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Safe Use of the Internet

This section has been produced to provide advice and guidance on the Internet and online safety for you as parents.  

The Internet, Intranet, e-mail, messaging systems and related technologies can be extremely valuable tools in an educational context, encouraging the development of communication skills, and transforming the learning process by opening up possibilities that, conventionally, would be impossible to achieve.  Creating a safe ICT learning environment includes three main elements at the academy:

  • An effective range of technological tools
  • Policies and procedures, with clear roles and responsibilities
  • Access to e-safety information for students, staff, parents/carers and other users
All computers at the academy have Internet access as it is a valuable research tool for students.  However, the academy ensures that unsuitable sites are blocked. 

The Internet has become part of our everyday lives and is now easier to access than ever before, but it can also have risks.  Children and young people are more at risk of exposure to inappropriate or criminal behaviour if they are unaware of the dangers.  These dangers can include: 
  • viewing unsuitable content e.g. hate material, adult content, sites that endorse unhealthy behaviour
  • giving out personal information
  • arranging to meet an online "friend" 
  • becoming involved in, or the victim of, bullying, identity theft, or making and sending indecent or illegal images 
  • spending too much time online which can affect concentration, education, sleep and health 
  • copying information from the Internet or buying work from other people to use as their own  
Using the Internet Safely at Home

There are various organisations that offer support and guidance on the safe use of the internet including the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, Microsoft the UK Safer Internet Centre (whose Safer Internet Day is on 6 February this year) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service's Think U Know site.  However, here are some helpful points for you to consider when advising your children on using the Internet: 
  • use websites recommended by teachers and use a student friendly search engine
  • only email people they know 
  • exercise caution before opening an email sent by someone they don't know 
  • only use Internet chat rooms, websites, instant messaging with care and caution and know how to block and report unwanted users 
  • never use their real name when using games or websites 
  • never give out any personal information about themselves, friends or family online including home address, phone or mobile number
  • never email their name of their school or a picture in school uniform (even to a friend) 
  • never arrange to meet anyone alone, and always tell an adult first and meet in a public place
  • only use a webcam with people they know 
  • tell an adult they trust immediately if they encounter anything they are unhappy with
  • report concerns to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP
  • never use websites that they could not tell you about
Get involved and learn as much as you can about the Internet yourself.  Surfing can be a family activity when you can use the Internet together and discuss any problems you encounter.  Keep the computer in a room where the whole family can use it and then you can keep an eye on the kind of material your children are looking at and make sure they go to the sites you want them to.   Get to know who your children are meeting online and make sure they are wary of strangers and never give out any information that would allow someone to contact them offline.

http://ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/

http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/