Educating young people to be safe online
New website for parents with lots of e-safety advice:
There are many, many positive aspects to children using the internet. When we become aware of the possible problems, we should not panic and withdraw all access. A responsible, caring attitude will ensure that the problem does not merely get ‘shifted’ somewhere else. If we can educate young people to be sensible, careful users of the internet, we will be better preparing them for the future. This page looks at student's use of the internet and suggests some sources for further advice and help.
A very interesting article on myths and facts in online safety can be read here:
A useful website with information for parents
Teacher Toolkit - written by a headteacher, well worth a look
A resource for e-safety was released by Childnet International (Sep 2014)
E-safety in the Computing Curriculum
Resources are provided for all the Key Stages
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is an internet watchdog launched by the Government in response to the Byron Report. Its aim is to "protect children from "harmful" web content, such as cyber-bullying and violent video games". Its membership include representatives of social networking sites and technology firms.
See their website:
The Byron Report can be downloaded from the link below:
Raising Young People’s Awareness of Their ‘Digital Footprint’
The link below takes you to a set of excellent resources designed to raise youngsters’ awareness of their digital footprint and staying safe on-line. The resources are designed for schools, but are also very suitable for use by parents who wish to develop their own knowledge and/or discuss these issues with their children.
The main areas of concern for us are the Social Networking sites, as these are the fastest growing area of internet use by young people and ‘cyberbullying’. Children should be aware of this button on web pages which allows them to report instances of abuse on the internet, (note: on this page, this image is for illustration purposes only).
Social Networking Sites
These sites allow children to communicate and share interests. They can set up groups of like minded people (for example fans of a particular pop group). Users can upload photos of themselves to their ‘space’. Social Networking sites allow the children to display creativity, as well as develop IT skills. Facebook is obviously the most popular at the moment, but others are:
- YouTube - Users can upload videos to this space.
- Bebo - Children create a space of their own, where they can register their interests and communicate with other children. They can post photos and videos here that others can see.
- MSN - Instant communication site, children send messages to each other to ‘chat’ and can also use webcams for sound and image.
- My Space - A place for people to ‘deposit’ contents such as music and video for sharing. Musicians often use this area to promote their work
- Habbo Hotel - A 3D world where children can ‘travel’, meeting others. They should normally be using an alias, not their own name.
- Second Life - Similar to above, but adult orientated.
- Club Penguin - A Disney site, for younger children, where they take on the identity of a penguin and can ‘talk’ to other penguins.
Most of the services above have a starting age limit of 13, but this is easily subverted by children. Usually these sites will allow users to hide personal information, however the user may have to choose to implement this, otherwise information remains public..
The Danger: Young people, whilst being technically very savvy, may be over confident and not careful about who they share information with. They sometimes do not appreciate the ‘public’ nature of Social Networking websites. They may leave themselves open to abusers and they cannot be sure that it is a young person they are communicating with. Some sites considered safe have had problems of adults pretending to be children, so care is needed. The amount of personal information they make available can help someone build up a profile about them. These sites can also be a contributing factor in identity theft.
Where to go for advice:
Look at the Thinkuknow website and choose the appropriate age range.
Cyber bullying is an element of bullying itself and not a separate issue. It is a relatively new concept, but is growing fast. It can be done via computer e-mail, chatrooms, forums or texting on a mobile. In a survey, 20% of children say they have been the subject of cyber bullying (14% by texting). 11% admitted sending threatening messages. Cyber bullying tends to be more common outside, than inside school. A third of victims don’t tell anyone about what has happened. Some studies indicate that girls use texting for bullying, far more than boys do. Social Networking sites are also being used for bullying, with hate messages and images. With cyber bullying there is no place to hide. With ‘traditional’ bullying the victim can at least go home and hopefully feel safe. Cyber bullying comes into the home and cannot be escaped. Because of the remote nature of this bullying, it can be more widespread, as the perpetrator doesn’t really think about the consequences of their actions, because they are not face to face with the victim. They may also believe, mistakenly, they have some anonymity through the technology. Frequently, the situation that leads to the bullying will begin in school. However, just removing or banning the technology doesn’t solve the problem, just moves it somewhere else. Education about the consequences of cyber bullying will be more effective.
See this very powerful video about Cyberbullying:
Sources of further information and advice
- Brittanica E-Safety Guide - Download
- CBBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/topics/stay-safe
- Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre - http://www.ceop.gov.uk
- Childnet International - http://www.childnet.com
- Counselling Directory - Staying Safe on-line
- Impero - https://www.imperosoftware.co.uk/online-safety-10-e-safety-tips-keep-child-safe-internet/
- Insafe - European network of e-safety awareness - http://www.saferinternet.org/ww/en/pub/insafe/index.htm
- THINKUKNOW - http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- Get Safe Online - http://www.getsafeonline.org
- Get Netwise website - http://www.getnetwise.org
- SWGFL Internet Safety - http://www.swgfl.org.uk/staying-safe
- Vodaphone - Digital Parenting Website - http://www.vodafone.com/content/parents.html