E-Safety is concerned with the safeguarding of young people in the "digital" world and ensuring they feel safe when accessing new technology.
The Internet, whether accessed from a computer, mobile phone or other device, has become part of modern family life. It is used to buy and sell goods, online banking, finding information and socialising. It can also have a darker side with cybercrime, inappropriate material and illegal activity taking place online, effecting both adults and children. E-Safety is concerned with the safeguarding of young people in the "digital" world and ensuring they feel safe when accessing new technology.
Technology offers immensely exciting benefits and opportunities for everyone but it can also expose children and adults to inappropriate and criminal behaviour if they are unaware of the dangers, such as:
- Copying information from the Internet or buying work from other people to use as their own
- Not considering the reliability of material online is it accurate and reliable?
- Viewing pages or content which may be unsuitable such as hate material, adult content, sites that promote unhealthy behaviour or attitudes etc
- Giving out too much personal information to people or websites online, e.g. name, school, contact information
- Becoming involved in or being the victim of bullying, identity theft, or making and sending indecent or even illegal images
- Arranging to meet an online 'friend' or sharing content without thinking about consequences and dangers.
Talk to your child and ask them to show you, or even teach you, how they use the internet and the computer, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why.
- Make sure you know what your children are doing online much like you would in "real" life such as what sites they visit and who they talk to? Ensure they know not to share personal information that could identify them in the offline world with anyone online.
- Be clear about not sharing information online such as names, schools, phone numbers, email addresses, photos of themselves, with ANY online friends. Have clear rules about making and meeting with online friends safely.
- Talk to your child about the risks of downloading files from unknown or potentially illegal sources (such as peer to peer and file sharing sites like Limewire etc) or copying information from sites.
- Use child or family friendly search engine such as the CBBC Safe Search with younger children and bookmark favourite sites for your children to use.
- Wherever possible, locate your computer in a family area and supervise younger children. Always supervise the use of webcams in your home.
- Filter unsuitable sites so that they cannot be seen or used by your children.
- Be aware that some devices, such as Mobile Phones and handheld Games Consoles, are also able to access the internet and bypass filtering. Consider putting parental controls in place either by contacting your mobile phone provider or from the console/device's settings directly to restrict content and access.
- Always ensure your child knows how to block or report another user who may be sending nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Make sure you child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable. If your child receives any abusive messages keep them for evidence purposes to show to the school or police.
- Work with your child's school, they may have spoken to your child about online safety but you can help by repeating the message at home.
- Be realistic - banning the internet will not work - children use computers and games consoles at friends' houses and at school so education around its safe use is essential.
In the home
Children spend lots of time using the Internet at school, at friends' houses, on a mobile phone, via a games console or at home. They might visit social networking sites like Bebo, Myspace and Facebook, use instant messaging such as MSN or Yahoo messenger, to chat to friends or play on online gaming sites like Club Penguin, Runescape and mini-clip. These are often blocked on school computers, but are very popular with children.