Technology is expanding at an ever increasing rate and the internet is becoming more and more readily available; laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles, even TVs and DVD players now allow access to the internet. It's a wonderful learning tool for children, a place where they can explore and find out about a range of exciting and interesting things; the world is literally at their fingertips. However, like the real world, there are many dangers in the virtual world, and it is important that we work together to ensure that our children are safe online.
How can you help to keep your children safe online?
Know what your children are doing online and who they are talking to. Ask them to teach you to use any apps you have never used.
Keeping the computer in a family room means that you can share your child’s online experience
Help your children to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends — personal information includes their messenger ID, email address, mobile number and any pictures of themselves, their family or friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it. Remind them that anyone may be looking at their images.
If your child receives spam/junk email & texts, remind them never to believe them, reply to them or use them. It’s not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don’t know. They won’t know what they contain — it could be a virus, or worse — an inappropriate image or film.
Help your child to understand that some people lie online and therefore it’s better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust.
Always keep communication open for a child to know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable.
Teach young people how to block someone online and how to report them if they feel uncomfortable
Computer & video game awareness
Computer and video games now have a Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) rating printed on the front of the case. If your child is at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant school, any game they play or watch should have a green PEGI.
N.B. Even if your child is only watching an older family member playing a game with a 12, 16 or 18 rating, they still are being exposed to unsuitable material.
You may also want to have a look at Digital Parenting Magazine http://vodafonedigitalparenting.co.uk/
If you have questions or concerns, please speak to your child’s teacher or a member of school staff.
These websites will give you and your child more information about staying safe online.
• www.thinkuknow.co.uk - The police's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) website which has been designed and written specifically for children, young people, teachers, parents and carers.
• www.getsafeonline.org A beginner's guide to using the Internet safety, including a quiz and some video tutorials about how to ‘stay safe’ on-line.
• www.kidsmart.org.uk - Kidsmart is an award winning internet safety website for parents and those working with children. It has been developed by the children's internet charity Childnet International and has excellent information on many of the technologies used by children, with guidance on how to ‘stay safe’ online.
• www.bullying.co.uk - One in five young people have experienced bullying by text message or via email. This web site gives advice for children and parents on bullying.
• http://parents.vodafone.com/ - Vodafone have developed this website in conjunction with mumsnet. It is very accessible and provides information and guidance to parents with understanding their child’s digital world and get more involved. There is even an on-line test to see how much you know!