At Bentley Heath we believe the internet is a wonderful place to learn, play games and communicate with friends and family. It is a powerful tool for education, exploration and help in our lives. Online shopping and communicating are such a normal part of every-day life that they are now common factors in almost every household.
As with any public system, however, there are risks to online activity. These can be through: predators seeking to harm others, identity or data thieves looking to steal for financial gain or through misuse.
Increasingly our children are living an ‘online’ life, developing relationships at long distances and communicating with others online. Together with the risks mentioned, there is a danger to mental health from trolls and cyberbullies. We aim to educate our pupils on the best way to handle online social issues, and to know and exhibit good online behaviours of their own.
As part of both our educational and pastoral roles we believe we are well placed to support both our pupils, and their parents with navigating the increasing complexities of the online world.
There follows a list of websites and sources of information that we feel are great places to go for more information and support. We have arranged these into headings to help you easily navigate to the best sources for the information you are looking for.
Guides for parents
The NSPCC have a good site: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ which has a great guide to social media, apps and games with explanations of how safe they are, and associated risks.
Alan Mackenzie, an E-safety specialist, has produced a range of short videos, free to browse at: https://www.esafety-adviser.com/online-safety-videos/
Two more great sites for parents and pupils are:
Support with talking about E-safety concerns with children
A good guide to setting up safe devices: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/e-safety-checklist-getting-your-kids-tech-devices-set-up-safe/
A guide to buying ‘kids tech’
Parental controls and home filtering
Internet Service Providers have been encouraged to help parents be able to filter content. Information on this can be found at:
Modern online life means that children and young people often carry out relationships that parents may not be privy to. In this sort of environment bullying can take place. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying which usually takes place through common devices such as smartphones and tablets or computers.
This often takes place through use of social networking sites, messaging apps, Whatsapp groups and forums. Many of us have already experienced the types of behaviour that can be seen in these groups and forums, where users post comments that they would never be brave enough to say directly to someone. We aim to educate pupils in how to be better users, to have a code of conduct for good social interaction online, and how to deal with those that don’t through reporting procedures.
Increasingly online gaming platforms and gaming sites use chat rooms or chat facilities, and during competitive gaming is often when pupils may become victims of goading, bullying or unpleasant language. Cyberbullying may include: harassment; flaming (Trolling,) impersonation; outing and exclusion. This type of behaviour can also be threatening and involve blackmail and grooming.
A guide to ‘online gaming,’ with advice for parents
Bentley Heath Primary School supports the PREVENT initiative, and we advise parents to be aware of the sorts of sites or content their children are visiting. Feelings of stress and isolation may be exploited by online radicalists to target vulnerable young people – extremist sites promote hate and incite radical behaviours through misinformation and indoctrination.
This form of exploitation is difficult to spot and rare enough that we often think ‘it wouldn’t happen here,’ or ‘My child wouldn’t…’ and it is often in these situations where the worst can happen. A good site to look at is linked below to help you watch for the signs of radicalisation or discontent.
Grooming is still a very real risk online, particularly through social chat facilities, and even through gaming groups and online gaming. A ‘groomer’ is someone who works to engender a relationship with someone online and then sometimes in person – often with motives and intentions of a sexual nature. This can include inciting the target to send nude or exposed pictures or ‘sexts’ and increasingly as phone and table technology has developed, sending nude videos
Groomers can be of any sexual orientation age, gender, financial background, race or religious background. They hide behind the anonymity provided by the system they are using and don’t provide honest details about themselves, often pretending to be the same age as their target.
We encourage pupils to report any relationships or conversations they become uncomfortable with, and we educate them as to the dangers of losing control of their digital content. For instance, when a child sends someone sexual photos or videos of themselves, they lose control over what happens to that content. The recipient can share them and the circle of abuse may widen. Images and videos can be used for blackmail and even in more consensual relationships as pupils get older, they can be used for ‘revenge’ attacks. This link can provide you with more information and support https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/
Should you be experiencing issues or concerns online or are worried about a child or young person, you must seek help immediately. Depending on the type of issue you need support with you may need to contact different providers. These links take you to pages for advice on the best place to report the issue:
The following sites provide information about internet safety
Once downloaded, Hector can swim alongside children (in a corner of their computer screen) as they surf the Internet using Internet Explorer, or communicate with others using Outlook or Outlook Express. If a child is upset or worried about an image that comes up on the screen, they simply click on Hector. He immediately covers the screen with a beautiful underwater scene, and a reassuring message that the child has done the right thing, and now can go and get adult help.
|Surf Swell Island Adventure in Internet Safety||Think You Know|
|GetNetWise||Get Safe Online|