Computing in the 21st Century is seen as an essential area of learning. At Ripponden, we recognise that technology plays an important role on the everyday lives of children, young people and adults. Consequently, we endeavour to build in the use of new technologies in order to equip our children with the skills they will need to access life-long learning, prepare them for the next stage in their education and ultimately in their employment prospects. We are delighted to provide children with the opportunity to use a wide range of resources to deliver our curriculum.
Technology provides new learning opportunities - online collaboration, anytime anywhere learning and communication - but at the same time can provide additional opportunities for pupils to access material they should not, or be treated by others inappropriately. Our curriculum has a clear focus on online safety and shows children how to protect themselves from harm, particularly concerning cyber-bullying and dealing with strangers online.
Inevitably, however, the online world develops and changes at great speed. New opportunities, challenges and risks are appearing all the time. It is difficult to stay up to date with the latest devices, platforms, apps, trends and related threats.
It is important that we keep out children safe when they are using the internet/social media and gaming. We can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with families to ensure that the online safety message is consistent. Families' help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online. Children can accidentally or deliberately be exposed to unwanted or unpleasant content or comments online and there are steps you can take to minimise this risk.
Simple rules for keeping your child safe online at home:
set screen time limits and switch off times
ask permission before they use the internet and tell you what they are doing on the internet
only use devices in family spaces, not in bedrooms
only use websites and games you have chosen together or a child friendly search engine
only email, message or communicate with people they actually know, online
limit the use of internet chat rooms (on games consoles or devices)
do not use their real name when using games on the internet (create a nickname)
never give out home address, telephone or mobile numbers
never tell someone where they go to school
never arrange to meet someone they have 'met' on the internet
only use a webcam with people they know
ask them to tell you immediately if they see something they are unhappy with
All of the popular Social Media Platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tik Tok etc) have an age restriction of 13+, and WhatsApp has an ag restriction of 16. Therefore, no primary school child should have a social media profile. There are good reasons for these age restrictions to be in place. For example, inappropriate content, lack of maturity to use the site safely, exposing them to harmful content, risk of being contacted by sexual predators, creating an online profile which will be difficult to remove in the future, placing added pressure on the child to deal with situations beyond their years. The list goes on, but as parents, you need to be aware of the safety implications by allowing your child access to Social Media at such a young age. If you do allow your child to have a Social Media account, make sure you set the privacy settings to private and check your child's account on a regular basis. To check restrictions and further details on other apps, please visit: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/
Discuss as a family how the internet will be used. Consider what should be kept private online (personal information, photographs etc). Make sure you know what your child is doing online, much like you would offline. Locate computers in a supervised family area and consider your child's use of other devices, not allowing online activity in bedroom. Monitor and supervise the use of webcams and apps which allow voice or video calls.
DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO HAVE INTERNET ENABLED DEVICES IN THEIR BEDROOMS UNTIL THEY REACH AN AGE AND MATURITY TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE.
Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use parental control functions on your home broadband for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content. A useful website to show you how to do all of this is: https://www.internetmatters.org/
Remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past you, so don't rely on them alone to protect your child - always check regularly.
Only allow children to play online games that are age appropriate. Check the PEGI rating of the game. Remember that the average age of an online gamer is 38 years old, so there are far more adults playing these games than children, so we need to be vigilant. Remember with online chat rooms, people may not always be who they say they are and may pose a threat to children. Again, regularly monitor activity.
Remember that children are accessing the internet via their phones, tablets, iPods, Kindles, X boxes, Nintendos, Playstations etc. Without parental controls on these devices, children can access whatever they want on the internet. Visit https://www.internetmatters.org/ to show you how to set parental controls on a variety of handheld devices and gaming machines.
Talk to your children and ask them to show you or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour with your child.
Always ensure your child knows how to block or report people online who send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply.
Make sure your child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes then feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
It's essential to be realistic - banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem. Education around safe use is essential.
Any illegal online activity must be reported to the police at CEOP (the national crime agency's child protection command). There is often a button on sites like this - or you can report on their website - www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre
Guides to different aspects on online safety
Below are a bank of leaflets and websites to help parents tackle different aspects of online safety. Due to the nature of the internet, information can change rapidly but these will be a helpful start: