Online Safety

Online Safety

Online Safeguarding Alert

March 2017

Alert for parents and carers:

An incident occurred on Thursday 16 March 2017 at 3.15pm on Marsh Lane, West Bromwich when a mobile phone was taken off a Year 7 student on the way home from The Phoenix Collegiate.

A man on a bicycle approached the student and stole her iPhone. He was wearing all black clothes with a red and black scarf, covering most of his face.

The police have been notified.

January 2017

Please see below information from Staffs Police about an app being used by young people which has raised significant concern, so you can be aware of the app should it come up at all.

Content in square brackets [ ] has been edited at WGA.

“We have had an incident involving a new app available on smartphones, androids, tablets called “”. I say “new”, this is the first occasion this “App” has come to the attention of the Safenet staff in Staffordshire.

On 14/1/17 a young girl, age 12, has set up a profile on “” and has performed on a “Livestream”. The title of this she called, “I will do anything on camera”.

The broadcast starts with the a [child] twerking. She is wearing her pyjamas. People have then started to follow her broadcast. The [child] has said that she would allow anyone to watch her and there were 950 people watching her as the broadcast went on. People have then started to comment on the post. The [child then goes on to perform sexualised gestures, including revealing her naked top half]. The [child] can then be seen crying and rubbing her eyes.

When seen the [child] said she decided to download the “App”, “” after her friends at school had told her about it.

Following the download of the [child] and livestreaming the [child] had been messaged by a man who had told her to do things. The [child] allowed the male to follow her by clicking “Follow” as she would anyone who wanted to view her videos.

The [child] has been safeguarded and we are in a position to potentially ID the male. The purpose of the email is to highlight this app which some may or may not be aware of.”

December 2016

Please be aware of a new app called “Dumbmash” and its potential to encourage young people to post videos of themselves online.

“Dumbmash” is a video messaging app where people can upload themselves singing over famous songs and then choose to share via Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram or via a text message. It is not intended for children under 18. The app states that users must be over 18 OR if between 13 and 17 have received parental permission to use the app. However, younger children have been working around the permissions to access the app.

There are also various online links to what appears to be an update to “Dumbmash 2” The company behind “Dumbmash” state that:
‘Dumbsmash 2 has nothing to do with Dumbsmash but is a malware app that hides itself on phones and then pushes users to [online pornography]. As soon as it is set up, the icon deletes itself and runs in the background without the users knowledge.’

Parents and carers – please take time to monitor whether your children are using Dumbmash and similar apps, as well as checking that links to Malware have not been used.

For more information about how to keep children safe online, please visit the Online Safety Pages provided by the NSPCC

NSPCC – Online Safety


With more ways to communicate online and with greater access to online devices it has never been more important to stay safe online and know the risks.

Communicating Safely

Whether through a social network site such as Facebook or the latest messaging application (Whatsap, Snapchat) it is incredibly easy to share with other people online. Unfortunately, there is always a minority who will want to use the information shared online to exploit or bully others in some way.
What can you do?

Nothing is more important than knowing what your child is doing online and how they use chat, instant messaging, blogs, forums & social networking sites.

A great idea is to get them to show you how it all works and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask but don’t panic if you’re not quite sure, take a note of what programs and sites they use and do a bit of investigation later on.
Try setting up some rules which you are all agreed on, make sure that your child is happy with how to protect themselves when online and what they should do if they feel at risk.

I want to block these sites!

If you are convinced that there is no alternative, you can install filtering software but be careful, there are often ways around these and your child may feel they have to hide what they are doing from you.
The school has extensive filtering solutions provided by the county, Home solutions are generally not as advanced but that doesn’t mean they won’t work!

GetNetWise has a list of programs and information on how you can protect your children AND your computer. Top Ten Reviews has a side by side comparison of filtering software.

While we can’t say exactly what is right for you, CYBERsitter and CyberPatrol look like good choices.

Proxy Avoidance Sites

A huge problem for all filtering companies and one that has not been overcome is proxy avoidance sites.
These sites which can be set up very easily allow someone to bypass any filtering that is in place. The website ‘gets’ the banned site and displays it without actually sending you to the site itself. Unfortunately there are dozens of these sites appearing every week and all the filtering providers can only ban them when they are found; there isn’t a way to simply block them all up front.

There’s something nasty on…

If you have come across bullying on a site then you should report it to the site itself. Most popular social networking sites and messaging applications have ways a user can report. If it’s a bit more serious than that, you can report it to CEOP or the police if someone is in immediate danger.

Please bear in mind that access to these sites is banned in school and therefore the school cannot get involved or provide technical support with external misuse or problems.

Managing the information placed in a social network is essential: avoid unnecessary information being placed online. Choosing appropriate security settings is also very important. Make sure that only ‘real friends’ from the ‘real world’ can interact or see information from the users account.

What to do next

CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. This site is a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce and affiliated with the Serious Organised Crime Agency. It is an excellent resource for young people and adults with lots of information on how to stay safe, in control and reporting abuse.

We highly recommend you visit this site by following the link below and spend some time reading through the Think U Know and Parents areas.

The Anti-bullying Network provides information for teachers, parents and young people on how to deal with online bullying. There is a comprehensive list of telephone numbers and contact details for various sites. Although this site is primarily for Scotland it is well worth a visit for anyone worldwide!

Please remember to talk to your child about your concerns and support them in staying safe and how to use the Internet wisely!

Check out these online resources:


NSPCC – Online Safety

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online

Advice and tips for staying safe online – CBBC Newsround

Think You Know

Get Wise

Cyber Bullying

Get Safe Online




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