Children and young people’s lives have changed dramatically because of the coronavirus. With social distancing measures children will be spending more time at home and online.
And while the internet is a great way for children and young people to stay in touch with their friends and keep busy during lockdown, it can also bring risks. Now more than ever it’s important to talk to your child about staying safe online and about the apps and sites they’re using. We’ve got advice to help.
At St Michael's we teach children to think SMART. Through our PSHE programme and also our Computing Curriculum, we help children to learn about Online Safety.
Safe - Keep your personal information safe. When chatting or posting online don't give away things like your full name, password or home address. Remember personal information can be seen in images and videos you share too. Keep them safe to keep yourself safe.
Meet - Meeting up with someone you only know online, even a friend of a friend, can be dangerous as this person is still a stranger. If someone you only know online ever asks you to meet up, for personal information or for photos/videos of you then tell an adult straight away and report them together on www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Accepting - Think carefully before you click on or open something online (e.g. links, adverts, friend requests, photos) as you never know where they may lead to or they may contain viruses. Do not accept something if you are unsure of who the person is or what they’ve sent you.
Reliable - You cannot trust everything you see online as some things can be out of date, inaccurate or not entirely true. To find reliable information compare at least three different websites, check in books and talk to someone about what you have found.
Tell - Tell a trusted adult if something or someone ever makes you feel upset, worried or confused. This could be if you or someone you know is being bullied online. There are lots of people who will be able to help you like your teachers, parents, carers or contact Childline – 0800 11 11 or www.childline.org.uk
Opening the Conversation
It can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they’re doing online or who they might be speaking to. But talking regularly, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed and mean that when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you. It can help to:
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)
CEOP is a law enforcement agency and is here to keep children and young people safe from sexual exploitation and abuse.
UK Safer Internet Centre
Here you will find films, storybooks and other fun sites, with plenty of information to help you enjoy your time online and stay safe on the internet.