ONLINE SAFETY: WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO KNOW?
These links contain helpful information regarding staying safe while online.
E- Safety – Bristol Post
Parents Guide to Nude Selfies
Educate Against Hate
For more information please visit the NSPCC website.
The safety of the children in our care is of paramount importance to us. We foster a culture of vigilance among staff, students and parents/carers. We always listen to children and take their concerns seriously.
The internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge, especially if you feel that your children may have better technical skills than you do. However, children and young people still need support and guidance when it comes to managing their lives online and using the internet positively and safely.
Our partnership with National Online Safety means that all parents/carers at Bedminster Down School can access the most up to date guides for social media apps and platforms. Click on the links below to find out more information about each app and to download our useful tips to help keep children safe:
The App Store
Please see our child protection policy (Pdf) and anti-bullying policy (Pdf) for information about our current protocols and procedures or visit Childnet’s hot topics for more detailed information on topics such as social networking, online grooming, gaming and downloading.
Online safety: key information about social media (Twitter, Facebook and other social media applications)
Twitter and Facebook provide opportunities for students to communicate with friends, family and with new friends/contacts. There are also other applications which are similar to Facebook or Twitter, such as Instagram, designed for those aged 13 plus where children can make immediate connection with contacts (friends, family, aquaintances) using computers, tablets and suitably equipped mobile telephones (e.g. smart phones and iPhones). These sites allow children to view videos, images and text and write messages and to upload their own images (photos) which can be seen by the public or by selected groups depending on the security settings your child (or you) has/have chosen.
Twitter, Facebook and other similar sites are blocked on the Bedminster Down internet.
Although there are many positive aspects to social media, there are important things for parents to be aware of:
- Everything your child writes or uploads will be accessible and available to view depending on the security settings selected by your child. This could involve personal photographs/ images, comments etc.
- It is possible to make an unpleasant comment about someone else which everyone can see.
- It is possible to make a defamatory comment about an organisation or individual.
- It is possible to easily view graphic pornography, violence, disturbing images, sexism, or other forms of hate speech on Facebook and/or Twitter. This is also the case on other types of social media such as Instagram.
- If your child has a Smartphone with 3G or 4G technology they will be able to access the internet and in school internet filtering will not have any effect on what a student can see on their personal device.
If a student is found to have made an unpleasant remark/comment about another student then they will be punished even if this has taken place outside of school. If a student makes an inappropriate or unpleasant remark about the school or a member of staff then the student will be punished for this gross lack of respect. Parents/carers will always be involved if we ever have to deal with these issues.
Here a number of useful social media sitesguides for parents and carers
Parents’ online safety helpline gives parents and carers ideas to consider and useful links about gaming, bullying, live streaming, apps and instant messaging.
Online safety: what can parents do to keep their children safe?
A simple and effective way to get involved with your children and their lives online is through discussion. Consider using these conversation starters for parents and carers to get the ball rolling:
- 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. 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.
- Think about how you use the internet as a family. What could you do to get more out of the internet together and further enjoy your lives online?
Adults can approach your children online in order to make contact with them. Sometimes these adults will pretend to be children in order to build trust. When trust has been established your child may be asked to send a picture or to speak online using a camera or other device. In the worst cases adults can pose as children and arrange to meet in public without you being aware. Adults and sometimes, other children, have been known to ask children to send indecent images (naked pictures) using Facebook, Twitter or email. To receive these images is a criminal offence for any individual and punishable in law.
We take measures to educate all students about these possibilities through our curriculum but, of course, supervising students outside of school requires parents/carers to make their own arrangements, and for children and young people to make the right choices.
Sadly, on-line predators are at work across the region attempting to lure children and young people every day of every week. One of the best way to stop this is for parents/carers to carefully monitor activities at home and to never allow children to use computers and electronic devices without appropriate supervision. Parents/carers must also ensure that all devices have appropriate security settings to make sure that children do not see things that they should not and so that they can be well protected from predatory adults.
Information on sexting and online sexual exploitation
The Lucy Faithful Foundation is the only UK-wide charity focused solely on reducing the risk of children being sexually abused and exploited and as part of their work they offer support for parents whose children have been affected by these issues.
The guide, What’s the problem? is aimed at supporting parents whose children have already got into trouble online – helping them to understand what has happened, why and how parents can talk to their children and get further support.
The guide explains to parents:
- What the law in the UK says about children accessing sexual material online, including taking, distributing and posting indecent images and video of themselves or of other children (under 18)
- How to respond to children who have produced, shared or viewed illegal images online.
- The consequences of illegal online sexual behaviour on work, family and social life
- The possible impact of regular access to adult sexual material on relationships.
- How to help their children cope with peer pressure to share indecent material online
- Where to access support to prevent a repeat of their child’s worrying online sexual behaviour.
- Additional resources include literature and video materials aimed at young people who have been involved in ‘sexting’
- The guide also alerts parents to the most popular sites used by children to access adult sexual materials as well as to send and receive sexual images of themselves.
Online safety: what can parents do if they have any concerns?
If you have a concern of any kind, please do not ‘wait and see’ or assume that someone else is dealing with it. Please contact the school immediately or see the sources of additional information below: