As many of you are using the internet and online resources for home schooling, we wanted to share these useful websites in order to help ensure your child is kept safe online.
Direct Gov UK contains specific information on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline.
National Online Safety is a very useful website which contains lots of downloadable guides, helping to advise parents of the dangers of certain apps and programmes. They also make suggestions on what parental controls can be put in place to help reduce risks when using the applications.
Internet Matters provides expert support and practical tips to help children benefit from connected technology, while using the internet safely and smartly.
NSPCC Net Aware brings together the NSPCC’s expertise in protecting children and O2’s tech know-how to help you keep your children safe online.
Childnet is a non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
UK Safer Internet Centre is a site which helps to explain how you can set up filters on your home internet to prevent age inappropriate content being accessed on devices in your home.
Google Safety Centre will help you manage what is right for your family to view online.
Zoom video conferencing app: During this difficult time, an app that has become very popular is Zoom, used by professionals and individuals. It has an excellent range of features such as real time messaging and sharing screens for uploading and sharing content. However, as with all applications that allow access to content and provide communication links to others, it has risks. A link here explains these dangers and suggests setting changes which add additional levels of security for users. There are also links to guidance on other very popular apps used by teenagers. If you feel your child would benefit from some online safety guidance, there are a range of age appropriate activity packs available here from the excellent Thinkuknow website which is from CEOP National Crime Agency.
Netflix: Many of us have heard and made use of this very popular video on demand service, especially during lockdown. Providing a broad range of documentaries, TV shows and films from a number of genres, it is easy for youngsters to watch for hours. The service has many tools that could cause potential pitfalls for teenagers; suggestions of similar programs may prove too tempting, heightening the risk of screen addiction. Creating separate user accounts for teenagers and adults is suggested, as inappropriate content is otherwise easy to access. Click here to find out what e-safety measures can be taken.
Houseparty: is an app which allows users to create open chat rooms where people can come together based through their mobile phone contacts, Snapchat or Facebook account contacts. With the current rules about isolation and social distancing it is proving a popular app. However, there has been concerns surrounding hacking and child protection, with uninvited guests joining video calls. Click here to find out how to keep your children safe using this app.
TikTok: is a video sharing social media app which lets users create, share and view user created videos. Although a fun and popular app, there are a few dangers that parents should be aware about, some of which include: access to mature content and inappropriate music, TikTok fame, online predators and in-app purchases to name a few. To find out more about the platform and to learn some top safety tips, please see this helpful guide by National Online Safety – click here.
E-Safety focus articles shared by Ms Geddes
In School – ICT information
Students at The Marches School have access to internet browsing as part of their progressive learning environment. Access is strictly monitored via specialist software and all social media is blocked via a method of categorization, which is updated regularly to include any of the latest apps. In line with our ICT policy, students may bring their own digital devices into school; this includes mobile phones, notebooks & laptops and any other similar electronic equipment including their data storage media. Internet content is filtered on personal devices when connected to the school’s Wi-Fi network; however, students may choose to use their own data connection to access web content which would be unmonitored. Parents are encouraged to have regular discussions regarding web browsing habits and staying safe online.
Mobile phones are to be switched off and kept out of reach during the school day between the hours 8.30am to 3.00pm, unless requested for use as part of the learning by the teacher during lessons.
The Marches recognises the risks associated with the online world and teaches students through the curriculum how to navigate the online world safely and confidently.
Further guidance on specific apps and gaming is available below:
Reporting online safety concerns
School contact: If you have any concerns relating to the safeguarding of your child online please contact Miss Phillips - email@example.com or Ms Geddes - firstname.lastname@example.org who will be able to advise.
CEOP: If you are worried that your child is being groomed or sexually exploited you should report your concerns to the CEOP. The CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency and can investigate what is happening. They will ensure that the safety and wellbeing of your child is paramount at all times.