What is E-Safety?
E-safety is the safe use of information systems and electronic communications, including the internet, mobile phones and games consoles. It is important that children and young people understand the benefits, risks and responsibilities of using information technology.
- E-safety concerns safeguarding children and young people in the digital world.
- E-safety emphasises learning to understand and use new technologies in a positive way.
- E-safety is less about restriction and more about education about the risks as well as the benefits so we can feel confident online.
- E-safety is concerned with supporting children and young people to develop safer online behaviours both in and out of school.
Using the Internet safely at home
Whilst many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer filtering systems to help you safeguard your child at home, it remains surprisingly easy for children to access inappropriate material including unsuitable texts, pictures and movies. Parents are advised to set the security levels within Internet browsers with this in mind. Locating the computer or tablet in a family area, not a bedroom, will enable you to supervise children as they use the Internet. However, don’t deny your child the opportunity to learn from the wide variety of material and games available on the Internet. Instead, set some simple rules for keeping them safe and make sure they understand the importance of these rules.
Simple rules for keeping your child safe
To keep your child safe they should:
- Ask permission before using the Internet
- Only use websites you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine.
- Only email people they know (why not consider setting up an address book?)
- Ask permission before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know
- Do not use Internet chat rooms
- Do not use their real name when using games on the Internet (create a nick name)
- Never give out a home address, phone or mobile number
- Never tell someone where they go to school
- Never arrange to meet someone they have ‘met’ on the Internet
- Only use a webcam with people they know
- Ask them to tell you immediately if they see anything they are unhappy with.
Using these rules
Go through the rules with your child and pin them up near the computer. It is also a good idea to regularly check the Internet sites your child is visiting e.g. by clicking on History and Favourites. Please reassure your child that you want to keep them safe rather than take Internet access away from them.
- Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact from unknown people. Research different parental control software and tools available for your home and select the tools which are most suitable to you, your child and the technology in your home. Visit www.internetmatters.org for safety information and advice about parental controls on consoles and devices and how to report concerns.
- Make sure you read any parental guidance and safety recommendations (including age requirements – most popular social networking sites and apps are only for users aged 13+) for any apps or websites before allowing your child to use them – visit www.net-aware.org.uk
- Always remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
Take an active interest in your child’s life online and talk openly with them about the things they do. Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.
To start a conversation with your child you could tell them that you understand that some young people share images and videos online and that you’re interested to know what they think about it and how they think they can keep themselves safe.
Dialogue – keep talking
- Ensure that your child knows that once a picture, video or comment is sent or posted online, then it can be very difficult to remove as other people can forward it and share it with others, without them even knowing.
- www.childnet.com and www.thinkuknow.co.uk has some really useful tips and ideas for parents/carers about starting conversations about online safety
- Always ensure your child knows how to report and block people online who may send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply to cyberbullying and to keep any evidence.
- Make sure your child knows it’s important that they tell an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
Remember, the internet is an essential part of young people’s lives and provides them with tremendous opportunities. Having clear rules and systems in place will help to ensure that they have a positive experience and do not come to any harm.
A free program including games and useful information, made by Google. We use Internet Legends at Penpol as a core part of our e-safety lessons. This software is free to use at home.
"Bringing together the NSPCC’s expertise in protecting children and O2’s tech know-how, we’re helping you keep your kids safe online. Whether you’re an online expert or you’re unsure of where to start, we’re here to help."
Know IT all for Parents is a unique interactive e-safety guide produced by Childnet International.
It's designed to really help you as a parent or carer keep up to date with how children are using the internet and support them in using these new exciting services safely and responsibly.
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