Keeping safe online
To reflect recent changes in emphasis and terminology from Ofsted, and a renewed emphasis on the digital aspect of safeguarding in the Ofsted inspection framework, schools are advised to follow the lead to focus on 'online safety' rather than 'e-safety'.
"The term ‘online safety’ reflects a widening range of issues associated with technology and a user’s access to content, contact with others and behavioural issues."
('Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings', Ofsted August 2015)
Whilst the internet is the most significant invention of our generation and there is no doubt that the new technologies offer tremendous opportunities for children and young people however as with any environment there are also risks.
Risks associated with the internet, mobiles and social networking sites and other interactive services include:
- potential abuse by online predators
- identity theft
- exposure to inappropriate content including self-harm
- adult pornography.
Some of these risks can be a continuation of the risks children and young people experience offline. However, they can be increased because many children and young people also fail to realise that the internet is a public place.
You, as parents, have an important role to play in
- helping children and young people stay safe online
- and encouraging safe and responsible use of the technologies.
To minimise the risks they should never be left alone with the internet. Do you know how to protect your children in your own home? Please teach your children to turn off the screen and come and find you if they find inappropriate sites.
Please look at setting up parental controls on your PC. This will protect your children from stumbling across something unpleasant.
Understand the risks and empower yourself and your children by spending some time looking at the websites your children use. Protect them and teach them that there are sites which are not approprpriate.
There is more information for parents and carers through the NSPCC's Share Aware website.
There is lots of helpful advice on all areas of staying safe online from Vodafone's Digital Parenting magazines;
Rules for Responsible Internet Use
In Harold Court we have installed computers and Internet access to help everyone’s learning. These rules will keep you safe and help us be fair to others.
- I will ask permission from a member of staff before using the Internet;
- I will not access other people’s files or folders;
- I will use the computers only for school work and homework;
- I will not bring memory sticks and CD’s into school unless I have permission;
- I will not change the display settings on computers;
- I will only e-mail people I know, or my teacher has approved;
- The messages I send will be polite and sensible;
- I will not give my home address or phone number, or arrange to meet someone, unless my parent, has given permission;
- To help protect other pupils and myself, I will tell a teacher if I see anything I am unhappy with or I receive messages I do not like;
- I understand that the school may check my computer files and may monitor the Internet sites I visit.
As a parent or carer it can be difficult to monitor what your child is up to online. Most parents and carers trust their children online, but it can be easy for a child to stumble across things that might upset or disturb them.
Filtering and moderation packages are a good way to stop the majority of inappropriate and harmful content coming into your home. They are a tool to help you set and change online boundaries in line with your child’s development.
There are some great packages out there, some are free and some come at a cost. Make sure you get one that suits your family’s needs and budget.
How can this help me?
Every parental control package is different, but most provide services such as:
- Filtering – content to restrict access to particular sites, such as pornographic websites.
- Time limits – restrict the amount of time your child can be online, or set periods of time where your child can access certain sites.
- Monitoring – where you are informed of certain sites that your child is attempting to gain access to.
- Reporting – where you are provided with information about what sites your child has used.
Where do I get them?
There are three main levels for applying parental controls.
- Internet Service Providers (ISP’s). These are the organisations that pipe the internet to your home (like Virgin Media, Talk Talk, Sky and BT). All of the major ISP’s provide parental control packages. These can allow you to apply controls across all of the devices that access the internet through your home connection – such as laptops or games consoles.
- Devices that connect to the internet. Most computers, mobiles and games consoles now come with parental controls that can be applied. For example, within Windows and the Mac operating systems, there are parental controls that can be set for individual devices.
- Software. There are a wide range of packages available to buy or sometimes download for free – always look for reputable companies and check out reviews online.
Does this make my child safe?
Parental controls will never make the internet 100% ‘safe’. They should not be used as a substitute for communicating safety messages to your child. Make sure that you talk to your child about their behaviour online and remember, your home is not the only place they will be accessing the internet!
Never ask your children to set these settings, if you are not confident in putting these in place ask a family friend or the shop assistant to help.
Click here to view videos from BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk on how to activate free parental controls from their services
BT‘s Security package is called BT Family Protection. This lets you choose the right level of protection for each child on up to three computers in your home. With this service you can:
- Block websites – stop your kids from seeing inappropriate content
- Set time limits – manage how long your children spend online
- Get instant alerts – get email or text alerts when your kids try to view blocked sites or post confidential information
- Social networking tools – control the use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter and set up text alerts if personal information is posted
- YouTube filtering – a unique technology to prevent exposure to unsuitable content
- Usage reports – review your children's online activity from anywhere in the world
As well as parental controls, you also get:
- Advanced spam filtering – with image blocking to protect children from offensive content
- BT Cleanfeed – blocks sites classified as illegal by the Internet Watch Foundation
- Access to our internet abuse prevention team – for children or parents to report any concerns
A user guide for the BT Family Protection service is available and videos on the service are also provided.
Talk Talk’s Internet security service is called HomeSafe. Built into the broadband network itself, HomeSafe is designed to help you block every device in your home from websites you've defined as unsuitable for your home. Parents also have the option to control the after school homework routine specifically. It's been developed in partnership with their panel of parents and online safety experts.
A guide to setting up HomeSafe is available as are videos for this service.
Parental Controls is part of Virgin Media Security and is available for free to all Virgin Media broadband customers. With Virgin Media Security’s Parental Control you can:
- Screen out offensive material
- Filter sites by pre-defined age categories
- Add exceptions or block specific sites
- Control access to specific content types like chat or social networking
- Set an access-schedule for individual users
- See a history of sites viewed, including those that were blocked
Further information on this service and a guide on how to set up parental controls is available.
Plusnet offer Plusnet Protect Internet security. With this service, either offered free or for a small charge dependent on your Broadband package, parents and carers are able to set safe boundaries for children with parental controls.
Advice on how to set these controls is available.
Sky offer McAfee Internet Security suit, available free or for a small monthly charge dependent on your Broadband package. Parental Controls are included in this package, however all Sky Broadband customers can get McAfee Parental Controls on their own as a separate download, free and for up to three PC’s.
McAfee’s Parental Controls help control when your children can be online, monitor/control what websites they can visit, and keep an eye on their online activities.
Further information on Sky’s security packages and a free download of the McAfee Parental Controls is available.