Safe Use of the Internet
This section has been produced to provide advice and guidance on the Internet and online safety for you as parents.
The Internet, Intranet, e-mail, messaging systems and related technologies can be extremely valuable tools in an educational context, encouraging the development of communication skills, and transforming the learning process by opening up possibilities that, conventionally, would be impossible to achieve. Creating a safe ICT learning environment includes three main elements at the academy:
- An effective range of technological tools
- Policies and procedures, with clear roles and responsibilities
- Access to e-safety information for students, staff, parents/carers and other users
All computers at the academy have Internet access as it is a valuable research tool for students. However, the academy ensures that unsuitable sites are blocked.
The Internet has become part of our everyday lives and is now easier to access than ever before, but it can also have risks. Children and young people are more at risk of exposure to inappropriate or criminal behaviour if they are unaware of the dangers. These dangers can include:
- viewing unsuitable content e.g. hate material, adult content, sites that endorse unhealthy behaviour
- giving out personal information
- arranging to meet an online "friend"
- becoming involved in, or the victim of, bullying, identity theft, or making and sending indecent or illegal images
- spending too much time online which can affect concentration, education, sleep and health
- copying information from the Internet or buying work from other people to use as their own
Using the Internet Safely at Home
There are various organisations that offer support and guidance on the safe use of the internet including the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, Microsoft, the UK Safer Internet Centre (whose Safer Internet Day is on 6 February this year) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service's Think U Know site. However, here are some helpful points for you to consider when advising your children on using the Internet:
- use websites recommended by teachers and use a student friendly search engine
- only email people they know
- exercise caution before opening an email sent by someone they don't know
- only use Internet chat rooms, websites, instant messaging with care and caution and know how to block and report unwanted users
- never use their real name when using games or websites
- never give out any personal information about themselves, friends or family online including home address, phone or mobile number
- never email their name of their school or a picture in school uniform (even to a friend)
- never arrange to meet anyone alone, and always tell an adult first and meet in a public place
- only use a webcam with people they know
- tell an adult they trust immediately if they encounter anything they are unhappy with
- report concerns to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
- never use websites that they could not tell you about
Get involved and learn as much as you can about the Internet yourself. Surfing can be a family activity when you can use the Internet together and discuss any problems you encounter. Keep the computer in a room where the whole family can use it and then you can keep an eye on the kind of material your children are looking at and make sure they go to the sites you want them to. Get to know who your children are meeting online and make sure they are wary of strangers and never give out any information that would allow someone to contact them offline.
Blue Whale Game/App
We would like to bring to parents' attention details of an online game, called the ‘Blue Whale’ and advise you in the strongest sense not to allow your children to download it as it could pose a significant safety concern for your child. We have a duty of care for our students and are striving to do all we can to ensure that you are given the latest information to help safeguard our young people.
The ‘Blue Whale’ Game and is played via many social media platforms. Players are given a master who controls them for 50 days and each day they are given a task to complete. One task might be to wake up in the middle of the night and they steadily escalate with another task being for them to scratch a blue whale somewhere on their body. On the 50th day the masters behind the game instruct the young people to commit suicide and up to 150 children in Europe have sadly killed themselves as a result of this game and this week been reported in the National press.
Please continue to support us in keeping all our young people safe and monitor their internet and phones use closely.
13 REASONS WHY
Parents should be aware of the content of the above named Netflix television series (Certificate 15).
The show’s episode count matches its title, with each instalment following a series of audio recordings a teen leaves behind for her classmates and peers explaining why she decided to kill herself. Throughout the series, there are instances of sexual assault, rape, underage drinking, driving under the influence, body shaming and, ultimately, a graphic scene depicting the main character’s suicide. Mental health professionals are concerned that adolescents, watching without an adult available to process the themes and their own feelings, could be at an increased risk of self-harm and/or suicide.