Online Safety at Park Hill Infants
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The internet, computers and other digital devices are all wonderful resources that we are lucky to have at our disposal. When used correctly and responsibly the internet can be a place to learn, watch, play games, research and so much more but it must be used safely. In a world of growing technology this is a vital part of education. Some children are more competent on a device than a grown up, but they might not yet have developed a full understanding of online safety.
What is online safety?
Online Safety is staying safe whilst using any electronic device; this could be using the internet or other means of communication such as text/instant messages, gaming devices, (Playstation, Xbox), emails and social networking.
Online safety can be broken down into three sections which are taught during computing lessons at our school:
- Content – What children see online.
Some online content is unsuitable for children and can be hurtful or harmful. This is often true for content accessed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It only takes one misspelt word to lead to a search that could show harmful images. It is important for children to understand that not everything they read on the internet is true.
You can help by:
* Ensuring you have appropriate filters on your computer and online searches to prevent children accessing inappropriate material.
* Talking about the validity of information found on the internet.
- Conduct – How children behave online.
Children need to be aware of the impact that their online activity can have on both themselves and other people, and the digital footprint that they create on the internet. Writing or saying something online or in a message may feel anonymous but it could have a devastating impact to someone or themselves in the future. An example of this is cyber bullying.
When using the internet, it is important to keep personal information, including name, age, school, address, safe, and not share it with strangers.
You can help by:
- Discussing with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, images or behaviours.
- Discussing why it’s important not to share important information over the internet.
- Contact – Who children speak to online.
It is important for children to realise that friends made online may not be who they say they are. The Stranger Danger rule still applies online.
You can help by:
- Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts.
- Customising the information that each friend is able to access through the privacy settings.
- Reinforcing with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.
At Park Hill Infants School all pupils, from Reception to Year Two, are taught how to be safe online in line with the National Curriculum and our schools safeguarding policy. Each pupil signs their class online safety agreement within the first week of being in their new class. Pupils are taught online safety in their computing lessons as a well as activities and assemblies throughout the year.
At school we focus on two main areas:
- Teaching an understanding of online safety and how to use the internet responsibly.
- Talking to children about what to do if they come across something that makes them feel uncomfortable online.
Both of these can be taught and reinforced at home by a parent or carer using the points below.
Top 10 tips for children to stay safe online:
- Never post any personal information online – e.g. your postal address, email address, mobile number, name, age.
- If you need to post a photo or video online, let your parents do it. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and download it – you won’t know if they repost the picture of you without you knowing. Once on the internet, the picture is not just yours anymore.
- Keep your privacy settings as ‘high’ as possible.
- Never give out your passwords to anyone and change them regularly.
- Don’t makes friends with people you only know on the internet.
- Don’t meet up with anyone that you have met online. Always tell a grown up if someone tries to make friends with you or asks to meet you.
- Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
- Think carefully about what you want to say before you post something online.
- Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views –make sure that you are not rude.
- If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer screen and tell an adult immediately.
How can you as parents help?
The best way to teach children how to be safe online is by understanding what they are doing when using an electronic device. By talking to and working with your child, you will know what sites / games they use and whether they are suitable.
Understand the online world, and build an environment of trust amongst your family.
If your child feels comfortable speaking to you about something they might have seen that made them feel uneasy, then you can fix the problem, there and then.
Always use search filters.
This is a simple and quick way of restricting sites that might make a child uncomfortable.