Staying Safe Online
The use of social media and online activity is common place and with this in mind we would like to provide some advice that is intended to help safeguard our Whitehill community, whether child or adult.
Social media is a good example of how online behaviour can present online safety risks. Users can express themselves through chat and socialising with friends and family. They can publish and share multimedia content such as music, photos, and video clips. If used inappropriately however, users can put themselves and others at risk.
Most social media sites set an age restriction for users of their site, for example TikTok and Fortnight are for aged 12+ and Snapchat has a minimum age of 13 years. However, there is no verification and we know our families with primary aged children often do not read the terms and conditions of use, unaware of the risks this might pose. Something to remember is that if your child is using false information then others can do so as well.
Our children could be putting themselves and others at serious risk when they:
- Upload inappropriate, offensive or even illegal content unwittingly
- Post photos and material which could damage their own or others reputations
- Post inappropriate comments on other peoples’ profiles that are humiliating, could cause offence or may be interpreted by the recipient as bullying
- Create false profiles and accept friend requests or engage with people they do not know.
We live in a society where we are proud of our freedom of speech and we would not wish to suggest that this should be curtailed in anyway. There are occasions however, when things said in the virtual world are at best unhelpful and at worst, may constitute harassment, bullying or intimidation which could ultimately lead to Police involvement.
In the interest of safeguarding and Online Safety, we would recommend the following:
- Consider whether your child should be using social media sites at such a young age
- Have a conversation with your child about appropriate use, including the impact of ‘peer pressure’ when with friends, how anonymous or instantaneous online communication can change behaviours and online ‘stranger danger’ can occur.
- If you choose to allow your child to use online social networking sites, set privacy settings and block anonymous posts
- Supervise your child’s online activity very closely, especially on social network sites and ensure you have their passwords
- Encourage your child to tell you or school about anything which makes them feel ‘uncomfortable’
- Refrain from posting anything which could damage reputations or be considered offensive, inappropriate or illegal
- Report and block any activity which is inappropriate or risky
- Ensure your child is talking to an age appropriate person on line preferably not strangers
Each week, we have a section on our newsletter with useful information for parents. You can also access some useful guides for parents below on different online devices and platforms.
Remember, if you are concerned about your child or another child at our school, please come and speak with us.