additional controls you have access to. You can also contact your internet service provider (ISP) or mobile phone operator to find out about eSafety measures they offer.
BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media have each made short video clips outlining where you can find their free parental controls, what they do and how you set them up, click the link below.
- To regularly check the "history" of the device, it enables you to see the websites that have been viewed on the device - history is located in the web browser settings.
- If an unsuitable website has been accessed, add the web address to the parental controls filter and then remove from the history.
- You should always authorise downloads beforehand. Only download files from trusted websites.
Child-friendly search engines
It is recommended your child uses a child friendly search engine, the search engine filters inappropriate content, and in addition to your Parental Controls, it enables the internet safer for children to use.
Click on the link to access a child friendly search engine http://www.uk.safesearchkids.com
Your child’s personal safety online
Parents and carers should be fully aware of what their child has access to on their device. Many children now have access to social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and it is important they understand to take precautions when using the internet, in particular including use of social media websites.
We do not encourage children to use social media websites in school, however, should parents/carers allow it, it is important parents have FULL access to the social media account also.
Precautions for children online include:
- Use a nickname.
- DO NOT use a photograph of yourself.
- DO NOT give out personal information to ANYONE online - including real name, age, gender, home address, landline and mobile numbers, bank details, PIN numbers and password.
- Associate with only people you know.
- DO NOT agree to meet anybody online- regardless whether you know them or not.
- DO NOT respond to strangers - keep the messages and inform an adult if a stranger does try to contact you.
Below are some website links you may find useful, click the links below to visit the web pages:
CEOP Safety Centre (www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre)