We are all aware of how much the digital world has and continues to move forward, as well as the benefits it can bring – to both adults and children.
But it is important to remember that it, and other uses of it, can bring problems too. Whether that is cyber-bullying, grooming, fake news, identity theft or radicalisation.
We encourage all our parents and carers to have conversations with their children, and all our students to have conversations with their parents and carers, about how they can stay safe and show their kind, caring sides online as well as in real life.
Below we have covered some common things that parents, carers and students may not always be aware of – as well as a great source of information to help with the conversations we hope you’ll have.
Staying Safe, Staying Legal
Did you know there are age restrictions for different apps and social media? Internetmatters.org have a page where you can check the minimum age for users of a range of popular apps and websites.
Always ensure you have appropriate privacy settings in place, so students can only be contacted by or share information with approved friends. Again, Internetmatters.org have pages dedicated to showing you what you can do and helping you get your settings right.
Check that your child knows how to report offensive comments or block people who upset them. Talk to them about behaviours and comments that are inappropriate and unacceptable, social media can provide an anonymous platform to voice or share things people wouldn’t normally in face-to-face situations.
Consent should always be sought before sharing photos or videos of others, and we encourage parents and carers to set this example by asking their children before sharing photos of them. Always try to make sure photos and videos don’t reveal too many details, such as the school uniform logo of the school they attend or places they may visit regularly but be more vulnerable at.
It’s Good to talk
It really is important that parents and carers are comfortable talking about their use of social media and checking that they are staying safe.
Again parents and carers can model to students how to consider others with their behaviour online, and how they could deal with problem situations. How can they be a good friend online?
Always remember the importance of not accepting or befriending people you haven’t met before.
If you’re not sure, help is always at hand. As well as the range of topics covered and support offered by Internet Matters, the government have produced a guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media, which you can access by clicking here.