In today’s world digital devices are everywhere – and they are always demanding some sort of attention – if we let them. We take the security of your children on the internet extremely seriously; it is very important that we work together to ensure they are safely using the fantastic resource of the online world. Whilst use of the internet and social networking sites is second nature to young people, they can often be swept along with what their peers are doing and lack an awareness of the many risks they are facing.
Research has shown that up to 80% of internet use will take place outside of the school environment on a range of devices. As a result of this, at St Thomas More we believe that teachers and parents have a joint responsibility in educating our young people in staying safe in the digital age.
For families understanding and creating ground rules at home is an important step in educating children about their relationship with technology. For many children this can feel like a power play on the part of the parents which becomes and exercise in control. We believe that it’s crucial to enter into a conversation with children about the following key themes to avoid the power play scenario developing.
Below are three useful resources relating to e-Safety
- I have thought about why I want to go online.
- I have checked my privacy settings to make sure content is suitable for my age.
- I don’t have aimless screen time – there is a purpose.
- I am the appropriate age to access certain social media.
- I can show I have an awareness of online dangers.
- I think about the content I post online.
- I think carefully about the content I share via messaging services.
- I think about who I tag in posts and their feelings.
- I think about images I send and receive when using apps like snapchat.
- I think about the feelings of others before I send messages to them or about them.
- I know how to report anything which worries me online.
- I know who to report an unwanted online contact too.
- I understand that I should be careful about who I make friends with online..
- I know that not everyone online is who they say they are.
- I understand that when I send something (Images, Videos etc), I no longer have control over it.
We feel it is important to highlight that the major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) have a minimum user age of 13. We also feel parents need to be aware of the risks of underage use of sites, so you can make an informed decision as to whether to allow your child to have a profile or not. Should you decide to allow your child of any age to have a social media profile we offer the following advice:
- Set up your own profile so you understand how the site works and ask them to have you as a friend on their profile so you know what they are posting online
- Make sure your child understands the following basic E-safety rules that we have learnt about at school.
- Keep your profile’s privacy settings as private as possible
- If possible, don’t put in your full name, e.g. Bart S, instead of Bart Simpson
- Keep private information private, e.g. address, phone number
- Never accept friends you don’t know in real life
- Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see, so think before you post
- Be respectful of others
- Never agree to meet somebody you only know online
- Always tell someone if you feel threatened or someone upsets you
- We also recommend that all parents visit the CEOP Think U Know website for more information on keeping your child safe online thinkuknow.co.uk. Parents can find a link to this website at the bottom of this page.
Through house assemblies, the pastoral program and lessons pupils will discuss the potential issues, hazards and precautions pupils can take when spending time in online environments such as chat rooms, online gaming worlds, IM, online shopping, email, SMS and social networking sites, More information about each of these topics can be found through the links in the “About” tab.
When using technology in school St Thomas More School has an acceptable use policy (AUP) that endeavours to ensure maximum online safety whilst we are in the school environment by educating all of our community and preventing access to non-educational sites.