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e-Safety (safety on the internet)

posted 11 Oct 2015, 05:02 by Mr Evans
Do your children have access to the internet at home? Do they use a computer? A tablet? A smartphone maybe? The internet can be a wonderful thing but it also carries significant risks and dangers...

If they are able to access the internet, do you monitor your children's online activities? Are there suitable filters in place to prevent them seeing pornographic or violent content? By the time they are 18, 93% of boys and over 60% of girls have seen pornography on the internet and we know that sadly, children are accessing inappropriate content at a younger and younger age. 

Many primary school children are also accessing social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) even though there is often a requirement for users to be at least 13 years old. If your child does use social media, do you know who they are communicating with? Do they have uncontrolled access to YouTube (viewing and uploading)? 
 
Clearly there are some important questions here for us to think about both as teachers and as parents. Quite apart from the concerns over the content viewed by children, there are issues for some children around the fact that they are able to use their computers, tablets and phones late into the evening. Obviously this can disturb sleep patterns which in turn can affect concentration and progress in school. 

Last week a parent approached us about these very issues and asked if we educate the children about these issues, and whether the school can offer guidance and support for parents? These are very valid questions! The answer is that we do e-safety work with the children every year both in the infants and in the juniors. Last year our Y5/6 children had additional support from visiting experts from the NSPCC. We will be doing further work on the subject between now and Christmas and as you can imagine, it is something we have to keep re-visiting. In school we do allow the children to use the internet since it is an essential part of modern life, but we have powerful filters, the children are monitored, and certain websites eg YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites, are blocked. We still have to be very vigilant though!

We already have some standing guidance for parents about e-safety: follow the 'Safeguarding and e-safety' tab at the top of the page and you'll have access to some very useful guides. 

I have also been asked whether the school can offer a workshop on e-safety for parents, with a specific focus on getting the right filters and controls in place at home. I am sure this is something we can offer and we are looking into it now...watch this space! In the meantime, please do not hesitate to seek our advice if you are anxious about your children's use of the internet. 


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