Being online is an integral part of children and young people’s lives. Social media, online games, websites and apps can be accessed through mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablets – all of which form a part of children and young people’s online world.
The internet and online technology provides new opportunities for young people’s learning and growth, but it can also expose them to new types of risks.
Online safety should form a fundamental part of schools’ and colleges’ safeguarding and child protection measures.
Government guidance across the UK highlights the importance of safeguarding children and young people from harmful and inappropriate online material (Department for Education, 2021; Department of Education, 2020; Scottish Government, 2017; Welsh Government, 2020). See also online safety within KCSIE 2021.
A whole school approach to online safety helps ensure staff, governors, volunteers and parents teach children about online safety and ensure that online safety and its teaching is embedded within the day to day of the school
Following our ChildNet Workshop for Parents and Y5 and Y6 here is a checklist for parents.
The NSPCC have great advice about keeping children safe. Please take a look.
A message for Parents and Carers
Your children may know a lot about technology - but remember, you know a lot more about life.
Using parental controls
In partnership with Parent Zone, CEOP have created parent info, a free newsfeed service for school websites, which offers articles by leading experts on every aspect of children and young people's lives.
What parents need to know about:
Penns staff are regularly trained in safeguarding as we operate a culture of safeguarding. Please do not be offended if questioned on matters of a sensitive nature. Our priority is the children.
Use this form to report any online safety concerns
The statutory curriculum requires pupils to learn how to locate, retrieve and exchange information using ICT. In delivering the curriculum, teachers need to plan to integrate the use of communications technology such as web-based resources and e‑mail. Computer skills are vital to access life-long learning and employment; indeed ICT is seen as an essential life-skill.
Most technologies present risks as well as benefits. Internet use for work, home, social and leisure activities is forever expanding in all sectors of society. This brings young people into contact with a wide variety of influences, some of which may be unsuitable. It is important that Penns Primary School as well as parents and carers adopt strategies for the safe and responsible use of the Internet for the welfare and safety of our pupils.
Core Principles of Internet Safety at Penns Primary School
The Internet is as commonplace as the telephone or TV and its effective use is an essential life-skill. Unmediated Internet access brings with it the possibility of placing of pupils in embarrassing, inappropriate and even dangerous situations. Penns Primary Internet Policy is built on the following five core principles:
Guided Educational Use
Internet safety depends on staff, schools, governors, advisers, parents and the pupils themselves taking responsibility for the use of Internet and other communication technologies such as phones.
The use of a finite and expensive resource, which brings with it the possibility of misuse, requires regulation.
Fair rules, clarified by discussion and prominently displayed at the point of access will help pupils make responsible decisions.
These are based on limiting access of Internet web pages, developing responsibility and on guiding pupils towards educational activities.
Strategies will be selected to suit the situation and their effectiveness monitored.
There are no straightforward or totally effective solutions and staff, parents/carers and the pupils themselves must remain vigilant.
1. Why is Internet use important?
The purpose of Internet use in school is to raise educational standards, to promote pupil achievement, to support the professional work of staff and to enhance the school’s management information and business administration systems.
It benefits education by:
2. How will pupils learn to evaluate Internet content?
Developing good practice in Internet use as a tool for teaching and learning is clearly essential. The quality of information obtained on the internet is variable and everyone needs to develop skills in selection and evaluation. Information received via the Web, e-mail, text message or social network, also requires good information handling skills. In particular it may be difficult to determine origin and accuracy, as the contextual clues present with books or TV may be missing or difficult to read.
Teachers need to help pupils learn to distil the meaning from the mass of information provided by the Web, demonstrating effective use of the Internet in research, including the skills and knowledge of location, retrieval and evaluation. Often the quantity of information needs to be cut down and staff should guide pupils to appropriate Web sites that will support the learning objectives planned for the pupil’s age and maturity. Staff are advised to provide pupils with 3 or 4 suitable websites maximum, to use at any one time. Within these websites pupils must have the opportunity to develop and practise research skills, however within a ‘closed, safe environment. For example, http://www.bgfl.org/ , www.bbc.co.uk or http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/images/ (Microsoft Office ‘Clips online’)
At Penns Primary access to the Internet is planned to enrich and challenge learning activities, whilst it is designed to include a filtering system which will allow appropriate access for pupils and staff. Ideally inappropriate material would not be visible to pupils using the Web but this is not easy to achieve and cannot be guaranteed. It is a sad fact that pupils may occasionally be confronted with inappropriate material, despite all attempts at filtering. Pupils will be taught what Internet use is acceptable and what is not, and given clear objectives for Internet use. They will be taught what to do if they experience material that they find distasteful, uncomfortable or threatening:
If staff or pupils discover unsuitable sites, the URL (address) and content must be reported to the ICT co-ordinator, who will inform the Head teacher and contact Birmingham Grid for Learning to arrange a filter for this website.
3. Email Guidelines
The government encourages the use of e-mail as an essential means of communication for both staff and pupils. However, the use of e-mail requires that the implications for the school and for the pupils have been thought out and that appropriate safety measures have been put in place.
In the school context, e‑mail should not be considered private and schools, reserve the right to monitor e-mail. Our strategy is to limit pupils’ e-mail to within the school network, they may only use approved e-mail accounts on the school system and must not reveal any details of themselves or others, if they receive an offensive e-mail it must be reported immediately to a teacher. In Key Stage 1 Whole-class or group e-mail addresses will be used.
Staff must access and use only the school email address provided when on the school network.
4. School Website
The school website reflects the school's ethos, in that information is accurate and well presented and that personal security is not compromised. The point of contact on the website is the school address, school e-mail and telephone number.
Written permission from parents or carers will be obtained before photographs of pupils are published on the school website. Photographs that include pupils will be selected carefully, and pupils’ full names will not be used anywhere on the website, particularly in association with photographs.
5. Social Networking
Social networking is a popular conferencing application offering instantaneous exchange of text and images between groups of users via the Internet. Security levels on these sites vary widely and, for this reason, social networking websites, including chat rooms and forums, are generally banned by school filtering systems.
Their use by pupils outside school is huge and realistically there is little hope of control. The approach therefore that parents need to take is one of keeping aware of how their children are using the Internet and advising them of the dangers. Also for teachers to reinforce safety if and when accessing social networking websites. The Childnet International site www.chatdanger.com has useful advice for pupils.
6. Pupil Internet Usage
At Key Stage 1, access to the Internet will be by adult demonstration and directly supervised access to specific, approved on-line materials. At Key Stage 2 pupils will not be allowed unsupervised Internet access within school. Any infringements of this rule will result in sanctions. Pupils will also be permitted to use the suggested websites provided by their teachers for the particular purpose. Pupils should not use search engines unless it is a child friendly e.g. http://www.topmarks.co.uk/ Pupils must not search for images.
Parents will be informed that pupils will be provided with supervised Internet access and asked to sign a permission slip (an example letter is included in the appendix).
7. Staff Internet usage
It is important that teachers and learning support assistants are confident to use the Internet in their work. The School Internet Policy will only be effective if all staff subscribe to its values and methods. Staff should be given opportunities to discuss the issues and develop appropriate teaching strategies. It would be unreasonable, for instance, if cover staff or supply staff were asked to take charge of an Internet activity without preparation.
Staff must understand that the rules for any BCC employee on Internet misuse are quite specific, and are asked to sign the Acceptable ICT and Internet Usage Policy for Staff. Instances of misuse resulting in dismissal have occurred. If staff have doubts as to the legitimacy of any aspect of their Internet use in school, they should discuss this with their line manager to avoid any possible misunderstanding.
Internet use is widespread and all staff including administration, caretaker, governors and helpers should be included in appropriate awareness raising and training. Internet use should be included in the induction of new staff, for instance in the selection of appropriate modes of expression in e-mail communication to prevent confusion. Staff should be aware that Internet traffic can be monitored and traced to the individual user. Discretion and professional conduct is essential.
8. Advice regarding home use of the Internet – Guidance for Parents.
The internet can be a very valuable learning resource and parents should not be discouraged from allowing their children to use it as such – there are some simple ways of protecting your own child/ children at home:
Have the computer situated in an area used by all the family, rather than in a child’s bedroom – that way you can literally keep an eye on what they are accessing and discuss it with them. Some experts say, “You would not invite a stranger into your child’s bedroom but putting a computer in there is potentially doing that very thing.”
Most Internet providers include Parental Control options with their packages and you may want to use some or all of these options to prevent access to certain types of site – it may also be worth considering using the ‘Pop–Up blocker’ option – advertising on the Internet is not controlled in the way that it is in other areas of the media and much of it is done by using the pop-up boxes on screen.
Be aware that within a website, there may be Internet links to games websites for titles which are classified as unsuitable for children.
If you have any concerns about what your child has been accessing on the Internet you can use the History button on the Internet control bar to check websites recently visited. If you find that temporary Internet files have been deleted this could indicate that your child has been on a website which they do not want you to know about.
Do remember that inappropriate websites can be accessed accidentally, and you should encourage your child to tell you if they have been linked to a site which they do not think is suitable. You can then use your parental control option to block the website.
You may find the following websites useful http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/
Particularly for Parents and Children
https://swgfl.org.uk/resources/checklists/roblox/#resource (Roblox Safety Checklist)
Think U Know? www.thinkuknow.co.uk/