Online safety for Parents
When talking technology with your child, think STAR:
Safety settings, Transparency, Activity, Responsible use.
Gaming – Play Virtual, Live Real
PEGI ratings & content descriptors can be used to help parents and young people make informed choices before purchasing or playing a game. Consider what your child might be exposed to when gaming and make appropriate choices based or their age and maturity.
Take an active interest in what your child is playing and who they are gaming with.
Encourage your child to alert you when someone they’re gaming with tries to connect outside of the game.
Grooming is as much a risk on gaming platforms as it is on social media – be aware that offenders will go where children go. Not everyone is who they say they are. Play virtual, live real.
Think about the content of the game and whether younger children in the household might be subjected to content inappropriate for their age.
Talk to your child about the importance of protecting their personal information, such as their full name or where they live.
Encourage your child to tell you if someone they don’t know is trying to connect outside of the game and to speak out if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or upset.
Social media was originally designed as a space for adults and as such, children can be left particularly vulnerable. Be familiar with the different privacy and safety settings offered.
Useful sources of information include:
When using social media, your child will stumble across images that you’d rather they didn’t see even with the best privacy settings – encourage them to feel comfortable telling you what they’ve seen, heard, watched or been sent.
Once something is seen, it’s hard to ‘unsee’. Consider how your child will develop ‘digital resilience’ – the ability to respond appropriately to what they encounter.
Social media becomes what you make it – there are many positives to it’s use.
Allow your child to be creative and collaborate with their classmates. Older pupils may also benefit from following their teacher’s tweets!
Be aware that some activity can be unhealthy. For example: bullying behaviour, trolling, connecting with users who promote unhealthy behaviours such as anorexia (pro-ana) and self-harm.
Be mindful of age restrictions and be respectful of other users, bearing in mind that they might not have the same intentions as you.
Model positive online behaviours. Agree conditions on how and when they use their devices for social media.
Trust your gut – if they’re reluctant to share their online world with you then question why.
The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum defines bullying as the repeated use of power by one or more persons intentionally to harm or to hurt others.
There are a number of organisations who will provide help and support to a child who is being bullied online. Our advice to our pupils is to screenshot the evidence, block the user and tell someone you trust.
Talk to your child about the feelings they experience online. Check your child’s chats regularly – do they talk to others online in a way that you wouldn’t expect to hear them talk face-to-face?
Studies suggest that young people who are now exposed to technology from a young age struggle to develop empathy – the ability to understand the feelings of others and use those to guide our actions.
Recognise the warning signs that your child may be a victim of bullying and if you are at all concerned talk to your child, talk to us or talk to an organisation such as Childline who can provide help and advice.
Cases of online bullying include excluding someone from a group chat, trolling or goading someone with comments or images, and images of the victim shared with the intent to humiliate or cause distress.
Take time away from technology.
Remember that reporting incidents will not only help your child, but likely others too: encourage your child to be an up stander to bullying, not a bystander.
A recent study by YouGov highlighted that parents were more concerned about their child sexting, than about alcohol misuse or smoking.
Sexting is defined as a sexual text, image or video sent on a device and may include requests for pictures in return.
It is a crime to possess, take, make, distribute or show anyone a sexual image of a person under the age of 18.
If you find a sexual or indecent image, messages or video of them or someone you believe to be under the age of 18 then please call 101 for advice, or speak to us if you would like guidance or support to contain the image if you think other pupils are involved.
By ensuring sexting is not a taboo, we’re empowering our young people to know who to go to for help, and what that help looks like. The CEOP videos to help parents talk to their child about sexting can be found here – www.youtube.com/user/ceop/playlists (Nude selfies: What parents & carers need to know)
Cases of sexting are categorised based on the nature of the content, the age and number of the persons involved, and the frequency of the contact. As a school we follow strict protocol and always prioritise the protection and safety of the child.
Start the conversations at home, even before the child has a device. Make sure your child knows the risks involved in making, taking, possessing or sending on content of a sexual nature.
Please contact Mrs Hill (Online safety Coordinator, DDT Child Protection) or Mrs McKay (VP Pastoral, DT Child Protection) if you require further support or guidance.
Further information can also be found at www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers