The Internet has become an important part of children's lives, enabling them to research school projects, talk to their friends and access information from around the world. Increasing provision of the Internet in and out of schools brings with it the need to ensure that learners remain safe. Internet development is constantly evolving into ever more innovative areas with many websites enabling amazing creativity and interaction between peers.
Unfortunately though, there are times when Internet use can have a negative effect on children.
Parents, carers and adults in schools should be aware of the potential dangers and be taking measures to ensure safe usage by all.
Children at St Leonards use the Internet on a regular basis as part of their learning. In school, we have regular 'e-safety' activities to remind children of the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
At home, many children are often given unsupervised access to the Internet. This potentially, allows them to access all kinds of content (both good and bad) and bring it into their homes.
Here are a few tips:
- Keep your computer in a shared area - Talk to your child about what they are doing online and, if possible, set up your computer in a shared area at home so that you can always see what sites are being visited.
- Facebook and all other Social Media Sites - Are you aware that many of these sites have a minimum age limit of 13, so our pupils should NOT be using them?
- Google Safe Search - This is designed to screen sites that contain sexually explicit content and remove them from your search results. While no filter is 100% accurate, Safe Search helps you avoid content you may prefer not to see or would rather your children did not stumble across. By default, Moderate Safe Search is turned on, which helps keep explicit images out of your search results. If you prefer, you can change your setting to Strict filtering to help filter out explicit text as well as images. You can modify your computer's Safe Search settings by clicking on Search settings at the top right of the Google homepage.
Explore e-safety sites - There are lots of useful e-safety sites. They are great fun to explore, so why not browse through them with your children?
Some recommended sites for parents and carers can be found under Community - useful links.
LATEST ADVICE FOR FAMILIES FROM HEALTH EXPERTS IN THE UK:
- Don't use phones and mobile devices at the dinner table - they say talking as a family is very important for development
- Keep screens out of the bedroom at bedtime
- Talking as a family about keeping safe online and about cyber-bulling and what children should do if they are worried
- Making sure children take a break from screens every two hours by getting up and being active
- They also say parents should be more careful about their own screen time too and that parents should give their children proper attention and quality family time and never assume they are happy for pictures to be shared
Most consoles have a huge selection of parental controls available to use - and these are usually disabled 'out of the box', which means that lots of people are not aware exactly what they can do.
For example, on the Xbox One, parental controls can enable you to give each member of your family a different user account. In each different account, you can:
- Filter internet content to stop children accessing adult content.
- Limit the age certificates of games children can access (for example, it can allow them to play only games which have a 'PEGI' rating under 12).
- Limit the TV and films available to a user to a certain age rating.
- Block purchasing apps or downloading free apps without permission.
- Set a daily or weekly 'time limit', which will lock them out after a certain period of time.
Please see the links below for details of how to set parental controls for a range of consoles and other gadgets:
Iphone and ipad