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Online Safety

Why is it important?

21st century children spend a lot of time online. The Catsfield School Community understands that the internet is a great way to learn new things, socialise with friends and have fun.

But there are risks! As soon as your child has access to the internet – whether that’s via a smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC or games console – they are connected to the outside world, giving the outside world access to them.

Without supervision and education, the internet can be a risky place for children – they might see inappropriate content, be contacted by strangers, or become a victim of cyberbullying. 

Understanding the risks is the first step to keeping your child safe online. You can help them to enjoy the internet safely by taking steps to set up secure systems, and talking to them to raise awareness of potential risks and how to avoid them. 

The information on this page will help you to keep your family safe online and was assisted by Christopher Whitelaw, who leads annual E-Safety training for the parents, governors and children at Catsfield School.   

Top tips for parents

Computer security - make sure that your home computer and all linked devices are set up securely eg by using anti virus software, firewalls and a strong password (upper and lower case and numbers and symbols).

Set boundaries for your child - before your child starts to use the internet, make it clear that it is a privilege and not a right! Set time limits and agree suitable websites / content from the outset. Draw this up as a contract between you and them and develop rewards and consequences based on this. 

Parental controls - these can help you control how much time your child spends online, what websites they can visit and the content they are allowed to view.  You can set up parental controls via settings/accounts on your individual devices. The main internet providers offer free parental controls. You can also get specialist software from companies like Norton, McAfee and AVG.

Developing an open environment - keep an eye on your child's internet activity and have regular discussions about the sites, webs and apps they are using. Where possible keep the computer in a communal area of your home. 

Age limits - all online content has age ratings; knowing this will help you discuss with your children whether the content they are viewing is appropriate for their age and level of understanding. This is especially important for children who want to access social networking sites (most have a minimum age of 13).  You can check ratings and parent reviews of popular sites, apps and games at www.net-aware.org.uk

The children being taught E-Safety

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Helping your child

Enter is Forever - remind your child that whenever they post a comment, picture or video this is permanent. Even if they delete it, it may have already been copied, shared or saved. Make them aware that poorly judged actions may affect them in the future!

Stranger Danger - children see no difference between real friends and online friends. Explain that you never really know who you are talking to online AND not everyone is who they say they are. Think wolf, granny and Little Red Riding Hood! Stress that they should never agree to meet anyone in person who they have only met online.

Online Privacy - talk about online privacy settings for various websites, apps and games. Spend time with your child helping them to set privacy controls at the highest possible level. Ensure your conversations about privacy also include that fact that they should never share passwords (which must be strong), their home address, the location of their school or favourite places to play. Also ensure webcams, which are built into phones, tablets and laptops, are covered up when not in use and that all devices are switched off at night.

Flag it up - if your child sees or hears anything that makes them feel uncomfortable then they should tell you immediately or tell an adult at school the next day. Most sites have 'report abuse' buttons. 

Everyone makes mistakes - reassure your child that if they have done something they regret, or have seen anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable, it is best to tell immediately. The quicker an adult finds out, the quicker the child can be helped!

Be their friend - once you have given your child permission to have any online account, you could monitor their activity by being their 'friend'. Or you could insist that you know the username and password to all their accounts so that you can view their activity and educate or praise them accordingly.