Online safety is an important part of keeping children safe at school and at home.
Online Safety is taught to all pupils at Drapers Mills and our curriculum enables children to be aware how they can stay safe and behave appropriately online.
But we can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work together with the adults around the children.
Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can behave appropriately online and keep themselves safe.
Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to illegal, unwanted or unpleasant content, comments or activity online and there are steps you can take at home to minimise this risk.
We know that new apps and sites appear daily online and it would be unrealistic to ask parents and carers to understand all of them.
The sites and services that your child likes to use may change regularly, but the messages they need to keep themselves safe will remain the same
think before you post
be kind online
ask for help if something makes you feel worried, upset or uncomfortable.
What can I do to keep my child safe online?
Don’t wait until there is a problem before you start talking about it.
Sit with your child and get them to show you the apps they use, who they contact and how. Get to know the sites and apps they use, find out what they can do and make sure your child knows how to report hurtful messages or block people.
Educate your child to never give out identifying information about any family member or themselves. This includes: names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, passwords or bank card numbers.
Don’t be afraid to have rules. No tech in the bedroom or at dinner time will help your child learn how to regulate their own screen time, and help them to step away from a fake ‘screen world’ and back to the real world.
You can usually find age restrictions within the app’s terms and conditions of an app. This is not the same as the app/google store rating. The age limit for many popular social networking sites is thirteen.
Many popular apps will have ‘help’ or ‘safety’ section, either within the app itself or via its website. Some apps will even have content specifically designed for parents and carers.
Does the app have any privacy settings? If so then help your child to apply them appropriately.
Explore the block and report features. Can your child block or report concerning users or inappropriate behaviour? If the app doesn’t have safety or help sections or doesn’t provide the ability to report and block then you may wish to consider if it is safe for your child to use.
Make sure your children understand…
That content posted online should never be considered to be private and may be copied and shared.
That they should behave online the same as they would in “the real world” and be kind.
How to be secure online, such as by using safe and strong passwords.
If your child wishes to download a new app then we’d recommend considering some of the following points:
Ask your child why they want to use the app?
How did they hear about it?
Discuss with them how they will keep themselves safe.
Make sure they know how to block and report other users and content
Make sure they know to speak to a trusted adult if they see anything or something happens online that makes them feel worried, upset or uncomfortable.
Make sure that you understand how the app works so you can decide if you are happy for your child to use it. You may even wish to set up an account yourself first.
Does it allow video chat or the sharing of images?
Does it allow user to communicate with ‘random’ strangers?
Does it allow anonymous chat?
Does it allow in-app purchases?
Can you restrict access to the content that your child shares?
How will your child’s personal data be used by the app?
Children can be worried that by telling their parents about issues will lead to them being banned from social media or having their devices taken away. Reassure them that this isn't the case.
If they are having issues try these useful tips instead:
Set any social media accounts to private and help them to delete offensive comments.
Go through abusive messages or images and ask them to show you anything they receive in the future. If the messages or images are illegal, keep copies, dates, times, email addresses or phone numbers and take them to the police. (Do not forward the messages- this in itself is an offence)
Turn off location settings so that people can’t find them in the real world.
Block users on apps or block the phone numbers of anyone contacting them via text.
If the problem children go to the same school inform your child’s class teacher and ask for help and advice.
Please do not notify suspicious profiles of your actions, as this could enable them to delete material which might be required for any Police investigations. You can contact Kent Police via 101 or via 999 if there is an immediate risk to a child’s safety (additional advice can be found at www.kent.police.uk/internetsafety)
You can contact Kent Children’s Social Services on 03000 41 11 11. You can also report online sexual abuse to CEOP by visiting www.ceop.police.uk and using the “Click CEOP” reporting button.
Some links parents might find useful: