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).
You may have become aware of #momo challenge on media sites and newspapers. We think it is important to be aware about what it is and what support you can offer your child. Our main message is that the children will not be in trouble if they have seen it and to tell an adult so that they can support them.
Here is the briefing from Parent Zone:
Three-Minute Briefing: The Momo Challenge
While scrolling through the news or social media, you may have glanced an image depicting a stretched, disfigured face with bulging eyes and large smile, attached to a bird’s body. This freakish creature has become the mascot for an obscure urban myth called the Momo Challenge, a game which allegedly encourages children to perform acts of self-harm.
There is currently a lot of misleading information swirling around the web about the challenge and it can be difficult to separate fact from myth. In this article we answer some of the questions you may have about the Momo Challenge.
What is the Momo Challenge?
The Momo Challenge is a game played over WhatsApp where participants contact the character Momo and are then told to do a series of challenges, with the final challenge allegedly being suicide.
It should be noted that the Momo character is actually a prop called ‘Mother Bird’ made by the Japanese special effects company Link Factory and the creators have distanced themselves from the game.
How do children get to know about it?
Despite people having to use WhatsApp to partake in the challenge, that is not necessarily how most people find out about it. Many prominent YouTubers create videos of themselves trying to reach out to Momo which get many views through, for example, sharing on social media.
Why would children be drawn to it?
Children who see their favourite YouTuber doing the challenge might be drawn to trying it themselves in order to follow their example. It should be noted that a lot of the people making videos about this are capitalising on the mysticism surrounding the challenge and might be deliberately trying to blow it out of proportion to add drama.
Do I need to worry about it?
Recently, the Momo Challenge has been covered extensively in the news and the disfigured avatar has been popping up all over the internet. A lot of what is reported in the tabloids may be adding to the hysteria as there’s currently not much evidence of the game itself harming children.
The tabloids claim that the phenomenon has reached the UK and report that a lot of children have told their parents that they’ve become afraid of the dark after seeing the upsetting face or that they’ve been told to harm themselves by Momo. Whether they have actually played the game, been told about it by friends at school — or simply seen the face on the internet — is unclear.
There have been media reports of hackers ‘inserting’ Momo into Fortnite and YouTube videos but we haven’t been able to find any evidence that supports this. Epic Games has so far not replied to Parent Zone’s enquiry.
Although a lot of the information about the Momo Challenge is rather concerning, the number of reported cases of children harming themselves because of the game is extremely low. The challenge has alleged ties to three cases of teens killing themselves in Asia and South America, but there is no proof that it was the direct cause.
Also, there isn’t just one Momo WhatsApp user out there causing trouble — there are multiple accounts out there claiming to be Momo. The first recorded Momo profile came from Japan, but several have since been popping up all across the world. This could mean that there are a number of people out there taking advantage of the situation to get attention.
How do I keep children safe from it?
Although the Momo Challenge seems to be a cruel hoax it’s nevertheless important that you talk to your child about it. It’s not hard to track down a Momo number and if your child were to do a simple Google search, they would most likely find it.
It’s important that you talk to your child about the risks of contacting strangers through social media and instant messaging apps. It could be useful to show them how to enable privacy settings and disable location sharing so that they don’t fall victims to scams.
Ensure your child knows that they can speak to you or another trusted adult if they do come across anything online that upsets, scares or worries them. Although you may feel angry with your child for looking up the challenge in the first place, it’s important to stay calm and be understanding so that they don’t withhold any future unpleasant online experiences from you.
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