Staying safe online is a fundamental part of our curriculum at Pucklechurch, taught both through our Computing curriculum but also more widely. For example, in our PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education), staying safe online is regularly discussed and across all our subjects, technology is used to enhance learning in a controlled and appropriate way.
Upon starting school, we ask each family to sign an Acceptable Use Policy to commit to safe internet use.
The online world is continually changing for both parents and teachers. Understanding what your child is doing online is important but can be a daunting for many parents. Frequently, parents require advice about specific games or apps; you can click here to visit the National Online Safety website. It has really useful guides for parents, ranging from Zoom and Fortnite to social media and Fifa 2022. The guides are short and informative and really help you to develop a quick understanding of what dangers your children could face (and how you can avoid them).
We will continue to update this page with information to help support you and your children so come back often to see what new information there is. If you would like to talk to someone in school about an online safety issue then please talk either to your child’s class teacher or come to see myself, Mr Ford ( Computing and online safety lead).
Knowledge is Key!
What’s App – have you checked your settings?
What’s app have made some changes, some back in May, but many of us are just beginning to realise somethings have changed. It is well worth checking your privacy settings to know who can send you messages, view your profile, know your location as well as join you to groups. Internet Matters has a handy guide see https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/social-media/whatsapp/
What’s app is recommended for those over 12 years of age and as a school we would not advocate any children under this age having this app. However, we do realise that as a parent, you may choose to allow your child to use What’s app. We strong suggest checking their setting privacy list to ensure that their location is never available to others and that only contacts can add them to groups.
To know more about this app and / or the suitability of other apps for your child. Do use https://www.internetmatters.org/ or http://www.commonsensemedia.org/ as well as thehttps://parentinfo.org/ for support.
Apps parents may want to research
In order to keep children safe, it is important to have regular conversations with them to ask what they are enjoying playing online. It is imperative that these conversations are two-way, with you sharing your likes and dislikes and making time to play their games. If there is an app you are unsure they should be playing then explain that you would like to know more, perhaps research it online together to find out the pros and cons. www.commonsensemedia.org is a good site to use to find out more. You can then discuss why a game is unsuitable for their age or say that the game is perfect or even it is okay but we just need to change some of the settings. This will help you build a trusting relationship around being online and, hopefully, mean your child will be open and honest about what they use.
There are some current games you need to be aware of –
Among Us – popular with primary school aged children, rated PEG+9 (although was a lot higher when it was first released).
What you need to know: If settings are public, children can chat with people they don’t know whilst playing online.
Whilst filters may block some bad language, there are words that don’t get picked up by the filter, meaning children can still be exposed to inappropriate content whilst playing a seemingly age appropriate game.
See https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews/among-us for more information
Other sites to Support Parents –
- Internet Matters– for guides on how to enable and set up privacy settings for apps/games
- Think You Know– has some great resources that parents can use as part of home schooling their children
- https://www.saferinternet.org.uk– online safety tips for children
- https://www.childnet.com– dedicated to making the internet a safe place for children
Online Safety Support
Children are using screens more and more in order to complete schoolwork, talk to their friends, to play games and watch videos. As a consequence of them spending more time on screens they are becoming more tech savvy and are accessing a wider range of apps and games. As a parent you may be feeling anxious about what your child is doing online and unsure of how to support them. Help is at hand. Here is a link to some family activities to support you and your family.
It has some useful conversation starters as well as some follow up activities. The key advice is to talk to your child often about their online activities, play alongside them and find online activities to do together. The areas focused on are:
- Viewing Videos Online
- Cyber security
- Social Media
- Sharing Images
- Live Streaming
- Online Gaming
They also have helpful short videos to support parents which are worth a watch. Also remember that you can click the Parent Info banner on this page to find even more Online Safety help.
You may have seen on the news or on social media that there is currently a video that is being circulated online that is very distressing. Please click the link below to read a great article to support your family with, not just this current issue, but with anything inappropriate your child may see online.
Please do contact us if you wish to discuss any online issues affecting your child.
Worried about your child’s online choices? Not sure about app’s your child is requesting to use?
There are a number of sites that can help you make an informed choice. You can access ‘Parent Info’ via this page as we have a direct link by scrolling down to the bottom. Other sites we would recommend are:
How much screen time should I allow my child?
This is a question you may have asked yourself recently and not been sure of the answer. Being online is a big part of our children’s lives and it can provide an opportunity to enhance skills and gain knowledge. We need to not just consider the time children spend online but make sure it is purposeful time. Children have a way of making us feel like we are too strict and will tell you that their best friend Bob is allowed so much more time than them. Fear not, there is advice out there to help guide you on making a decision regarding screen time and to help you think of other things you should consider.
The Internet Matters site has produced some easy to read online guides for parents on screen time for 0-5 year olds, 7-11 year olds, 11-14 year olds and 14 plus. These guides give you five top tips, latest statistics and guide you in setting rules that suit your family.
A key quote from the guide:
“The truth about screen time – not all screen time is created equal, so it’s important to encourage children to have a healthy balance between passive screen time (i.e. watching YouTube) and interactive screen time (i.e. creating content or playing games online).
There is no safe level of screen time but it doesn’t mean that all screen time is harmful. Lack of evidence has meant that experts have found it hard to recommend a cut-off for children’s screen time overall.
One size does not fit all when it comes to screen time – it’s more about getting it right for your family’s needs.”
Below is a link to the guides
In a three-month period during 2021, it was reported that more than 45 million people in the UK experienced a suspicious attempt at being contacted via their mobile. Phone scams are a common form of cyber-attack where fraudsters engage directly with their intended victim through their smartphone. National Online Safety have produced the parent guide below to help alert parents and carers to the tactics that scammers use to gain access to user accounts, personal data and private information for financial gain.
Parents’ guide for the use of a ‘What’s app’ school/class group
If you are unsure of the etiquette of being a part of a ‘What’s app’ class group then have a look at our helpful guide underneath.
Visit this Parent Info website for support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations: