The online safety sessions run by national online safety expert Peter Bower as part of open afternoon proved to be a real hit with parents, carers and relations. We’ve estimated that over the course of the three sessions around 80 of you were able to attend and hear key messages about helping children stay safe online. A wide range of issues were explored ranging from “How much time should my child spend online?” to “How can I restrict the sites that my child is able to visit online?” The key message that came through repeatedly was about the importance of enabling children to communicate with us as adults when they feel unsafe online and about us as adults being able to support those in our care, to make the right choices when online.
Peter left us in no doubt that we are all playing catch up with the ‘digital generation’ however while children may know more than us technologically they don’t yet have the maturity to consistently make appropriate choices or to know how to react in difficult situations. As adults we do know and that is our role as parents and carers. We hope you found the sessions worthwhile. We know what an asset the online world can be in our children’s lives, as long as we support them, hand in hand. A link to the common sense website www.commonsensemedia.org which reviews online content, films and games is now embedded in our website in the learning zone under ICT.
Quote from Sophie Makhlouf, Parent Governor-
“The internet is a wonderful and exciting tool and even young children are becoming increasingly aware of how to use a telephone, a remote control, a television, an iPad, iPod or DS. While it is important not to curb this enthusiasm, Mr Bower pointed out that it is virtually impossible to ensure that the internet be completely safe, therefore parents must guide their children as they would in the street or a park and lead by example, to show them what they must do to be safe.
For example, children have been warned not to speak to strangers in the street, however they do so frequently online through networks such as Club Penguins and Moshi Monsters. It is important to warn children how quickly internet games, such as these, encourage them to make ‘friends’ with people that they have not met. He said that it is important that parents are aware of what sites their children visit and that they themselves know the risks. Mr Bower pointed out that he himself became a Club Penguin member and so could anyone else, child or adult.
Mr Bower spoke to children in Year 5 and he told parents how they had told him that they had seen rude pictures or bad language on games sites or on Youtube. He suggested that children could ask their parents if they were going on to Youtube and referred parents to the Common Sense Media website (www.commonsensemedia.org) where internet games and movies are reviewed for parents, given age-limits and a description of their content and risks, allowing parents to gain insight into the internet sites or films that children want to see or ask to visit.
A very informative and worthwhile visit!”