The Internet has become an important part of student’s lives, enabling them to research school projects, talk to their friends and access information from around the world. Increasing provision of the Internet in and out of schools brings with it the need to ensure that learners remain safe. Internet development is constantly evolving into ever more innovative areas with many websites enabling amazing creativity and interaction between peers.
Unfortunately though, there are times when Internet use can have a negative effect on students.
Parents, carers and adults in schools should be aware of the potential dangers and be taking measures to ensure safe usage by all.
Students undertake regular E-Safety lessons as part of their ICT lessons and Core Studies programmes. The academy also has a comprehensive policy for being safe online. At home, many students are often given unsupervised access to the Internet. This potentially, allows them to access all kinds of content (both good and bad) and bring it into their homes. We therefore advice all parents to engage in regular communication with the children and talk about what kind of things they are doing online.
Possible Internet Dangers:
1. Pornography – Warping the minds of youth
Repeatedly viewing pornography, especially from a young age, can radically shape one’s sexual attitudes and beliefs. Frequent exposures to sexually explicit material is closely linked to more permissive attitudes about sex, such as having multiple sexual partners, “one night stands,” cynicism about the need for affection between sexual partners, casual sexual relations with friends, and even mimicking behaviors seen in pornography.
2. Sexting – The unsafe ‘safe sex’
Sexting is sending or receiving nude or partially nude photos or videos through the Internet or cell phones. When teens engage in this risky behavior, many things can go wrong. These images are easy to forward on to others. At times, these images can be considered “child pornography,” and some teens have already been given felony charges.
3. Cyberbullying – The mean way kids treat each other online
Bullying happens on both the playground and in the digital world. Hurtful words are exchanged. Rumors start easily and spread quickly. Profiles and e-mails are hacked.
4. Predators – Those seeking to ensnare our children
The Internet is a perfect forum to meet new people, but some with malicious intent can use it to “befriend” your child. Internet predators are expert manipulators, able to foster a relationship of dependence with a teenager. Most prey on a teen’s desire to be liked, their desire for romance, or their sexual curiosity. Often a predator “grooms” a child through flattery, sympathy, and by investing time in their online relationship. These can then turn into offline relationships or, in extreme cases, opportunities for kidnapping or abduction.
5. Gaming – More risks of exposure to sexual media and interactions
While online and console games can be very fun, educational, and interactive, there are also hidden dangers. Much of the content of some games include sexual content, violence, and crude language. Plus, Internet-connected games enable kids to interact with strangers, some of which can be bad influences or mean your kids harm.
6. Social Networks – Redefining privacy
Social networks like Facebook are very popular online activities. But parents should be aware of the image their teens are projecting as well as the influences they are absorbing online.
7. YouTube – ‘Broadcast yourself’ culture means anything goes
YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing website. But because anyone can upload anything to YouTube, often videos can break the Community Guidelines for YouTube, and even those that do not can still be full of sexual innuendo, provocative content, and foul language.
Want some technical?
Technology has many benefits, but as you hear in the news, it also has many dangers, below are some useful resources to ensuring your child is safe on the internet at home:
- Thinkuknow has lots of eSafety information for Parents and Children
- Facebook Privacy Controls
- Google Safe Search
- Blackberry App World Controls
- Blackberry Parental Controls
- How young people are sharing their location
- Parental Controls for Xbox 360
- Reporting illegal contents to Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
- Vodafone Content Control
- Vodafone Guardian App for smartphones
- Windows 7 Parental Controls
- YouTube Safety Mode
- Social Media Tips for Parents
Want more advice?
More information about what to do if you come across anything on the internet that concerns you, internet security and ways to enjoy the benefits of the web
www.thinkyouknow.co.uk Practical advice and guidance for children, young people, parents and carers, and professionals who work with children run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
www.childnet-int.org Childnet International is a charity that works in partnership with others to “help make the Internet a great and safe place for children.” It features practical advice about how children can enjoy the benefits of the internet and also protect themselves from online risks; with specific support for parents/carers and teachers.
www.saferinternet.org.uk UK Safer Internet Centre provides the latest advice on how to use the internet and new technologies safely and responsibly, along with a range of practical resources, news and events focussing on the safe and responsible use of the internet and new technologies.
ceop.police.uk The CEOP website. Go to this website to report concerns about a person’s online sexual behaviour, get the Click CEOP report abuse button for your web browser, and all the latest news about protecting children from abuse
facebook.com/clickceop Encourage your child to protect themselves and their friends on Facebook with the Click CEOP button
www.parentport.org.uk Have you seen or heard something which you think is unsuitable for your child? Go to ParentPort and it will direct you to the right regulator for your area of concern. ParentPort has been set up by the UK’s media regulators.
www.iwf.org.uk Go to the Internet Watch Foundation to report any criminal content online inlcluding child sexual abuse images or incitement to racial hatred
www.getsafeonline.org For advice about filtering, setting parental control software to prevent viruses and SPAM on your home computers and how to avoid online rip-offs. Regular updates through the Get Safe Online blog.
www.pegi.info Provided by the Pan-European Game Information service, PEGI is a quick way to find the age ratings for computer games designed for Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony games consoles
eresponsibility.pbworks.com JISC Regional Support Centre good practice website with resources for raising awareness and planning e-safety for professionals working in the FE/HE/ACL/WBL sectors, as well as advice on meeting legal and inspection requirements
Want to get in touch? If you are worried or need advice about E-Safety issue that maybe going on, please feel free to seek advice from the Academy using the form below.