Safe surfing

Paul Oldham has some top tips to help children stay safe online

A study from BBC Newsround has found that more than 75 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds have social media accounts despite being under age. With additional reports that one in five children have experience of online bullying, it is more important than ever that schools and parents work together to offer a consistent message to children about internet safety.
The internet offers a wealth of information for both children and adults alike and in this digital age it is a valuable resource that we all want to take advantage of.

It is more important than ever that schools and parents work together to offer a consistent message to children about internet safety 

Here are some tips and reminders to help you and your pupils stay safe online:

  • Ensure all PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones used by children have parental controls set up and that any passwords are not given to them
  • Children should be supervised when online: ensure that family members who regularly look after them are also aware of this
  • Make sure children are aware of cyber bullying, what to do if they experience it and how serious an issue it is
  • Remind your pupils that any pictures or comments posted could be made public despite the use of privacy settings and can remain online forever, even for future employers to see
  • Ensure apps and games that pupils use are age appropriate – there is a very good reason why some have age restrictions
  • The stranger rule also applies online – make sure that children do not chat to people they do not know, that they do not release any personal details and that they never make any arrangements to meet in person
  • Ensure social media age restrictions are adhered to: the majority of social media sites, including Facebook, have a minimum age limit of 13
  • If your pupils are old enough to use sites such as Facebook, make sure you know what they are posting and ensure privacy settings are set to the highest possible level 
  • Be aware of what they are viewing on YouTube: even the parental control safety mode is not completely guaranteed to block inappropriate content
  • Make sure children know what to do if they feel uncomfortable when online or need to report an incident

Paul Oldham is deputy head at Richmond House School W: www.rhschool.org 

For more information about online gaming, social media and protecting yourself and your children online, visit www.saferinternet.org.ukwww.getsafeonline.org or www.childnet.com

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