Online safety is taken very seriously at Severn Vale and we work on both educating pupils and supporting parents on this.
All pupils receive lessons in online safety as part of both their Computer Studies & Futures education throughout years 7 - 11.
Pupils are taught about:
- Dangers of the Internet
- SMART use of the Internet
- “Stranger danger” i.e. not meeting up with people from the Internet
- Using the Internet & social networks safely & sensibly
- Judging websites for trustworthiness
- Online fraud
- Computer/Internet Addictions
Online safety messages are also communicated through Line-Up, tackling big issues such as cyberbullying, and online abuses such as grooming and sexting.
If pupils have any online safety concerns (about themselves or others) then we strongly encourage them to talk to a teacher, if they feel unable to talk to a teacher then we would like them to communicate their concerns to parents, who can then contact their child’s Head of Year in school.
Our school network is monitored by our ICT network manager and the Internet is filtered to limit the content that children can access from the school computers. Many entertainment and social websites are blocked to keep pupils focused in class and for their safety. Other unsuitable websites are also blocked. In addition, our Computer Science teachers use classroom monitoring software to ensure pupils are focused on their work and not distracted by the Internet. IT and Safeguarding staff conduct system checks annually to ensure inappropriate or illicit online content is blocked accordingly
We recognise that technology changes fast, so we carry out an annual survey to monitor the latest trends in our pupils' Internet use so we can react and adapt our work on e-safety in accordance to meet emerging needs.
Each November we mark anti-bullying week with activities on cyber bullying. We also mark Safer Internet Day each February with key messages to students in Line Up and tutor time.
Advice for Parents:
We recommend that all parents read the free online Digital Parenting Magazine from Vodafone. It contains excellent online safety advice.
The Internet has become an enormous part of our society and so plays a role in the lives of all young people in the UK. There are many good reasons for young people to use the Internet both for educational and social/entertainment purposes, however the Internet also poses many risks that children need to be protected from.
There is a lot parents can do. Our advice is that there always needs to be a combination of communication and supervision:
- Talk to your children about what to do if they do come across something unpleasant or upsetting online.
- Make sure they know who to talk to if they ever feel worried.
- Share your wisdom – advise on the consequences of posting things online they may later regret.
- Try not to overreact!
- Keep the devices and their usage to a family room
- Check the age guidance and restrictions for social media platforms
- Set both boundaries and rewards for your child. (e.g. Granting access to Social media at age 13, not before)
- Encourage balanced use: aim for 2 hours a day
- Install filtering software such as K9 Web Protection which is FREE (but then don’t always rely on this software as the only protection)
- Get involved with your children online, tell them to show you their profiles & activity on Social Networks:
- Talk through their online friends – Who are they? How do they know them?
- Check the suitability of their profile picture
- Check their privacy settings – who can see their profile and posts?
- Agree on the rules as a family
Useful Links for Parents:
You can learn more about keeping your child safe from these websites:
- “Think You Know” e-safety website for parents, set up by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre
- “Digizen“ e-safety website for parents, set up by Childnet
- Parents guide to technology (phones, games consoles and ipads)
- Learn how to set the parental controls on your home Internet
- Conversation starters for talking to your children about using the Internet safely
- Parents guide to Snapchat
- Parents guide to Instagram
- Parents guide to Google+
- o2 and NSPCC