E-safety for our pupils is taken seriously here. E-safety education covers a wide range of issues from : inappropriate content to cyberbullying, grooming, identity theft, validity and bias.
Our ICT curriculum teaches children how to be safe online. The most effective way to keep children safe online is for them to have someone they trust, who they can talk to if something goes wrong. Education and empowerment are much more powerful tools than blocking, banning and intrusive monitoring- but these skills develop over time and should improve with maturity. The younger a child is, the more the need for close supervision of online activity.
As part of our education, we use many of the ideas on www.thinkuknow.co.uk and use the lesson ideas from the SWGFL Digital Literacy and Citizenship programme.
The most effective strategies we use are about educating children about the power and reach of the internet – giving them ‘digital literacy’ and helping them to understand about the immortality of information online. Our policy is not simply blocking and banning children from the internet. Blocking worked a few years ago, but now many young people have mobile devices which allow them to access the internet wherever and whenever they want to and they need to know how to protect themselves when things go wrong.
Of course there is a place for some blocking – as parents you’ll be confident and comfortable in doing this for the offline aspects of children’s lives, and should also feel confident to do this with the online aspects too. It is clearly inappropriate for children to access adult content/pornography and parents can take steps to block this. More information can be found at www.internetmatters.org