The Internet changes the way we can research and communicate in a very powerful way – but there is a dark side and young people must be aware of it and know how to protect themselves. As a parent, you need to know what the issues are and how best to deal with them.
It is really important to involve your children in the development of your Family Internet Agreement, just as you would explain to them why it is necessary to wear a seat belt in the car or why they should not speak to strangers in a park.
e-Safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Windsor Park Middle School. We have extensive security measures in place in school, which are monitored both internally and externally, to help safeguard students from potential dangers or unsuitable material. Any e-Safety incidents are recorded and managed in accordance with our e-Safety Policy. e-Safety is taught to all students explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online.
We can only be successful in keeping students safe online if we work with parents to ensure the e-Safety message is consistent. It is important that parents speak to their children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online.
Guide to Family Internet Access
The content of each family’s Agreement will vary widely according to the ages of your children – the following covers the main points which need to be considered.
First things first…
Keep Internet-connected computers in a communal area of your home.
Become an Internet user yourself.
Be clear about what you consider to be unacceptable information.
Be clear about what is unacceptable communication.
Never download unknown files.
Agree, if necessary, who can use the Internet and when.
Agree how long each person can be on-line.
Consider whether you want your Agreement to apply to visiting friends and family.
Emphasise what you have already taught your children about ‘Stranger Danger’.
Explain that passwords, addresses, PIN numbers, credit card details, phone and email details are all private and should NEVER be given to anyone.
Ensure your child knows NEVER to arrange to meet anyone met via the Internet, because not everyone is who they say they are.
If your child has his/her own e-mail address it is best if it does not give any indication of their age or gender.
Find child-friendly chatrooms with full-time trained moderators for your children to use.
Encourage your child to know that is it safe to tell you about anything found via the Internet.
What direct action can you take?
Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and find out what child-safety measures they offer, if any, and how to use them.
Choose software to protect against inappropriate Internet access.
If you or your child finds any inappropriate content or are subjected to any inappropriate contacts by strangers on-line then you should report it to ThinkUKnow
Contact the Internet Watch Foundation via their web site at InternetWatch in case of possible illegal material.
The issues covered on this page are obviously worrying. However, it is important to keep these things in perspective.
Whilst the Internet introduces new potential dangers it also brings some really fantastic benefits to children and their learning which need to be balanced against the possible risks. The points covered by this Agreement are not necessarily going to affect your child directly, but they are real risks for which your family needs to be prepared.