Dear Parent or Guardian,
Today is Safer Internet Day. Whilst E-Safety is taught both discretely and in dedicated lessons at school throughout the year, we would like to take this opportunity to offer advice on how to ensure your child is using the internet safely at home.
Technology and the internet can provide wonderful opportunities for learning, keeping in touch with loved ones, and entertainment. However, it can pose dangers to children, and the amount of online risks can be daunting for both children and adults. Here are some examples of how your child may be using technology and the internet:
- Gaming, for example on consoles, websites, tablets and downloaded apps.Watching videos or listening to music
- Learning websites
- Talking to family or friends
- Looking at parents devices (e.g. phone or tablet)
If you are not doing so already, please follow the internet safety checklist
Parental controls and searching safely: To stop children coming across inappropriate content, you can install parental controls on your home broadband and any internet-enabled devices. Here are some ideas;
- How to set up parental controls with BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parental-controls-offered-your-home-internet-provider
- Use child friendly search engines such as Kiddle (powered by Google, age 4+) and add to your favourites.
- If your child uses Youtube and Google, apply the ‘Safe Search’ settings
- Set up a user account for your child on the main device they use and only allow access to the sites that you have chosen. Make sure other accounts in the household are password-protected so that younger children can’t access them by accident.
- Set the homepage to a child friendly site like CBeebies.
- Keep devices in a communal area of the household so you can communicate with your children about what they are playing or looking at online.
- Check what Ad Block settings you can use on your internet browser to avoid ‘pop up’ adverts.
Check if it’s suitable: We would expect that children are only accessing games that fall within the age range of the child when at home.
- To check the age rating of a game, app, film or social network, search the name on http://www.pegi.info
- Please be aware that some games such as Moshi Monsters (PEGI 3+), Club Penguin (PEGI 3+) and Minecraft (PEGI 7+) have social networking elements. They should only play with friends they know, and never reveal passwords or addresses online.
- If your child plays these games, it is important for them to be kind to their friends online. Ask them to report any hurtful or strange comments they have received.
A ‘Playing Minecraft Safely’ sheet has been attached (NSPCC). https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/minecraft-a-parents-guide/
Create a family agreement: Please find the family agreement page attached.
- Be ‘Share-Aware’, explain to your child what is not OK to share online (e.g. passwords, personal information, address, photos.)
- Set boundaries on how much time your child can spend online.
- Talk to older siblings about being responsible and keeping their younger siblings safe.
Time to talk:
- Ask your child what sites or apps they like. Write a list, and look at them together. Calmly explain what you like and dislike about the sites or apps.
- Tell your child if they see something that makes them feel sad, confused, scared or embarrassed it is not their fault and they should come to you for help.
- Your child was given an Emoji bookmark today, with a ‘thumbs down’ side and ‘thumbs up’ side. They have been encouraged to show you the ‘thumbs down’ if they have seen anything they do not like online. Ask your child to see their bookmark to start the conversation.
We hope this information has been useful to you. If you need further advice or support on how to keep your child safe online then please explore the following:
- - https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers
- - https://www.internetmatters.org/
- - https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
- Call 0808 800 5002 for free, for online safety advice from the NSPCC and 02.