New technologies are now part of the everyday lives of our pupils in today’s society, both in school and outside school. The internet and other digital and information technologies are powerful tools, which open up new opportunities for everyone. Electronic communication helps teachers and pupils learn from each other. These technologies can stimulate discussion, promote creativity and increase awareness of context to promote effective learning. Children in our school have an entitlement to safe internet access at all times and this is addressed as part of the wider duty of care to which all who work in our school are bound. Our school e-safety policy helps to ensure safe and appropriate use, and the development and implementation of this policy involves all stakeholders. The use of these exciting and innovative tools in school and at home has been shown to raise educational standards and promote pupil achievement.
However, the use of these new technologies can put young people at risk within and especially outside the school. Some of the dangers they may face include:
• Access to illegal, harmful or inappropriate images or content
• Unauthorised access to personal information
• The risk of being subject to grooming by those with whom they make contact on the internet.
• The sharing / distribution of personal images without an individual’s consent or knowledge
• Inappropriate communication / contact with others, including strangers
• Access to unsuitable video / internet games
• An inability to evaluate the quality, accuracy and relevance of information on the internet
• Plagiarism and copyright infringement
• Illegal downloading of music or video files
• The potential for excessive use which may impact on the social and emotional development and learning of the young person.
Potential online risks can be put into these 4 categories.
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. It’s easy to feel anonymous online and it’s important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, the information that they may have posted. When using the internet, it’s important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours and how this can be done.
Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It’s important for children to consider the reliability of online material and be aware that it might not be true or written with a bias. Children may need your help as they begin to assess content in this way. There can be legal consequences for using or downloading copyrighted content, without seeking the author’s permission.
It is important for children to realise that new friends made online may not be who they say they are and that once a friend is added to an online account, you may be sharing your personal information with them. Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by
another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (www.ceop.police.uk). If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, this can also be reported online and offline. Reinforce 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.
Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online, for example within applications. Encourage your children to keep their personal information private, learn how to block both pop ups and spam emails, turn off in-app purchasing on devices where possible, and use a family email address when filling in online forms.
Many of these risks reflect situations in the off-line world and as with all other risks, it is impossible to eliminate those risks completely, it is therefore essential, through good educational provision to develop pupils’ resilience to the risks to which they may be exposed, so that they have the confidence and skills to face and deal with these risks. At Gwyrosydd Primary School we teach chidren about e-safety in a cross curricular manner addressing areas of e-safety as and when appropriate. Pupils understand they have a role in staying safe and a responsibilty when using technology. The internet is an amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices. However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge. You may sometimes feel that your children have better technical skills than you do, however children and young people still need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online and using the internet positively and safely. This page will give you an overview of some of the risks your child may encounter whilst online. The linked pages will give practical advice to get you thinking about how you can support your child to get the most out of the internet and there will be workshops held throughout the year to inform parents on how to help their children stay safe online.