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Online Safety for Parents

The Internet is a wonderful and diverse place, filled with incredible information resources. Yet for many parents and carers, who often have less knowledge and experience of the Internet, it can be a place of concern. We worry about what or whom our children may encounter online, and how we can protect them with possibly our own limited knowledge.

While we use it for booking holidays and answering emails, our children may be using the Internet for researching school projects, listening to music, playing online games and emailing friends. They might be thinking about, or maybe already set up social networking pages, instant messaging with webcams or blogging.

Most children use the Internet safely and responsibly and we shouldn’t therefore lose sight of the positive aspects. As parents, we need to balance our concerns about their safety online with empowering them to explore and make the most of this wonderfully rich resource, safe in the knowledge that they can talk to us about anything they may run into.

Our School's Vision
Learning about Online Safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School. We have extensive security measures in place in school to help safeguard pupils from potential dangers or unsuitable material. Any Online Safety incidents are recorded and managed in accordance with our Online Safety Policy. Online Safety is taught to all pupils explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online.

We can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with parents to ensure the Online Safety message is consistent. It is important that parents speak to their children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online. It’s essential to be realistic - banning the Internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem. Education around safe use is essential.

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Dr Tanya Byron
"A useful way for us all to think about this is to look at how we protect children in places of benefit and risk in the real (offline) world: public swimming pools. Here there are safety signs and information; shallow as well as deep ends; swimming aids and lifeguards; doors, locks and alarms. However children will sometimes take risks and jump into waters too deep for them or want to climb walls and get through locked doors - therefore we also teach them how to swim. We must adopt the same combination of approaches in order to enable our children and young people to navigate these exciting digital waters while supporting and empowering them to do so safely." Dr Tanya Byron, The Byron Review

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USEFUL WEBSITES Information for Parents
If you are concerned about something that may have happened while online, you can take control. If you are in immediate danger or want urgent help call 999 or contact your local police. Otherwise there are a number of ways to receive help and advice as well as the option to report any instance of sexual contact or harmful material to the at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. You are doing the right thing and by taking this action you may not only help yourself but also help make other people safer as well.
ParentInfo has a collection of aricles, ips, expert advice and resources designed to help parents keep up with what their children might be doing on-line.
Know IT All for Parents is a useful CD which parents can use with their children to make sure that they get the most out of the Internet. There is some sample content available on this site. Clicking on home will take you to the Childnet International site.
Read Tanya Byron’s independent review looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the Internet and in video games.
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) brings together organisations from industry, charities and the public sector to work with the Government to deliver the recommendations from Dr Tanya Byron's report.
Get Safe Online provides information and advice on using the Internet safely at home.
Ofcom have great advice for setting parental controls on mobile phones and digital television boxes.
CyberSense is our new app designed to help parents talk about Online Safety issues with their children to ensure that they make smart choices to stay safe online.

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USEFUL WEBSITES Sites for using with children
Welcome to your ultimate Internet survival guide. Here are the tips and tricks you'll need to stay safe online, beat the cyber-bullies and become a super-surfer.
Welcome to Childnet International’s website. The Internet is an amazing place and a wonderful resource and our aim is to help make the Internet a great and safe place for children and young people.
Kidsmart has advice for children under/over 11 as well as games. The SMART rules are useful to help young people remember how to stay safe.
The Internet Safety Zone has sections for parents and for children over and under the age of 13. The content and presentation of the site for over 13 years is also good.

Safe searching – information, images and videos - These are sites which are ‘safe’ to use when searching.
Primary School Safe Search is a great place to start Internet sessions for kids / pupils and teachers. Internet searches are filtered and appropriate content is displayed more often than a standard Internet search. Search is powered by Google Custom Search.
Photographs on a safe site from the US.
Images and videos of life on Earth.
Microsoft clip art and other images.

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Mobile Phone Checklist
You can now access the Internet on most mobile phones and whilst this access brings a world of incredible opportunities in terms of communication, interaction and entertainment, there are certain risks to children posed via the Internet. These risks include accessing potentially harmful content, such as pornography, possible dangerous contact with strangers in chatrooms and commercial pressures like spam and intrusive advertising.

The UK Mobile Operators have recognised these risks and have taken steps to help you protect your child from potentially harmful content accessible via your mobile phone. There are also things you can do to block premium rate calls and texts.

This guide written by children’s Internet charity, Childnet International, gives you a checklist of important questions to ask your Mobile Operator when purchasing a mobile phone so that you can ensure you have the tools and support to help protect children and make sure they get the most out of using their mobile phones safely.

Questions to Ask


Safety Advice
Ask for information and advice about the phone and the services that are available on it, so that you can ensure your children know how to use it safely.

Your mobile operator is committed to providing you with information and advice on safe use of their service. Be sure to check that they are keeping you informed.

Internet Access
Does this phone have Internet access?
Is there a filter to help block Internet content that is particularly harmful for children?
Is the filter switched on? If no, can you switch it on please?

All the UK Mobile Operators have to provide an Internet filter on their phones to help block accessing material that is potentially harmful to children, such as pornography. However, with most operators you will need to ask your operator to activate the filter.

Registering the Phone
Is the phone registered for a child or for an adult user?

Being registered as a child user will mean that you cannot access material provided by your mobile operator or its partners that is rated as 18+, i.e. unsuitable for children.

Bluetooth-enabled Phones
Is this phone ‘Bluetooth-enabled’?
How can I turn this off, or set it so the phone is not visible to others?

Bluetooth technology essentially enables your mobile phone to find and ‘talk’ to other Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones in the vicinity, or other enabled phones to ‘talk’ to your mobile.
When activated on your child’s mobile phone it means that they may receive unexpected and unwanted messages from other Bluetooth-enabled phone users nearby, and any personal information stored on your child’s phone – for example their contact list – could be vulnerable. Switching off the Bluetooth option is safer as it makes the phone ‘invisible’ to other Bluetooth users.

Premium Rate Calls and Texts
Can you put a bar on all premium rate numbers?
If you can’t bar these numbers, what services do you provide to protect the user here?

If you do find you have signed up for a reverse-billed premium rate service (where you pay to receive rather than send text messages, e.g. for ringtones or football score updates) and you do not want to continue this, then text STOP to the shortcode number you got the text from. This will end the service and your payments to it.

Chatrooms and Gaming
Can this phone access chatrooms or games where users can chat to each other?
Are these chatrooms or games moderated?
How are the chatrooms or games moderated?

Chatrooms or games (where you can chat to other users) what are provided by your mobile operator or its partners and which do not have an 18+ age-restriction must be moderated.

Nuisance/Malicious Calls
What number can I call to report receiving unwanted or abusive calls or messages?

Your mobile operator should have systems and procedures in place to help you deal with nuisance and malicious phone calls.

Reporting Abuse
Where do I report abuse of service? If for example I receive unwanted adult (18+) material on my phone while the filter is switched on, who should I report this to?

It is important to let your mobile operator know if their system is failing, both in order to protect yourself and others using the same service.

What action is your Mobile Operator taking to prevent SPAM?

Your mobile operator will take action against SPAM, whether it is text, picture or email. Find out what action your mobile operator is taking and report any SPAM received on your phone to them.

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Thinkuknow - share with your child
Here are some top tips for helping your child stay safe from the Thinkuknow website:

Talk to your child about what they’re up to online.  Be part of their online life; involve the whole family and show your 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 is 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 do 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 are aware of which devices your child uses connect to the Internet such as their phone and games console.  Also find out how they are accessing the Internet, is it your connection or a neighbour’s Wi-Fi?  This will affect whether the safety settings you set are being applied.

Use parental controls on devices that link to the Internet, such as TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones.  Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops.  They are not the answer for your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and are not as difficult to install as you might think.  Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.