Being safe online is a great responsibility of all of us. In today's society being aware of who you are communicating with online is of great importance in maintaining the safety of all of us.
Below are some links and information that we hope will help to keep staff and students up to date with the latest trends and ways to protect yourself online.
In addition the school runs specific filtering software and Securus an industry standard monitoring application designed to protects students from cyberbullying, online grooming, explicit images, harmful websites and other threats.
Government Advice for Keeping Children Safe Online at Home:
SafeToNet app - free for 1 million UK families:
SafeToNet is a charitable foundation who do a huge amount of work around online safeguarding. They have developed an app which they are making free to 1 million families in the UK for life. To find out more, read the article HERE and learn a little more about how the app works HERE
Trends on Social Media
There is lots of peer pressure to follow trends on social media, but some can be particularity worrying and harmful. The latest one that we have received warnings about is a trend on TikTok called the Benadryl Challenge which encourages users to overdose on antihistamines in order to hallucinate. A 15 year old girl from Oklahoma has died from attempting this challenge and the trend is on its way to the UK. Please be aware of these trends and talk to your children about how they view things on social media. Here's a guide from National Online Safety:
There is also some advice and suggestions of people who can help from Netaware (a joint operation between NSPCC and O2) called 'Back to school - How do I keep my kids safe online' here: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/news/back-to-school/
Important for Parents - Nintendo Switch Hack (information from esafety-advisor.com April 28 2020)
Nintendo have confirmed a data breach (see
- Log in to your Switch account and change the password, remember to use a good, strong password.
- Enable 2-factor authentication. This means if somebody tries to user your login details, you will get a code sent to your phone, so you know that somebody is trying to log in.
- Go to the HaveIBeenPawned website (HERE) and put in your username/email address to see if any accounts have been hacked.
What you need to know about webcams:
From National Online Safety (more guides below) a timely reminder about the use of webcams:-
Staying safe online whilst working at home - a guide for parents:
Thinkuknow - the support side of CEOP, part of the UK National Crime Agency, have sent out this useful guide to keeping your child safe whilst online:-
From Lincolnshire Safeguarding Partnership:
A guide on what to do if someone is being abusive online
From online gaming to online gambling:
Online gaming is nothing new and it almost seems like every game has a monetary aspect with a facility to link credit and debit cards or spend money in-game. But should parents be worried? Can children spend recklessly? And what behavioural changes might parents see in their child linked to an addiction? Created by gambling charity, GamFam, this guide aims to give parents a starting point to help look out for signs around online gaming addiction - click here to download it.
Buying new devices (and not just for Christmas)? Here's some excellent advice from NSPCC on how to set it up safely:
Common Sense Media - This is a site where you can learn more about the games or apps your children are using, Common Sense Media covers thousands, which includes advice and reviews from other parents. Reviews include movies and books as well, and have suggestions for age groups and areas such as 'Best non-violent games for X-Box One'. Click here: Common Sense Media
Childnet have updated their parent and carer toolkit that will help parents have conversations about online safety. Their booklet 'Let's talk about life online' includes ten key messages that should be shared with children:
1. "You can always come to me if you need help." 2. "What would you do if this happened…?" 3. "Remember that not everyone is who they say they are online." 4. "Keep your personal information safe, and other people’s too." 5. "Be respectful to others online." 6. "Think before you post." 7. "Remember to ask if it’s okay." 8. "Remember not everything is true online." 9. "The things other people post online might not always show what their life is really like." 10. "Recognise how going online makes you feel and take a break when you need to."
The Parent and Carer
Toolkit can be found here: https://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers/parent-and-carer-toolkit
Sadfishing: This is a relatively new term that has gained traction and is seen as a growing trend on social media. The danger is that real problems can be overlooked for individuals who are just attention seeking. So, should parents be worried? Why might children get involved in sadfishing? And what could it lead to? Find out with this new guide from National Online Safety.
Fortnite did close it's game down for a short period whilst it prepared to release the 'next chapter' Fortnite 2. Here's a guide for parents and carers to this new version from National Online Safety: What parents and carers need to know about Fortnite 2
Steam: Chances are you may not have heard of Steam. In very simple terms, it’s an online marketplace where individuals can buy, download, stream and play PC games. There’s an extensive library of games available but it also has a built-in chat function and means you have to provide personal information when signing up. Click here to download a guide to potential safety concerns.
During holidays, many children turn to online gaming and social media. Here are some links to some advice from CEOP:
Many children will be spending time gaming online over the holidays. This article explores the different elements of gaming with a particular focus on how it can be used by offenders, but focusing on what parents can do to support their child while gaming.
Help them to stay safe on gaming platforms over the holidays (and beyond) with our new article for teens. It looks at:
- The manipulative tactics an offender may use to groom or exploit a young gamer
- Five simple steps to take to stay safe when gaming
- Blocking and reporting in games
Many children enjoy live streaming as it can be used to showcase talent, develop communication skills and create identity. Our article helps parents to understand why children love it, what the risks can be, and how they can help their child stay safe if they are live streaming.
Parental controls are a great tool for helping to protect children but should not replace open and honest conversations with children about their life online. Share these tips on how to use parental controls effectively.
And whilst many are going away, there's some advice here:
Lots of parents love sharing photos of their children with friends and family, particularly when they are on holiday or starting the new school year. A recent report found that 42% of young people reported that their parents had done this without asking their permission. Our article helps parents to protect their child while staying social.
6. Many thanks to our parents, who keep me informed of any other advice they have found helpful or been involved in the development of. Thanks to K Ferreira, for sharing this resource with us which has been released in August 2019:
It has lots of advice on areas such as streaming content, Smart TVs and online predators as well as other areas.
Another guide for parents with tips on what to look for and how to talk to your child about various issues can be found here: https://www.lifecake.com/family-internet-safety-privacy/
Also a wealth of information can be found here: https://techiepassion.com/kids-esafety/
(Please note William Farr is not affiliated with Lifecake, VPNMentor or Techiepassion in any way and does not recommend their products other than as resources available online).
Discord - With over 14 million daily users, Discord is one of the most popular communication tools for gamers. It allows you to create or join what are known as ‘servers’, where different users can talk in groups via text message or voice call. There is also the option to send direct messages and make video calls. Discord-Guide-May-2019.pdf
Momo Challenge on WhatsApp, You Tube and online games such as Fortnite - A sinister character appears using abusive language challenging it's viewers to play the game (involving nasty pranks) or sending unpleasant threats; in YouTube it can appear in the middle of an episode of a children's TV show. The character also threatens the viewer of awful consequences of telling a parent or responsible adult. You may be aware of this through warnings on social media such as Twitter of Facebook, but further information can be found on news sites such as this: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/momo-challenge-what-is-it-explained-parents-children-advice-danger-safety-a8798591.html
A guide to parents about Momo from the National Online Safety website can be found by clicking here.
The BBC have released lots of advice on areas like this and how to deal with online abuse etc; as part of their 'Own It' series which can be accessed by clicking here.
Anonymous Messaging Apps - "A variety of websites and apps that allow users to anonymously submit questions, comments and have conversations with other users, without knowing their identity" - the chances of these being used for bullying is high, so Net Aware have given some tips and guidance for Parents on how to watch for and guard against these type of apps. Their report can be found by clicking here.
Here are some more factsheets about specific issues; many others can be found at this excellent site https://nationalonlinesafety.com/resources/wake-up-wednesday/:
Snapchat - privacy and blocking guide (updated)
The Facts You Should Know about Sexting - a handout from Lincolnshire Police
What is What's App - including how to block users from a What's App group or chat.
The Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board is a multi-agency board made up of representatives from the Local Authority, Police, Health Service, Probation Trust, Youth Offending Service, the Voluntary Sector and others. They have a dedicated You Tube channel with information on various topics about online safety and signposts onto other useful sources of information.
The link to the You Tube channel is below:
Report online concerns here:
or by contacting the Lincolnshire Customer Service Centre on 01522 782111
A summary of the information on screen time use for parents and carers from the UK Chief Medical Officer
Gaming Disorder - added to World Health Organisation classification of diseases
Please note this is a 'disorder', not an addiction. WHO say "Gaming disorder is characterised by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour…" which includes:
- "impaired control over gaming"
- "increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities"
- "continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."
There is an article on the internetmatters.org website that explains 'What you need to know about WHO gaming disorder'.
You can read the article here: https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/guidance/what-you-need-to-know-about-who-gaming-disorder/
Lots of information for parents about keeping your children safe, from the experts – CEOP http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk
The think you know website for parents www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents
Making a report to CEOP https://www.ceop.police.uk/Ceop-Report/
Reporting a violation to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=204546626249212
Making a report to Twitter - https://support.twitter.com/groups/56-policies-violations#topic_236
Lots of information for parents – http://www.parentsonlinesafety.com
Staying safe from Hate: http://educateagainsthate.com
Net Aware - a site where parents review and rate social media apps and sites based on the features and how appropriate it is/isn't.
Digital Safety - a blog post that gives an overview of several dangers on the Internet and how to deal with them, such as child online safety, social media safety, etc.
Online Social Media Tips for Parents: http://www.internetmatters.org/social-media/