Staying safe on the internet.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Directed Tasks | Posted on March 28, 2013

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the Internet. The people pretending to be who they are not in order to hurt children. Internet safety is something that is an absolutely essential part of ICT teaching. It is vital we do all we can to protect ourselves and our children from those looking to do harm either physically or mentally. We need to ensure what we are viewing in front of our children is appropriate, and that they do not have access to anything harmful.

All schools will produce an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)  about appropriate Internet usage detailing what the school is doing to protect every member of staff and every pupil. It explains what is allowed, what cannot be accessed, what is forbidden and details of how incidents will be dealt with. It is designed to protect and safeguard everybody using the Internet at the school. It is also designed to help educate children about safe Internet usage in their personal time as this is also extremely important. Many schools  teach lessons around the idea of Internet safety. From personal experience, my children have a lesson at the start of each year regarding safe Internet use. Children have the clear rules about what is and isn’t allowed explained to them. They are also taught what to do in the event they gain access to something that is inappropriate or that they find offensive. The children are then asked to bring home a letter for parents to read through with the child which the parent must then sign to say they have explained Internet safety to their children, and giving permission for the children to access the Internet. The schools policy on Internet usage ids available for parents to view at any time in the school office or on the schools website. The school have also created a page on their website for parents and children regarding Internet safety, showing some sites they deem safe for children to use and some links to sites to educate adults on Internet safety.

Link to the school Internet security page for pupils and parents.

Parents are also frequently reminded that they are not allowed to post any pictures showing any children other than their own onto the Internet for example on Facebook. This is to help safeguard all children and families in the school. Parents must also sign a permission slip regarding photographs being used on the schools website and Twitter page, before the school are allowed to publish any photographs of children online.

During the session we looked at some of the websites available to educate about and promote safety on the Internet. The first of these sites I explored was Think You Know. This was a great website with the information split into sections for different aged children, teenagers, parent and professionals. I found this helped to still get the importance of staying safe on the Internet across, but it used appropriate language and content for the age of the intended audience. It was bright and visually pleasing and easy to navigate. I feel this could be a very useful site for anybody of any age who is looking to be educated about Internet safety. It is provided by CEOP and provides the information and ability to report any suspicious activity or harmful content on the Internet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another site I explored was Safe Search for Kids provided by Google. This is a search engine designed to allow children to search the Internet in a more controlled and safe environment. With built in filters it should prevent inappropriate information being displayed to the children. Sometimes even the most innocent of searches can produce harmful results.

 

Another site we were introduced to during the session was Yahoo! Kids. This site provides access to child friendly games, videos and information which is all deemed suitable for children. It is bright and visually pleasing and uses lots of characters from TV and films that children are familiar with. There is a facility to ask questions to get information using a character called Earl. However as an adult I found this feature a little disappointing as your question was not immediately answered, and after asking your question nothing appears to happen. I feel this could be a little confusing for children and disappointing of they are unable to get the answer they are looking for. I feel this site is probably of more use to Key stage 2 children and above as some of the content is a little grown up and I personally wouldn’t use this site with younger children.

       

My favourite safety tool we were shown was Hector the dolphin. This is a down loadable programme that allows a child to click on a picture of Hector causing a scene of Hector under the water to appear. This is designed to cover the screen if a child gains access to anything that they find harmful or upsetting and to alert the teacher discreetly to the issue. Covering the screen allows the screen data to be hidden from the child concerned but also the others around, as it may not be immediately possible for the teacher to get to the child and other children could be exposed too the data. As a parent this is something I would consider also downloading onto my laptop, for when my children use it at home.