Advice for parents
The internet and mobile phone technology has lots of benefits such as educational games and programmes, being able to easily research information, giving people the opportunity to communicate with people from all around the world and the opportunity to share resources and ideas with people that have the same interests.
However, there are also risks with the internet:
Paedophiles use the internet to meet young people; people lying to others online and saying things which they would not normally say in person; bullying using the internet; the risk of children seeing inappropriate images and material; and viruses and pop ups.
CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) has the following advice for parents:
Here are some common signs of grooming that you should be aware of. It doesn’t mean that your child is being groomed, but signs to look out for if you’re worried. These signs are: excessive use of the computer; aggressive behaviour regarding internet usage; secretive behaviour and a change in use of sexual language.
General advice for parents is:
(1) Know what your children are doing online (look at the browsing history for example);
(2) Ask them to teach you to use any applications so that you have an idea of what they are doing and what they are capable of doing on the computer;
(3) Keep the computer in a family room - this means you can keep more control of what they do (i.e. webcams);
(4) Talk to your children so that they understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends;
(5) Remind your children never to believe spam or junk mail and they shoudl not reply to them or use them.
If you have a concern then you can go to www.ceop.gov.uk/parents to sign up for CEOP newsletters and videos. This also has advice and a range of resources. You can sign up for monthly email updates and they will provide you with information on new and emerging technologies and tips to keep your family safe whilst online.
You can also visit www.youtube.com/ceop to view their Educational Awareness films. CEOP can be contacted on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 0870 000 33 44.
Advice for pupils
When you are online you need to be safe. Follow this e-safety advice to help keep yourself safe:
(1) Don't give out personal details about yourself online.
Keep your real name, information about where you live, your contact details (phone number, email and so on), where you go to school and anything else personal to you a secret. Also, don't give out your friend's details either.
Remember when you send a text message or photo from your phone your phone number will automatically go with it. Think very carefully about who you are sending messages to.
(2) Keep your passwords secret.
Don't tell anyone your passwords and don't use words that others can easily guess (like your pet's name or a nickname).
(3) Don't meet up with an online friend.
If this is someone who you have only communicated with online you don't know that they are who they say they are. As a general rule, don't arrange to meet up with them even if you are very curious to meet them or feel like you know them because you have chatted to them online for a while.
If you ignore this advice and do decide to meet up with someone you have only met online then you must tell your parents / carers what you plan to do. Arrange to take a responsible adult with you and let your online friend know that this is your intention.
(4) Don't open junk mail
Don't open emails or texts from people you don't know. Sometimes they are just annoying and trying to sell you things, but other times they can be malicious. If you receive an email or message which is rude or threatening you must tell an adult and don't reply to it.
(5) Remember - not everyone is who they say they are.
Although it's fun to chat to people online you must be careful. Often you are a lot more careful in the 'real world' then you are online. Don't give out your personal details - be careful about what you give away about your school etc which could help them identify where you live. Unfortunately, there are some people who use the internet to befriend children and try and get them to meet up in person. If someone you have befriended online want to meet up with you then you should definitely tell your parents / carers and don't go to meet them alone.
(6) Talk to someone if you are worried
If something you see or read makes you feel unsure or uncomfortable then please please tell someone about it. Preferably a trusted adult - your parents or teacher. You can also report abuse wherever you see the CEOP 'report abuse' button. Go to www.thinkuknow.co.uk and you can report abuse and get help.
Cyberbullying is a modern day problem which is more prevalent than people think. Children and young people are becoming more and more adept at adapting to new technologies and they use mobiles, the internet and other communication technologies more frequently than ever before.
However, this popularity provides opportunities for some people to misuse technology and cyberbullying can follow children outside of school hours and into their own homes.
A report to the Anti-Bullying Alliance by the University of London defined cyberbullying as "…an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself." For example the bullying can take the form of unwelcome or threatening text messages, pictures or video-clips sent via mobile phones, emailing hurtful messages, instant messages, via a chat forum or website and so on. We all need to be aware of this and act to try to prevent this from happening and to deal with it effectively when it does happen.
Research by the DfES has found that a quarter of the young people who had been cyberbullied said that knowing how to get hold of and speak to an expert at dealing with cyberbullying would have made a difference. Knowing there was a staff member at school dedicated to stopping bullying was cited by 15% as a help. 13% said that knowing of a website with advice and tips would have helped them.
At Bellingham Middle School we want to make the children aware that we want to help anyone who is being bullied, including those suffering from cyberbullying. If this is happening to you, your child or someone you know, please speak to someone about it. All our staff want to help and support people who feel bullied.
In addition, here are some links which take you to good websites about what you can do to prevent and deal with cyberbullying: