We are very proud to be taking the lead in our local area with children’s education about online safety BUT we are also very aware that many children actively choose to disregard their learning in this area when they leave the school site. They do this because it is simply more fun, more interesting, more exciting and more interactive to take the risks; risks which the children cannot fully appreciate at their young age.
The main problem is that children have remarkably high confidence with technology but remarkably low maturity of experience to deal with it in a socially safe way.
As a minimum, it is vital that parents regularly check their children's texts, IMs, internet history and social media accounts. This is not being invasive, this is being responsible. Children have to know that their parents care as much about who they interact with online as in the street. You should be upfront and honest about doing this.
Backing up what's taught in school
Adults in school talk about e-safety as part of daily life, whether this be establishing an open relationship to talk positively about ICT at age 4 or agreeing what to do with an offensive text message at age 11. The "level of chat" used is as follows:
|Year 6||Recognise inappropriate contact and conduct, and know how to report and address concerns|
|Year 5||Know a range of ways to report inappropriate behaviour|
|Year 4||Use technology responsibly – both socially and academically|
|Year 3||Know a range of ways to report concerns|
|Year 2||Know to
keep personal information private
Know where to go for help and support when they have concerns about material on the internet, including using the Hector dolphin button
|Year 1||Use technology safely and respectfully|
|Early Years||Show understanding of the need for safety when using new programmes, and consider and manage some risks|
To mark "Safer Internet Day", all children take part in a carefully planned day which matches their 21st Century safety needs to some ‘age-appropriate’ learning activities. We do hope that the class-specific web links below will give all parents and carers a chance to talk to children about their online safety and habits at home. You may wish to ask your child to give you a guided tour of what they have been up to in class.
Children in Year 6 also take part in the National Cyber-bullying Survey. This survey is totally anonymous however we have our school "results" sent back to us to give a really detailed picture of what our children are experiencing online. As soon as we have those results, we publish them to all parents and carers so as to keep you well informed about children's online habits.
In school we have purposeful online safety systems including "Hector the Dolphin" who swims around in the corner of every computer screen in school. If children see anything that they are unsure of or don't think they should be seeing, clicking on Hector covers and locks the screen until an adult can get to the child's computer. This means that teachers can have e-safety conversations with individual children as soon as a problem arises. The Hector Safety Button is free and can be downloaded for use at home too - the link is here.
In school, children's internet searching choices are purposefully limited to Google's highest-level security "Safe Search" bar. "Google Safe Search" is an option that you can set your home computer to through the "Search Preferences" tab on your Google page.
If you have any comments, questions or further information needs, we would be more than happy to hear from you.