Our Curriculum : Online Safety
What is Online Safety and why is it important?
The internet is a huge part of our lives and is the way that children engage with information. Our young people enjoy spending time on the internet and interacting with their friends and peers online, but this also means that cyberbullying and other online problems can be particularly concerning. The internet does unfortunately, feature threats and challenges. These might manifest as online abuse, bullying, threats, impersonation, grooming, harassment, or exposure to offensive and/or violent content. All of these are harms we have a duty to protect young people from.
Online Safety is the safe and responsible use of technology and understanding the potential dangers of the internet and other means of communication using technology.
In practice, e-safety is as much about behaviour as it is electronic security. E-safety is classified into three areas of risk:
Children use the Internet on a regular basis as part of their learning. We have regular e-safety lessons, assemblies, and activities to remind children of the importance of keeping themselves safe online.
As part of our safeguarding duties, Online Behaviours and Internet Safety is a priority. Our teachers, governors, and Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) are trained in e-safety issues and are aware of the potential for serious child protection / safeguarding issues that may arise from:
- sharing of personal data
- access to illegal / inappropriate materials
- inappropriate on-line contact with adults / strangers
- potential or actual incidents of grooming
When situations do arise, we ensure our staff know how to protect and educate pupils and staff in their use of technology and that they have the appropriate mechanisms to intervene and support any incident where appropriate.
Online behaviours and E-Safety are specifically taught and addressed on a monthly basis through Project Evolve which resources each of the 330 statements from UK Council for Internet Safety’s Framework (UKCIS): ‘Education for a Connected World.” The following areas are covered through this framework:
- Self-Image and Identity
- Online Relationships
- Online Reputation
- Online Bullying
- Managing Online Information
- Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle
- Privacy and Security
- Copyright and Ownership
The curriculum is further supported by National Online Safety lessons, and we are a National Online Safety Certified School.
1. Learn your way around
Most devices have controls to ensure that kids can’t access content you don’t want them to. Make sure your “in-app” purchases are disabled to avoid nasty surprises.
2. E-Safety on Tablets
Tablets are popular with younger children, and the market has several which are geared specifically towards delivering child friendly content.
3. E-Safety on Mobile Phones/Smartphones
If you have older children, the focus will probably be shifting from tablets to smaller and more portable mobile devices: phones. The old online safety messages about having your home computer in a communal place become defunct, because phones are mobile computers and can do the same stuff that traditional desktop PCs can.
You can use tools like Google Family Link for Android devices, or Screen Time for Apple iOS devices, to set up controls around usage, but it’s just as important, if not more so, to talk to kids about what they should and shouldn’t be doing (see ‘Setting Boundaries’ below).
4. Social Media Platforms
Ofcom’s research also shows that YouTube remains a firm favourite. Children between five and 15 are more likely to use YouTube than other on-demand services such as Netflix, or TV channels including the BBC and ITV.
WhatsApp has also grown to join Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as one of the top social media platforms used by children.
We have guides available for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Roblox and TikTok that you view on our website under Parent Guides. The checklists will help parents to understand more about each platform, what information they use, and how to set privacy settings: they’re a parent’s social media survival guide!
Staying Safe Online - Setting Boundaries
Internet safety isn’t just about setting up technology in the right way. It’s just as important, if not more so, to get the ‘offline’ setup right: expectations, behaviours, discussions about use. Our advice is to set some ground rules, and ensure children understand them. Here are some areas to look at:
5. Screen Time
Agree a time limit or number of games beforehand, to avoid repeated disagreements around how long they can spend online. Remember that you are in control and you can set the boundaries.
6. Sleep Comes First
It is advisable that the phone stays out of the bedroom to avoid night time interruptions and having a period of time before bed without phone or tablet use is beneficial too.
The blue light emitted from LCD screens has been shown to disrupt sleep by interfering with our natural body rhythms, blocking our bodies from creating a sleep hormone called melatonin.
7. Request Access
You care more about your child's health and wellbeing than anyone else. That means you need to guide them in the virtual world as well as the real world. If you’re genuinely concerned about them, ask them to allow you access to their phone.
8. Monitoring vs Having a Conversation
It is possible to install software onto devices that monitors online activity, alerts you to inappropriate behaviour, and can block access to certain content. This kind of software is becoming increasingly popular, but while this might sound tempting, it might pose a number of issues around your child’s right to privacy and could have an impact upon your relationship with them.
The best advice we can give is to talk to your child regularly and openly about behaviour and risk, so that they know they can come to you if something goes wrong.
9. Whole Home Approach
Consider setting parental controls on your Wi-Fi. You can block access to inappropriate or adult content and set time limits which may help rein in those excessive Minecraft sessions.
The UK Safer Internet Centre 'Parental controls offered by your home internet provider' page is a good place to start. Parental controls offered by your home internet provider - UK Safer Internet Centre
Finally, a word about games. There are so many exciting games out there, and so many consoles to choose from there is a good chance you might have one in your home. Whether it’s Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch or Sony PlayStation, there is something for everyone, and every age.
It’s natural to feel upset, angry, or anxious about having an uncomfortable conversation with your child but by staying calm you are more likely to be able to support them.
Think about how your child is feeling
Some children may feel confused and unable to process what they have seen or experienced. Some children may be curious and want to find out more. If someone has sent something to them directly, they may feel threatened or distressed.
Find the right moment to talk and listen to what they say
Many parents are worried they will say the wrong thing to their child and so they say nothing at all. Try to find time to think about what you want to say first and find the right moment and discuss with your child what they have seen and how it made them feel.
Agree together what actions to take
These actions should be positive, supporting them to be safer, rather than punishing them for what has happened. You may want to remove your child’s online access but consider the impact this may have. The most likely consequence of such an action would be that your child will not discuss future problems with you for fear of being cut-off from their online lives.
Talk about what they can do to be safer and reduce the possibility of it happening again. For example, making sure parental controls in place to filter out inappropriate content.
If you need to report content, try to do this together. This will help your child to feel in control of what has happened. Most inappropriate content can be reported to the platforms and sites. Sexual or violent content that appears in adverts, films, television programmes or video games can be reported to Ofcom.
If you have any concerns about your child online, you can speak to the Safeguarding Team or our Online Behaviours Lead Kelly Robinson.
It is helpful to save any screen shots that may help with a discussion with school.
At home, sometimes children can be given unsupervised access to the Internet. This, potentially, allows them to access all kinds of content, both positive and negative.
You will find useful guides on how to keep your child safe online when using common sites and apps.
For additional information, please click on the links below:
Simon Aston, the Online Safety and Wellbeing officer for Northamptonshire County Council.
Please find a link below for Simon's YouTube channel
- Link to Simon Aston's Youtube channel Please follow the link to view Online Safety Tips for Parents
Follow Simon's Twitter Account to keep up to date with all matters of online safety - @NCCcybersafe
Follow the National Online Safety twitter account - @natonlinesafety or joining their website for lots more updates
Here are more links to help you to keep your child safe online:
- Thinkuknow Thinkuknow is the education programme from CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection), a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline.
- CEOP - Child Exploitation and Online ProtectionCEOP works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children, and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account.
- The UK Safer Internet CentreThe UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities with a mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people. It has created a comprehensive list of safety features for a range of popular social networks. You can find out more by going to their Social Media Guides.
- Digiduck® The Digiduck® collection has been created to help parents and teachers educate children aged 3 - 7 about how to be a good friend online. Help arrives just in time for Digiduck® when faced with a difficult decision! Follow Digiduck® and his friends in this story of friendship and responsibility online. Read his story here.
- Internet Matters The internet is a fantastic place for children to learn, create and have fun, but they may occasionally have to deal with a variety of sometimes challenging issues. These might include cyberbullying, along with various others. But there are positive things you can do to equip yourself and your child and support them in resolving any issue they may face. Visit this website to find out more.
- Digital Parenting Brought to you by Vodafone, Digital Parenting helps you to get more involved with the technology that young people enjoy. Whether you’re a parent, a carer, a teacher, or a child, it's all about building children’s confidence and resilience so that they get the very best out of the fast-moving, awe-inspiring, sometimes-overwhelming digital world. Help and advice for families in a digital world.
- Parentzone Parent Zone provides support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations.
- Know IT All On this page you will find a selection of 'Know IT All' resources from ChildNet. ChildNet's mission is to work in partnership with others around the world to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
- Common Sense Media Common Sense is an independent voice for kids, families, and communities everywhere.
- Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Provides online safety news and advice to keep you and yourself safe online.