Welcome to our page dedicated to online safety. Here you will find a link to the 'Parent Info' website (click the icon below) which has current articles to help support you through parenting in this digital age. This website is updated regularly so is able to give you up-to-date advice.
We also have the handout from our last online safety meeting which contains many links to other websites to give you information for specific needs such as setting parent controls on devices.
We will continue to update this page with information to help support you and your children so come back often to see what new information there is. If you would like to talk to someone in school about an online safety issue then please talk either to your child’s class teacher or come to see myself, Mrs Hood (Hawks Class teacher and online safety lead teacher).
Parents’ guide for the use of a ‘What’s app’ school/class group
If you are unsure of the etiquette of being a part of a 'What's app' class group then have a look at our helpful guide underneath.
Thinking of getting a mobile phone for your child?
You may be considering purchasing a phone for your child in the not so distant future as they enter the later stages of Key Stage 2. We would recommend thinking about creating your own phone agreement with your child before letting them loose with the device. We have spoken with parents of older children and they overwhelmingly agree that they wished they had created an agreement at the start as there were lots of issues they had not contemplated.
All families are not the same and an agreement that suits one family in style will not suit another. For example, some are very blunt and to the point whereas others are more conversational in style. We have therefore had a look at a few available online and have put two of the links here for you to look at for yourselves.
This first one is from an awarding winning American website and is conversational in style. It does mention some elements that you, as their parent, may deem above their age and should therefore be edited out. We did still feel though that the majority of the contract was valid.
This second one is more precise and set out like a contract.
You should also consider contacting your mobile phone provider and asking for adult content filters to be switched on and ensure that parent controls are switched on for your wireless network at home. Children will always be able to get around filters so ensure you are clear about what they should not access and why in your agreement.
Please do not read this and think we are encouraging you to buy your child a phone now, that is a personal choice, but we just would like you to feel prepared when you do. We hope that you find this useful.
(We are not responsible for content of other websites and the links provided were correct at the time of writing.)
What's App is a messaging service app that is free to download. We have come to understand that some children in school are using this messaging service so feel we should explore what the pro's and con's are of using this app. ParentZone has an article on 'What's App' and you can read it in full by clicking the link here: What's app. Here is a summary of the article.
Firstly it is important to note that 'What's app' has a minimum age restriction of 16. 'What's app' allows you to send messages over wifi to anyone who is already in your contacts list. This sounds like a great thing as children are only contacting others who are already in the contacts list but unfortunately you can come into contact with strangers on messages if other friends add them to your group chat so they are in fact 'friends of friends'. Group chats mean that all members of the group can see each others posts in that chat and, if there is someone in the chat that your child has previously blocked, they will be able to make contact. You are able to leave group chat and children should be made aware how to do this.
You are also able to send photographs for free through this app and children need reminding that once they send a photograph they no longer have control of that image so they should think carefully before sharing. These photographs can be saved on the phone of anyone who receives it They can then distribute it in any way they wish as your child no longer owns the photograph.
As with any messaging service children should remember to keep their messages polite and to be aware of how their comments may be read.
Please see the full article to learn more about this app.
Safer Internet Day 2019
Safer Internet Day 2019 took place this week in school (week ending 8th February) with the theme ‘Together for a better internet'. The children throughout the school have been taking part in activities which help them take control of their digital lives and consider how consent works in an online context. It explores how young people ask for, give and receive consent online. This is from seeking help when a pop up appears on the screen to sharing a funny photograph of your friends or allowing an app to have access to your personal data. The children have explored this through videos, stories, debates and even drama.
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of schools and organisations join together to raise awareness of online safety issues and run events and activities right across the UK.
Find out more at www.saferinternetday.org.uk #SaferInternetDay2019
Keeping up with the children – Fortnite, a new game craze
Fortnite is a new game that the children are talking about and you may be wondering whether it is suitable for your child. In Battle Royale, 100 player’s battle against each other and the last one standing is the winner. The first thing to mention is this game is deemed not suitable for primary aged children and has a 12+ rating due to its violent nature. You should also be aware that users are encouraged to join up with others and these may well be complete strangers. Your child will also be able to take part in or just listen to others talking as they play the game and this dialogue may not be suitable for young ears. We continue to remind children not to share personal information about themselves online such as name, address, age and school. Please could you repeat these messages at home?
It is also important to know that although the game is free to play that it offers in-app purchases which can be costly.
When playing the game the children are unable to pause as they only have one life and the battle is continuous therefore they may find it hard to leave the game. Although the game can last for only 20 minutes (if you are the last one surviving the battle) it is competitive so children may wish to continue entering battles in order to improve their skills.
For further information about this game please click on the link below.
Online Advice – Movie Star Planet
For those who are not aware Movie Star planet is a popular game with 8-15 year olds although there is no minimum age limit for this game. It is an online game which also has a social networking aspect as users can converse with friends and also allows them make new friends in the ‘chat room’. The idea of the game is to customise your own movie star character and explore a virtual world based on a movie world. This game is often advertised during commercial breaks between children’s tv programmes hence it having a growing popularity. Movie Star Planet has trained human moderators and they also use technical moderation tools which search for rude words or inappropriate language being used on the site. Although these things are in place there are ways for users to get around these and we need to ensure that the children understand the importance of reporting anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. There is a yellow triangle available on the screen allowing users to report any bad behaviour to moderators immediately. Users can also use this yellow triangle to block users from contacting them. If your child is using this site please make sure they understand how to use this feature.
It has also come to our attention that children can search the web to get hold of a username and password to get them into the VIP area without paying and without parent permission. This area is mainly used by older children who are getting around having their bad language spotted by using replacement letters such as a c instead of an s. There have also been reports of inappropriate images being visible on the site through the chat rooms. Please talk to your child about why it is important to only use there username and password. We would also recommend asking them to only communicate with those friends they know in the real world and decline other communication. We will also be talking to the children in school and continuing with our online safety lessons such as keeping your personal information secret, what makes a real friend and how to communicate respectfully as well as how to deal with those who do not.
Our most important advice is to talk to your child about what they are doing online just as you would ask what they are doing at school. If your child is use to having open conversations about their online world then they will hopefully be happy to come and speak to you when things go wrong. Movie Star Planet helps children explore their creative side whilst allowing them to communicate with friends but as with all sites has its downside. When your child is online have them in a family space so that at any point someone is on hand if they do get into difficultly and it helps you be aware of the sites they are accessing. If your child is using this site why not access it with them and see for yourself whether it is suitable.
Below are some links to help you know more about Movie Star Planet: MovieStarPlanet has advice for parents at https://moviestarplanet.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/214480005-Parental-Information
Here is a link to the Terms and conditions for the site https://moviestarplanet.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/213892145-Terms-Conditions
Online Safety Advice
“The disturbing You Tube videos tricking children” – BBC Trending
An article appeared on the BBC news website this month highlighting the importance of checking what your children are accessing online. There have been videos made and uploaded onto You Tube that look like popular children’s cartoons but are in fact spoofs that containing disturbing and inappropriate content. You Tube recommend using the ‘You Tube Kids App’ which filters out most (but must be stressed not all) inappropriate content. They also recommend that you turn on ‘restricted mode’ which can be found at the bottom of the You Tube pages.
Unfortunately it is impossible to filter all content so we would recommend that children only access online content when in a family space so that what they are doing can be seen and /or overheard so you are able to quickly deal with any inappropriate content and talk to them about what they have seen. We stress the importance to children about talking to an adult about anything they have seen that has made them feel uncomfortable, ensuring they know that they will not be in trouble, as we do not want them hiding it and trying to deal with it on their own. March 2017
Looking for more advice for keeping your child safe online?
It can seem daunting when trying to think about how to keep your child safe online but help is out there. There are a number of websites which offer great advice. We would recommend looking at ‘Supporting Young People Online’ by Childnet as a good place to start. It is just a two-sided document and gives advice and top tips. It also has the SMART rules we teach children in school. The document is also available in several languages: Arabic, French, Polish, Somali, Turkish, Vietnamese, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, Welsh as well as English. You can find it at
Snapchat map update raises child safety worries
Although Snapchat is an app that is only supposed to be used by those who are 13+ we thought we should make you aware a new feature called Snap Map. An article was on the BBC website last week drawing parent’s awareness to the Snapchat app which allows photographs to be placed on a map to show where they were taken. This is a worry as it enables people to search for the whereabouts of ‘friends’ as well as being able to search for photographs and videos taken from inside a building such as a school. There is an opt out feature and we would encourage users to use it. It is claimed that you need to opt in to use this feature but many users have found this is not the case. For the full article please use the web address below which also shows you how to opt out of having your photographs on the Snap Map. July 2017
Online safety - Time to change your password?
When trying to come up with a safe and secure password there is a minefield of advice. It is difficult to decide on one that is not too easy for someone to work out but not too tricky that you are likely to get it wrong. Also how often a password should be changed? There has been an article on the BBC News website which a technology guru, Bill Burrs, has changed his mind on pass advice he gave for passwords. The advice now is to not change your password every 90 days as passwords become weaker every time a person changes them and to invest in a good password manager so that you can store passwords safely therefore having a strong password but not having to memorise it. To read the article in full follow this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40875534