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.
Whether through a social network site such as Facebook or the latest messaging application (Whatsapp, 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!
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!
Social Media: Keeping Up
Keeping up with the latest apps and crazes with social media and messaging applications can be very difficult. However, help is at hand. O2 and the NSPCC have teamed up to create a website and app for parents and teachers to help us understand the latest and most popular social applications that young people use, complete with information about the privacy and safety levels of each one.
Managing Social Media Application Settings
Managing and updating the settings in social media applications is not always easy, especially when these applications change and develop. Below are links to useful articles that will help you and your child manage privacy and security settings in some popular social networking and messaging applications.
Advice for Parents on Cyberbullying.pdf
|Date:||April 21, 2016|
Facebook Privacy Support.pdf
|Date:||June 10, 2016|