Keeping Children Safe Online At Hawthorn AND at Home
The internet has revolutionised and has incredibly changed how we communicate and socialise with people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With access at our fingertips, it can be even more challenging to keep your children safe online, especially when they have their own computers, laptops, smartphones/mobile phones, tablets and games consoles.
As a parent or carer it is important to educate yourself, children and young people that as well as the endless opportunities available through the internet and technology, there are also associated risks to be aware of.
Potential online risks can include:
- access and exposure to inappropriate /disturbing images and content
- access and exposure to racist or hate material
- sexual grooming, luring, abuse and exploitation by/with strangers
- sharing personal information with strangers that could identify and locate a child offline
- online bullying (cyber bullying) by peer and people they consider their ‘friends’
- being encouraged take part in violent behaviour such as ‘happy slapping’
- sending or receiving sexually explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others (this is known as sexting when sent by mobile phone)
- glorifying activities such as drug taking or excessive drinking
- physical harm to young people in making video content, such as enacting and imitating stunts and risk taking activities
- leaving and running away from home as a result of contacts made online.
Further information and practice guidance for Parents and Carers can be found in the links on this part of Hawthorn's website.
There are several ways to help keep your child/ren safe online:
- educate yourself and children and young people know about the dangers online
- tell them what they should do if anything goes wrong online or upsets them i.e. tell someone about it
- explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone
- ensure computers and laptops are used where you can see and not out of sight in a bedroom
- use parental settings, filtering software and privacy setting to block inappropriate sites and content.
Do please take time to look at the links for further help/information. We can help in school also. This term, we will be carrying out some Information/discussion sessions which will include this very important aspect of Safety for your children. Further details to follow...
Stay Safe Online Code Of Conduct (This is referred to regularly in school...why not use at home?...)
A few good starting points for being e-safe in the home in 2019
Childnet International - Website Links, suggestions about where to get good advice to help your child keep safe while on the 'net
Think U know?
This website is designed for parents and young people and contains easy to understand information about staying safe online.
In a hurry? As a really basic starting point, here are our top tips for keeping your child safe online...
Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from five all the way to 16.
Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.