At Weald of Kent Grammar School we believe that online safety is an essential part of safeguarding in order to ensure that all learners and staff are protected from potential harm online. The internet and associated devices, such as computers, tablets, mobile phones and games consoles, are an important part of everyday life. We believe that learners should be empowered to build resilience and to develop strategies to manage and respond to risk online.
The advice and web links below are to help Parents and Students in their safe use of technology. Further information and guidance can be found in the schools Online Safety Policy. Parents or students who need further advice should contact their Head of Year, Student Services or a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
Advice for Parents
Discuss together as a family how the internet will be used in your house. Consider what information should be kept private (such as personal information, photos in school uniform etc.) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Ensure your children know the risks of accepting friends’ requests from strangers online and make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline. Make sure your child uses strong passwords to protect their online accounts. It is important they know they need to keep their passwords safe and not share them with anyone or use the same password for several accounts. Leading by example and not sharing your passwords with your children can be one way of showing this.
Consider locating your child’s computers and laptops in a family area but be aware that children access the internet on mobile phones, games consoles and tablets so use can’t always be supervised.
Be especially aware of settings rules relating to your child’s use of webcams and any applications or devices which allow voice or video chat. Childnet have useful information for young people about using webcams safely www.childnet.com/young-people/secondary/hot-topics/video-chat-and-webcams
Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact from unknown people. Research different parental control software and tools available for your home and select the tools which are most suitable to you, your child and the technology in your home. Visit www.internetmatters.org and www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/a-parents-guide for safety information and advice about parental controls on consoles and devices and how to report concerns.
Make sure you read any parental guidance and safety recommendations (including age requirements – most popular social networking sites and apps are only for users aged 13+) for any apps or websites before allowing your child to use them - visit www.net-aware.org.uk .
Always remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
Take an active interest in your child’s life online and talk openly with them about the things they do. Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.
To start a conversation with your child you could tell them that you understand that some young people share images and videos online and that you’re interested to know what they think about it and how they think they can keep themselves safe.
Dialogue – keep talking
Ensure that your child knows that once a picture, video or comment is sent or posted online, then it can be very difficult to remove as other people can forward it and share it with others, without them even knowing.
Always ensure your child knows how to report and block people online who may send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply to cyberbullying and to keep any evidence.
Make sure your child knows it’s important that they tell an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
Remember, the internet is an essential part of young people’s lives and provides them with tremendous opportunities. The vast majority use it without coming to any harm so it’s essential to be realistic: banning the internet or web sites often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.
Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that takes place using technology. This is increasingly prevalent as students use technology to communicate on a daily basis.
Talk to your child about cyberbullying and what it is. Make sure that they know who and how to report any form of bullying to, both at home and at school. Teach them how to block people on social media networking sites, report abuse online and places where they can get help. You will find the CEOP report abuse button at the top of this page where they can report online abuse.
Talk to your children about being a ‘bystander’ (both on and offline) and what to do if they see someone else being bullied.
Useful links for Parents and Carers
The following links are to help Parents and Carers understand and support students in their safe use of technology and deal with issues. If you find a link is broken please do not hesitate to contact us and we will update the link.
- Think U Know - Information from CEOP about online abuse and exploitation
- Internet Matters - Information from BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin
- Childnet - Information for parents and carers
- Family agreements and conversation starters
- Supporting Young People Online Leaflets
- Keeping under fives safe online Leaflets
- Music, TV, Film and the Internet Leaflets
- Parents resource sheet
- Screen time boundaries
- UK Safer Internet Centre parents advice
- The Parent Zone - guidance for parents and professionals working with families
- Parent Info - Excellent resource to include on school/setting websites
- O2 and NSPCC
- Talking to your child
- NSPCC Online Safety - NSPCC Online Safety advice
- Barnardo's Follow me
- Barnardo's Be Safe guide for parents and children about sexual exploitation
- Parents Protect - Lucy Faithfull Foundation
- Get Safe Online
- Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)
- Vodafone Digital Parenting
- EE Digital Living resources - for schools and parents and carers
- NWG and UK Safer Internet Centre leaflet: Online: Onguard - A Guide to Becoming a Safer Parent Online
- KSCB and Trading Standards Leaflet for Parents and Carers (PDF, 221.6 KB)August 2015
Review Sites and Social Media Guides
- Net Aware - NSPCC reviews of 50+ popular apps and games
- Internet Matters - Safe set up guides (includes popular social media sites)
- Common Sense Media - American site which reviews websites, games etc with age suitability
- UK Safer Internet Centre
- Think U Know
- UK Safer Internet Centre: Parents guide to new technology
- UK Safer Internet Centre: Parents guide to parental controls
- Internet Matters - Safe set up guides for devices and social media apps
- NSPCC Parental Controls
- Yahoo Safety Tips
- Google Safety Center - includes family safety
- How Computers Work
- NetLingo - common online acronyms and text speak e.g. LOL, POS
- Staying safe online: parental controls on broadband
Digital Parenting Magazines - Vodafone/Parent Zone
Gaming and online video content
- Ask About Games - advice on computer gaming and parental controls
- Pegi - information about games rating
- Safer Internet Centre Gaming Resources
- NSPCC Online Games
- Parents Guide to Games
- Internet Matters - safe set up guides for gaming devices
Links for Foster Carers and Adoptive parents
- Think U Know: Specific Risks
- Think U Know: Placement Plans
- Safer Internet Centre: Advice for foster carers and adoptive parents
Parent Info is a free website and newsfeed for parents and carers. Its newsfeed function enables schools and family-focused organisations to host and share expert advice and information through their own websites.
Parent Info aims to raise parents’ confidence in digital parenting skills and help them to make informed decisions about addressing the risks their children face. To date, Parent Info has commissioned content from over 40 organisations specialising in topics such as sex, relationships, online safety, body image, peer pressure, radicalisation, extremism and mental health.
Parent Info is a collaboration between the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command and Parent Zone, the leading provider of information, training and support, making the internet work for families.
Sign up is easy, visit www.parentinfo.org and click on ‘Register’.