It Could Happen to Your Child
E-Safety Advice - It Could Happen to Your Child
As we prepare for the summer break, we would urge parents to remain vigilant and continue to monitor your children's online activity closely. While the children are at home for such an extended holiday they will undoubtedly spend more time online on phones, tablets, computers and consoles. With the children doing most of their communicating with friends online during the summer, there is a risk that messaging turns toxic which will have an impact on children's mental health, especially when they can't come into school the following day to talk to school staff and fix friendships on the playground. Even more dangerous are the risks of online predators who are constantly finding new ways to exploit gaming platforms and social media apps to groom children. Despite our best efforts to educate children about the risks in messaging strangers online, there are still pupils who fail to understand the danger and cannot grasp that a person they meet online may not be who they say they are.
Please read the following news story that can illustrate how quickly a child (even with a conscientious parent) can be groomed online and be exposed to networks of online predators:
There is also a cautionary tale that you can share with your children to help illustrate the dangers:
Please be proactive in monitoring your child's use of online technology:
- Only allow them to go online with their device when you are also in the room
- Take an interest in what they're accessing and go online together
- Performing spot checks on their search history, photo gallery and message history in the different apps
- Listen to their online chat with their peers when they are gaming with others - do they actually know everyone they are talking to?
These strategies are NOT an invasion of their privacy - it is responsible parenting and children should understand that when you provide them with a device, there are rules about using it safely and you are monitoring their wellbeing. No responsible parent would leave the front door open to allow a stranger to wander into a child's life...unsupervised internet access is the digital equivalent of leaving your child to explore the world unsupervised, exposed to the risks and dangers without any safety net. The dangers are real; children from our school and from other schools in the area have been victims to online grooming in the past - please don't allow it to happen to your child.