Being Safe Online

During this week, the focus of Year assemblies has been E-Safety and Safety Online.  Each assembly has highlighted a different aspect of how to use the internet and mobile devices safely and to remember: it’s good to be cautious.

The online world offers great opportunities for our society: we have information literally at our finger tips, everywhere we go and at any time of the day or night.  We can communicate with our friends, family and groups of like-minded people easily and quickly.

Children using phonesIt is useful to remember though that not everyone ‘out there’ has our best interests at heart and sometimes, even people that we know, can be unkind and hurtful.  Occasionally there are some who want to take advantage and can really harm us.

This is why we need to be responsible ourselves with what we say and do to others and to be careful about the information, photos and videos we share.  Once something is shared, we lose control over what happens to it.  A nasty comment, an inappropriate image or chatting to strangers – whatever we might do. 

Recent research is starting to show some patterns of behaviour which we should take account of.  It is possible not only to be addicted to the content of the internet like gaming, gambling and pornography, it may be that it is possible to be addicted to being online.

Key Things to Remember

The digital world is permanent.  You should assume that anything you put online is there for ever.  Children are very trusting so it’s easy to be manipulated by peer pressure or adults with bad intensions.  When you are posting something to a friend or group, apply the standards you have offline to the online world.  Recent I’m a Celebrity… contestant Jack Maynard had to leave the show over twitter posts he sent in 2011 – some five years after he posted them.

‘Who are you really talking to?  That is a real question you should ask when you are online.  There is no real way on knowing who you are really chatting with.  Even if you are streaming or face timing, you can’t see who else in there in the room.  Remember, ‘On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog’.

Talking is good!  Speak to someone about anything you find upsetting or disturbing online or if you find yourself in a situation where you feel out of control.  Any adult at school will help you and you can speak to a parent/carer.

Behave online as you would in the real world.  It is a great way to get you thinking about the effect your actions will have.  Everything we do has consequences and seeing someone face to face often makes us think twice.  Remember, if you don’t want something shared with everyone, don’t share it with anyone!

Know How to Find Help

PANTS advice for childrenThere are places where students and parents/carers can turn for help.  Students can speak to their pastoral managers at school or their tutors who will help them. We have the email as well.

For Parents/Carers

  • Start discussing online safety at an early age and keep talking
  • Teach Children to beware of strangers bearing gifts
  • Remind your children ‘You can’t delete what you’ve written!’
  • Never let children browse unaccompanied
  • Monitor what your children are doing
  • Be a friend and contact in your child’s social media

There are various sites you can turn to for advice and help on using the internet safely. UK Safer Internet Centre. 

Links for Students and Parents/Carers