Online Safety Statement
At Henwick, we want staff, children, parents and carers to create a school community that embraces the use of different technologies to enhance learning and thinking, as well as teach all of our children how to be safe and responsible digital citizens, who make informed decisions about their actions online . We believe that the internet is a great resource and tool.
At home, many children also use computers and mobile devices to play games, learn and explore. Make talking about what they’re up to online, a normal part of everyday life rather than something that only happens when there’s a problem or issue. We believe regular, open conversations between parents, carers and children about using the internet is ultimately the best way to keep children safe online.
While there are huge benefits to being online, it is important to be aware that any time children use the Internet, they do face some potential risks, such accessing inappropriate or harmful content, harmful interactions with other users, oversharing their own personal information, grooming and sexual abuse, online bullying, gambling and manipulation by online organisations and radicalisation. We believe understanding what your child is doing online helps keep them safe online.
There are some websites and games that have age restrictions and checks on them to make sure that children don't see unsuitable content. The same goes for social media networks. It is our expectation that children at Henwick Primary do not have their own social media accounts. This is because children must be at least 13 to register on most social networking websites. However, the reality is there's not a lot standing in the way of children joining at a younger age so it is vital as parents and carers that you really take an interest in your child’s online behaviour and have a good overview of how they use their computer or mobile device to ensure they are only accessing content that is appropriate for their age. We believe age restrictions are there for a good reason.
In this day and age, online safety has to be more than a reminder not to speak to strangers online. As children begin to navigate the internet and use it in different ways as they grow older, their own personal conduct online is also an area where they need guidance. We believe it is important to teach children both about the technological and social and emotional aspects of being safe and successful online.
We also take part in UK Safer Internet Day and look for other opportunities to engage the whole school community with online safety like when years 4 and 5 took part in a drama workshop about online safety which they then performed to the rest of the school and parents.
Online Safety Curriculum
We teach online safety throughout the year. All the computing units have aspects of online safety and digital citizenship embedded within them. This means that even if a unit of work might not seem to be explicitly about online safety, it will still teach children about elements of it. For example, in the year 4 computing unit We are musicians, children will need to think about copyright when sourcing audio or publishing their own work.
In addition to this, each year group also starts the beginning of each half term with a standalone discrete online safety lesson. Each half term the lessons centre around a key theme.
This allows children to continually consider how to keep themselves safe online, understand what the risks are, whilst also strengthening their own resilience to manage an ever-changing online environment.
We have a team of eCadets at Henwick, which are is a group of children from various year groups who teach the rest of the children throughout the school how to stay safe online.
The eCadets receive training and then pass this on to others in the form of assemblies or lessons. They also set challenges for children based on what they have taught, send updates to parents and organise competitions to get children and parents talking together about online safety.
The eCadets taught children what a digital footprint is and how to use the history function on their browser. Children across the school then made their own digital footprints.
Useful Internet Safety Links
Below are some links that you might find helpful in terms of keeping your child safe online:
TES article – this is a very hard-hitting article, but one that we feel every parent and carer should read. The article has been written by a reporter who spent three days shadowing two Met Police units charged with tackling online sex crimes against children. It will give you a stark insight into the harrowing experiences that officers face every day in the fight to bring offenders to justice. It is likely to shock you, but the police desperately need parents and teachers to understand the reality of risks young children face on social media.
O2 NSPPC Netaware – your guide to the social networks your children might want to use and their age restrictions and risks.
Think U Know – advice on protecting your child from abuse online and also ways to report it.
NSPCC – how to start the conversation with your child about staying safe online.
UK Safer Internet Centre – advice about tightening up parental controls on your home Internet provider.