Over the past couple of weeks some issues have arisen with the use of technology and the internet that have caused me great concern. I have met with some families but need to share my concerns with you all.
I have spoken to many year groups and the children have told me that they are playing with their consoles when they wake up in the morning before they even come to school. They are also playing for many hours after school. Some connect with each other on virtual platforms; others are playing with people who are unknown to them.
Often, children’s games consoles, lap tops, ipads, tablets etc are in their bedrooms.
They are using a variety of apps on their tablets and phones that may not be suitable for their ages.
Chat with your children…….
It is really important to chat with your children on an ongoing basis about staying safe online.
You can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to engage with your children online, and helping your children to find and use good quality digital resources. You can help to respond to the negative by staying engaged with your child’s online activity (as appropriate to their age), by modelling positive online behaviours yourself, and also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content you find.
Where to begin?
These conversation starters can help.
- Ask your children to tell you about the sites they like to visit and what they enjoy doing online.
- Ask them about how they stay safe online. What tips do they have for you, and where did they learn them? What is OK and not OK to share?
- Ask them if they know where to go for help, where to find the safety advice, privacy settings and how to report or block on the services they use.
- Encourage them to help someone! Perhaps they can show you how to do something better online or they might have a friend who would benefit from their help and support.
- As a family talk about how long you spend online and where in the house you use your IT equipment and devices.
- Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?
For more information:
Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of technologies by an individual or by a group of people to deliberately and repeatedly upset someone else. Here are our top tips about what to do if you, or someone else, are being cyberbullied.
- Tell someone
- Tell a trusted adult about what is happening to you. Don’t suffer in silence as something can be done. If you’d like to speak to a counsellor to help you decide what to do, or even just to listen, then you can call Childline for free on 0800 1111 or visit their websiteto speak to a counsellor online.
- Keep a record
- If you are being cyberbullied either online or by text, don’t reply but do record it by taking a screenshot or print out. This means even if the sender deletes their messages, you still have proof.
- Report it
Most services including Instagram, Whattsapp, Twitter and Snapchat have rules on what they allow on their sites. If someone is harassing or cyberbullying you, it is very likely that they are going against the rules of the site so make sure you report them. You can also use blocking and deleting tools. Childnet have a useful guide on how to report on each online platform.
- Be an upstander not a bystander!
- If you see cyberbullying going on, support the person being targeted and report it! It will make such a difference – use your power for good!
For more information about what cyberbullying is, the law and what to do about it you can read Childnet’s Cyberbullying Hot Topic.
- Check the safety features on your new tech presents
With lots of new tech been given as Christmas presents make sure that you know all of the safety features on your family’s gadgets.
- Review your 2016 digital footprint
Your digital footprint is the mark that you leave behind when using the internet and can shape your online reputation. This can be formed by what you post online, what others post about you, or what someone has posted pretending to be you.
The New Year can be a great time to make a positive change to your digital footprint, this http://www.childnet.com/ufiles/online%20reputation%20checklist.pdf
can help you to stay safe.
- Report anything that worries or upsets you online
Reporting behaviour that worries or upsets you is a great way to make the internet a safer and better place to be.
Reporting on social media sites can sometimes be confusing so a great resolution to make is to ensure that you know how to report content on the sites that you use.
More information about reporting on specific social media sites can be found here https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/reporting-to-social-media-sites-/
To continue to support you all to keep our children safe online, I will be holding a series of compulsory evening events for parents. Dates and times will follow soon.