Internet Safety

In todays session we looked at the issue of Internet Safety in Schools.

I found out that all schools should have an Acceptible Use Policy (AUP).

Click here for more information on AUP’s.

We discussed as a group our experiences with problems online, and found out about professionals getting into trouble due to their facebook pages for example, as well as children using social networking sites when they aren’t technically old enough.

During a placement at college, I had an experience with a child in Year 5 who was being bullied by other children in his class through facebook. When the school told their parents, they simply replied that there is nothing they can do, if their children want to go on facebook then they will find a way to get on facebook, and i don’t believe this is the attitude anyone should be having towards their children and internet bullying or safety in general.

An extremely good website is Think U Know. This website is all about the safe use of ICT, with resources for children in age ranges, as well as resources for teacher and for parents. On this website there are videos, printables and handy tips all about the safe use of ICT and the internet specifically.
An example of a video in the age 5-7 section is:

Also on this website there is also a really good resource for teachers and parents which is Hectors World Safety Button. This can be downloaded on all computers, and will be on the screen constantly. Children can be taught to press this button as soon as they see something on their computer screen which they don’t think is appropriate for them, or they don’t think they should be looking at, and it immediately covers the screen until an adult can come and sort the computer out for them. I think this is an excellent resources and all computers where children have access to the internet should have them, whether at home, in the nursery or in the classroom.

When searching the net, researching using search engines is really good for children to do for themselves, however not all search engines are safe for children, as an innocent search on google may come up with results which aren’t meant for children.
There are child friendly search engines which could be more appropriate for children to use:

By adding a few simple security measures, children can enjoy searching the internet and enjoy educational online resources safely, without too much worry from teachers, practitioners and parents.

As well as safety for children, we looked at our own online activity. During the session, all of us had the task of ‘googling’ ourselves. Quite a few members of the group found that personal details and images of themselves could be found simply from typing their name into this well known search engine. From this, members of the group realised how important it is to ensure privacy settings are set to maximum on all social networking sites, and many members of the group decided it would be best to remove their last name from Facebook completely and use their middle name instead. This will help future employers and parents of the children they teach to search for them.

Further Research and Reading:

From doing my own research around the topic i have found a few websites that could help with internet safety as well:

  • Kidsmart – On this website you can either log in as a parent or a practitioner and there is a huge range of links on there, including games, music and safe searching.
  • BBC – This is more for parents to keep their children safe on the web
  • CBBC – However this website is more to do with the children, as it as at their level and there are quiz’s etc for them to carry out.

Also, from carrying out further reading, I found a good website based completely around Internet safety: Interet Safety.
This website talks about the golden rules being: never give out personal information; don’t open emails from unknown people; don’t become friends online with unknown people; never arrange to meet someone in person who you have met online; and finally tell someone if anything you see or read worries you!
As well as this it has the risks that are out there, as well as facts about cyber bullying and cyber stalking to online grooming and identity facts. This website is very detailed in all the different dangers out there and what everyone can do to prevent these terrible things from happening.