Staying safe and making sure our students are safe is a vital priority at Woodrush. This concern also applies to our use and students use of the Internet and online communication.
The internet is a valuable exciting resource and part of our everyday lives. However it can also be a tool that is abused by a minority so we should all be aware of the dangers so that they can be avoided.
Please take some time to view the content below to inform you of how to stay safe online and safeguard your children.
Cyberbullying is when a child is threatened, harassed, humiliated or otherwise targeted by another child using digital technologies such as the internet and mobile phones. Cyberbullying can take place anywhere and at anytime and the person cyberbullying may attempt to appear anonymous.
If you are worried or upset it is important to talk to someone. It can be helpful to talk to a parent, carer, teacher or another adult that you trust.
- Hide your personal details
- Change your password often
- Set networking sites and profiles to 'private'
- Block the sender of hurtful or nasty messages
- Never open messages from someone you don't know
- Save nasty links, text messages and emails for evidence
- Only give details to friends you know in real life
- React appropriately to nasty or hurtful messages
There are many great ways of downloading and accessing music, film, TV and video safely and legally online. The advice on this page aims to inform you about staying safe and legal while enjoying entertainment online or via your mobile device.
Did you know?
- Using illegal sites and file-sharing programmes can be risky
- Using illegal file sharing programmes exposes users to the risk of unwelcome content such as viruses, violent images and pornography. File sharing software can also compromise your privacy and security by opening up your computer and sharing what’s stored with the outside world.
- You could be breaking the law and face consequences : Copyright law applies to downloading, sharing and streaming just like the real world of physical CDs and DVDs. If you make music, film or TV content available to others on a file-sharing network, download from an illegal site, or sell copies without the permission of those who own the copyright, then you could face serious penalties.
- Using legal sites rewards creators for their work : Copyright laws protect those who work in the creative industries and allows them to be rewarded fairly and to continue to create the music, film and TV programmes we all enjoy so much.
Many games today are played online against other players over the internet, whether on a console, computer, mobile device or social networking sites. In these games people play against hundreds of other people they often don't know.
How to stay in control when playing games online
- Sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. Remember there is nothing wrong with losing.
- People can get aggressive or nasty when playing online because they want to win. Respect other players and don’t upset anyone in order to get ahead.
- Keep an eye out for game ratings. They tell you if the game is unsuitable for younger age groups.
- Don’t spend all your time gaming. Make sure you still have time for your family and friends, other social activities and homework.
- If you ever feel yourself becoming irritable or tired, take a break for a while or reduce your gaming time.
How do I stay safe when playing games online?
- Don’t use any personal information that might identify you. This could be your full name, home address, phone number or the name of your school.
- Use a nickname instead of your real name and choose one that will not attract the wrong type of attention.
- Look out for your mates. Treat your friend’s personal details like you would your own and do not share their details with others.
How do I stay safe whilst using voice chat?
- In some online games, you can talk to others players through a headset, often known as ‘voice chat’. The other person might seem friendly but remember they are still strangers and it is still important to keep safe:
- Sometimes you can use a ‘voice mask’. This will disguise your voice and make you sound different, that way, others don’t know your age or gender.
- Remember not to share any personal information with them.
- If they ever make you feel uncomfortable or keep on asking personal questions, hang up or cancel the chat and tell a trusted adult.
Questions to ask before using location services:
For safety reasons, young children should not share their location with anybody. If your children want to use apps with location services, ask yourself these questions before allowing them to:
Do I know what my children are doing?
Talk to them about their habits, and check the settings on their phones. Are they using location services? Which ones? Do they know safe online practices? Review their privacy settings with them.
Are the websites age-appropriate?
Some geolocation websites don't allow children under a certain age, such as 13 or 18, to join. Look at the site to ensure that your teen meets the site's age requirement and to see if you yourself are comfortable with the site.
Are the privacy settings strict enough?
By default, some geolocation services let non-friends monitor an individual's activity. For example, the default on Foursquare will show even non-friends where individuals are, if both parties check in to the same place. Make sure to check your child's settings.
Who can see where photos and videos were taken?
Many photo and video applications let you choose who can see your geotagged photos and videos. For example, with Flickr, you can manage this by changing the location privacy setting for your photos or by creating a geofence. (a way to make certain geolocations such as you home or school, more private).
Where are my children checking in?
Checking in to personal places, like your home, your friend's house, or a church may be an unsafe way of letting strangers know information you should keep private.
How specific are the broadcasts?
Location-based services that track you as you change locations can let you narrow or widen how specific your location is. Some services let you manage your setting so that it shows only the city, not the address, of the lemonade stand down the street.
Do my children know who they're checking in with?
Check out your child's friends list, and ask them if they know everyone that they are broadcasting to. Make sure they know these friends offline in real life.
Can other people broadcast my child's location?
Some sites let consumers show their location and the location of their friends. Check your teen's settings to see if friends can show where your teen is.
Are updates linked to other accounts?
If updates on one social network are linked to a public account on another, your child may be publishing to a larger audience than you think. Check each account's privacy settings to make sure all linked accounts are visible only to friends.
Social networking sites are places online where you can connect with your friends and share videos, music, photos and chat with one another. In order to enjoy using these services there are some key things to remember.Be careful who you accept as friends as once they are friends they will have access to your content. It is important to realise that not everyone online is reliable and some may lie about who they are in order to find out more about you. Remember that if anyone is aggressive or inappropriate to you online then most social networking sites have a way of allowing you to block or delete the person.
5 top tips for safe social networking:
- Friends: consider who you choose to accept or invite as a friend on your social networks. Once you accept someone as a friend they are able to see your content. It’s important to always remember that not everyone online is reliable and some people may lie about who they are. Remember if someone is aggressive or inappropriate to you online most social networking sites have tools to help you block or delete that person.
- Privacy: most social networking sites have tools available to protect the things you post online and how much you share with others. It’s really important to check your privacy settings; do you know who can see your content? We would recommend that you change your settings so that you are only sharing with your friends.
- Think before you post: would you be happy for your head teacher or your grandparents to see all of the things you have posted online? It is important to remember that once you post something online it is potentially there forever! This also relates to content that you post about others; what starts out as a joke or gossip can quickly escalate and cause real pain and upset that can’t be taken back.
- Photos: remember your profile picture is the first impression you may give someone. Think carefully about the photos you choose to share online; do they give away a lot of information about you (eg a picture of you in your school uniform)? Also keep in mind that photos can be easily copied, changed, shared and used elsewhere – would you want a future employee to see that photo?
If your child uses social media and you want to find out more safety advice regarding individual networks click this link http://www.net-aware.org.uk
Video Chat and Webcams
Webcams have become an increasingly popular and useful tool for young people and adults.
People can now video chat face to face with family and friends through video calling services such as Skype and FaceTime, hold video conferences with more than one person on Google Hangouts and social networking sites, and even use their webcam as a barcode scanner to check the cost/trade in value of goods online. Some games consoles also allow the use of a camera to video chat or capture footage of someone playing a game.
What do I need to know?
There are a huge number of positive uses and potential for using webcams as a tool for communication and searching for information and a number of sites and services may wish to access your webcam. The advice below can help you minimise the risks associated with webcams and video chatting.
- Think before you cam : Always consider who you are chatting to and what you are sharing with them. Sharing photos or video taken via a webcam can give away personal information. Be aware that webcam footage can also be recorded by someone and then potentially shared and uploaded anywhere online.
- Online Friendship : On some services you may receive chat requests from people you don’t know. It’s far better to stick to chatting with people you know in the offline world too; your family and friends. If a site or service has privacy settings, always make use of them to control who can contact you.
- Webcam content online : Some webcam chat sites allow you to chat to and see strangers online and may put you at risk of seeing pornographic content or adult behaviour on webcam. This content should always be reported to the website/service.
- Just say no : People may use webcam chat to convince you to appear naked on camera or perform sexually suggestive acts. This can then be recorded by the watcher and be potentially used to threaten or blackmail. If someone ever asks you to do or say anything on camera that makes you feel uncomfortable then just say no and tell an adult you trust.
- Tell Someone : If you have been the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person via webcam or other forms of online communication then it is vital to tell a trusted adult and to report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with you in order to gain your trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Groomers can be male or female and they can be any age. They can even be someone who you already know - for example a friend or professional. You may not realise that you have been a victim of grooming or that what has happened is a form of abuse.