The internet has changed all of our lives, particularly our children’s. For parents and carers this opens up a whole new world of things to be aware of. For many of us, this can all be a bit too much. You might be struggling to keep up with the things your child is doing online, you might wonder whether what they are doing is safe, and you might also be thinking, "How can I be as good a parent online, as I am in the real world?" What the professionals in this field tell us, is that the online world is entirely 'real'. Communications and activity online link directly to real live situations.
Therefore for the second year running, we are arranging a cluster-wide online safety event for around 1000 pupils from Y1-6, staff and parents to share the latest online safety issues and give strategies to help children keep safe on the internet. Comments from last year included:
"So worrying, but at least I now know."
"Ignorance isn't bliss."
"I never thought adults could access children's private lives so quickly online."
"Amazing how commonly used apps can be used in this way."
"Will check my children's devices and lock them down asap."
If you have any concerns about your child's online world, or see any changes in behaviour, evidence of 'cyber bullying' from peers, or inappropriate adult contact online with your child, please do not hesitate to drop in to school to see if we can help out. We are as trained and up-to-date as we can be, and will either advise you what to do, or know who to sign-post you to.
Above all, be open and understanding with your children about the online world of today. Almost certainly, before they reach high school, their interactions with others will not just revolve around conversations and phone calls any more. Yet it's not practical to ban other forms of private communication; messaging apps, social media, group chats, in-game channels, photo and video messaging, webcams etc. What you can do is monitor and support your children to use these safely and wisely with your guidance and ours.
Digital Parenting: In December 2020, a very useful and up-to-date booklet published by Vodafone has been distributed to parents of children in Years 4, 5 and 6. This is to assist with online safety whilst we await a rebooked date for our annual e-safety event day which involves children, teachers, parents and governors. This is run by 'The Two Johns' whose advice can be found at https://esafetytraining.org - please do have a look.