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Online Safety

If you have any questions or worries about internet safety please see any member of staff or Mrs Tew / Mr Windsor.

 

From the home page of our website there is a link to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) site.  

 

Has someone made you feel weird or uncomfortable online? CEOP can help and protect you. If someone has acted inappropriately online towards you or someone you know, you can report it directly to CEOP. 

What is ‘e-safety’ and ‘online safety’?

 

‘e-Safety’ or ‘online safety’ covers issues relating to children, young people and adults, and their safe use of the Internet, mobile phones, tablets and other electronic communications technologies, in a range of settings including schools, early year’s providers, local sport clubs, youth groups and libraries as well as within the home.

 

In today’s society, children, young people and adults interact with technologies such as mobile phones, games consoles and the Internet on a daily basis and experience a wide range of opportunities, attitudes and situations. The exchange of ideas, social interaction and learning opportunities involved are greatly beneficial to all, but can occasionally place children and young people (and indeed adults) in danger.

 

The online safety agenda has shifted towards requiring users to manage their own risk and develop resilience and strategies to minimise any such dangers incurred online, rather than relying on filtering to block content and “remove” hazards. This change of approach requires teachers and parents/carers to develop a greater understanding of the “online world of the child”.

 

What risks are children likely to face whilst online?

 

Children and young people are likely to encounter a range of risks online which can be highlighted as:

Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material

Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users (peers and strangers)

Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm

 

It is important to recognise that online abuse can be perpetrated by children and young people and family members as well as by strangers.

What is classed as ‘inappropriate’?

Inappropriate is a term that can mean different things to different people. It is important to differentiate between ‘inappropriate and illegal’ and ‘inappropriate but legal’.

Illegal

Accessing (viewing), making, storing (possessing) or disseminating indecent images of children on or off the internet.

Possessing or distributing incident images of a person under 18 can include viewing such images online; this may also constitute possession even if they are not saved. What is regarded as indecent would ultimately be down to a jury to decide. The police have a grading system for different types of indecent image. Remember that children and young people may be harmed or coerced into posing for such images and are therefore victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

This also applies to indecent images created by children and young people (those aged under 18) themselves and is often referred to as “sexting”.

The offence of grooming is committed if someone over 18 has communicated with a child under 16, at least twice (including by phone or using the Internet) and meets them or travels to meet with them anywhere in the world with the intention of committing a sexual offence. (Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 15)

 

Illegal Hate/Harm/Harassment

General: There is a range of offences to do with inciting hatred on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation etc.

Individual: There are particular offences to do with harassing or threatening individuals – this includes cyber bullying by mobile phone, social networking sites etc. It is an offence to make credible threats or send offensive messages with the purpose of causing the recipient distress or anxiety.

 

Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive and advice should always be sought if you suspect a criminal offence has taken place.

Is it illegal for children or young people to play 18+ games?

No, it’s not illegal for children or young people to play 18+ games; it’s only illegal for the shop to sell the game directly to them. The actual impact of 18+ video games on children and young people is widely debated and often inconclusive or conflicted. Some studies suggest that the impact of playing 18+ video games may depend on if the child/young person is already pre-disposed to violence and suggests that there is often a range of other factors involved, including family environment, age, ability etc. and awareness and education about the potential impact is usually the best solution.

 

Useful links to use regarding video games and online gaming include:

www.pegi.info/en/index

www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers/hot-topics/gaming

www.childnet.com/resources/online-gaming-an-introduction-for-parents

www.net-aware.org.uk

www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-to-technology

www.internetmatters.org

 

What do I do if I think my child is being bullied online?

 

The responsibility for dealing with online bullying is shared. It will require cooperation between children, young people, parents, professionals and schools/education settings to ensure that situations are identified and managed appropriately.

 

Online or cyberbullying is the use of technology particularly mobile phones and the internet to deliberately upset or harass someone. Whilst in theory cyberbullying is just another form of bullying, it can be different to traditional bullying. Online bullying can take place anytime, anyplace and this can create a feeling of there being ‘no escape’ for the victim. Online bullies can attempt to be anonymous and can feel distanced from the incident. They are often unaware of the laws regarding harassment and the fact online activity can be traced via digital footprints. Electronic content is very hard to control once it has been posted and can never be guaranteed to be removed totally from circulation - this can be very upsetting to victims as they can never be sure who has viewed images or content about them. Online bullying can sometimes occur unintentionally, often due to a lack of awareness or empathy e.g. "It was only a joke”. Bystanders can easily become perpetrators of online bullying by liking or sharing videos, images or content and a one off comment can become bullying due to the repeated and permanent nature of the internet.

 

How can I report a case of online bullying?

 

Although bullying in itself is not a specific criminal offence in the UK, it is important to bear in mind that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour or communications could be a criminal offence, for example under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003, and the Public Order Act 1986. If anyone believes that a crime has been committed then they should seek assistance from the police via 101. If it is an emergency (if someone is injured, in danger or there is a risk to someone's life) then you should contact 999.

If a child or young person discloses online (or cyber) bullying to you then the first response should be to support them and reassure them that they have done the right thing by reporting the bullying. You should advise them how to deal with bullying appropriately, for example how to block bullies or report the users to the website. They should be instructed to keep evidence by taking screen prints or keeping messages (including times, dates, names and locations if possible), not to retaliate and to tell a trusted adult.

If the child or young person is being bullied by known individuals such as peers then school and educations settings should be involved and support and sanction children according to their anti-bullying and behaviour policies. Section 89(5) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 gives head teachers the power to regulate pupils' conduct when they are not on school premises and are not under the lawful control or charge of a member of school staff. This can relate to any bullying incidents occurring anywhere off the school premises (including online) and if bullying outside of school involving pupils is reported then it will be investigated and acted on.

 

There are a range of external agencies which may be helpful to provide specific support to children, young people and families.

CEOP: www.ceop.police.uk

www.thinkuknow.co.uk

 

The NCA's CEOP Command (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) delivers a multi-agency service dedicated to tackling the abuse and exploitation of children in the real and the “e” world. A key focus of CEOP is the Think U Know website and education strategy to teach young people, professionals and parents/carers about e-Safety and has a “Click CEOP” report abuse button to report online abuse or suspicious behaviour. Any reports of abuse made via CEOP’s or the VGT ‘Report Abuse’ button will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from around the globe. The report abuse button can be used to report inappropriate or potentially illegal activity towards a child. It can be found in many websites, chatrooms and instant messaging services.

 

The IWF: www.iwf.org.uk

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the UK hotline for reporting illegal online content – this may be child abuse images, or material considered to be criminally obscene or inciting hatred. A link for reporting illegal content appears on the IWF homepage.

 

ChildLine: www.childline.org.uk

Children and young people can ring ChildLine on 0800 1111 to speak to someone in private. The ChildLine website also offers excellent help and advice on a whole range of issues, for example online safety, sexting, grooming and bullying.

 

Parent Port: www.parentport.org.uk

ParentPort is run by the UK’s media regulators who set and enforce standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material. At ParentPort parents can find out about the standards expected from the media, make a complaint and share views.

 

Stop it Now! www.stopitnow.org.uk

Stop it Now! UK and Ireland is a child sexual abuse prevention campaign run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. It supports adults to play their part in prevention through providing sound information, educating members of the public and running a free phone confidential Helpline.

  

Using the internet to obtain information

Most internet use is likely to be safe, purposeful and beneficial to children, young people and professionals. However, there is always an element of risk; even an innocent search can occasionally turn up links to adult content or imagery.

If inappropriate material is discovered then; turn off the monitor/screen, reassure the child/young person and log and report the URL.

Parents and carers are an essential part of keeping children and young people safe online. Most internet access takes place when children and young people are within the home therefore it is essential that parents/carers are aware of their children’s internet use and implement appropriate measures to safeguard them online.

 

Technology can sometimes be seen as a "scary" or "frightening" for many people as they may be concerned about not having sufficient computer skills to help protect a child. This fear can prevent them from taking appropriate measures to safeguard children, which unlimitedly puts them at risk of harm. The important part of online safety is however not about having technology knowledge, it is about keeping children and young people safe, therefore parenting and communication skills are more important.

Sometimes we may think we are doing enough to protect children by using parental controls, putting filters on search engines, installing antivirus software, having a laptop downstairs and banning children from using certain sites without considering how successful these tools are, or if children could access the internet elsewhere, so it is important to highlight that discussion and education about safe use is the key.

The following links will have a range of useful resources for users:

 

www.thinkuknow.co.uk

www.internetmatters.org

www.saferinternet.org.uk

www.childnet.com

www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety

www.net-aware.org.uk

www.getsafeonline.org

www.parentzone.org.uk

www.parentsprotect.co.uk

www.parentinfo.org

 

 

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