The world is becoming increasingly 'virtual' with the internet connecting people in a wide range of arena through a number of different device types. Just as we aim to keep children safe when in our immediate care we should aim to monitor their use of the internet and ensure they are enjoying the rich range of resources in a safe and controlled manner. This is known as 'E-Safety' which can be defined in a number of ways. One such definition is "E-Safety is about utilising information and communication technologies in a safe and responsible way. It is mainly concerned with the safeguarding of young people in the digital world and making sure they feel safe when accessing new technology. It is can be associated with websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and any other social networks"
With the internet growing rapidly and technology becoming more accessible to children and young people, it is important to keep abreast with what they are using and the dangers of being online.
Whether we like it or not, technology and the Internet are firmly fixed in our children’s lives. Use of the Internet can be a wonderful thing, opening up new worlds and supporting children’s learning and development in many ways, as well as being a fun way to relax and keep in touch with friends. However, we are all aware of the pitfalls and dangers of the online community, and since most of the current generation of parents grew up in the days before smartphones, we can feel a little clueless as to how best to protect our children.
Here are some ideas which will support your primary school child’s safety and well-being online.
• Set up parental controls on your home broadband and all Internet-enabled devices your child has access to.
• Password-protect all accounts.
• Choose the sites your child has access to on their account.
• Make sure your child is using child-safe search engines, such as Swiggle or KidzSearch, and activate ‘safe search’ options on other search engines such as Google and YouTube.
• Switch devices to airplane mode when your child is playing online games. This will prevent them from accidentally making in-app purchases or contacting other players online
• Pay close attention to the age ratings on games, apps and films to make sure they are suitable for your child. If you would not allow your child to watch a 15 certificate film, you should not let them play a game with the same rating.
• Set your homepage to a child-friendly one. • Keep all devices your child will use, in a high-traffic communal area in your home, such as the kitchen or living room. Be with your child when they are online and talk about what they are doing.
• Set rules for screen time and stick to them.
• Investigate safe social media sites for kids.
• Sometimes children find themselves bullying or being bullied online (also known as ‘cyberbullying’). Talk to your child about being a good friend online, and how our words and actions still hurt even if we can’t see a person’s reaction to them.
• Talk regularly about the importance of online safety, and about what your child is getting up to online. You’ll be grateful you did this, especially as your child gets older. Keeping those lines of communication open is a powerful way of letting your child know that you trust them but expect them to be honest. Research shows that the age at which children are accessing smart devices and the Internet is getting younger and younger. It’s never too soon to start good E- Safety habits with your child.