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E-Safety Guidance

Internet Safety Guidance for Parents

E-Safety remains at the core of all computer usage in Omagh Academy. Pupils are taught ‘Internet Safety’ skills in ICT at Key Stage 3 with a focus on promoting positive ‘Digital Citizenship’. This includes advice on staying safe on popular apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok. This theme is further developed in the senior school.

 

Online spaces form a large part of young people’s lives and can be highly beneficial and educational. However, the associated risks are well documented: exposure to inappropriate content, oversharing of personal information, connecting with harmful people and spending excessive amounts of time online. It is therefore important that parents keep up to date with current developments in social media, are equipped to advise on the use of these apps and can implement appropriate privacy settings. This will enable you to protect your children and safeguard their digital reputation. Children need parental supervision, so their experiences online are happy, healthy and productive.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

  • Spend time with your children when they are online to become familiar with the apps they use. A recent survey in school identified Snapchat as the app most used by our pupils. This app includes a ‘Snap Map’ functionality which has been worryingly described as ‘Snapchat’s stalky map feature’ and which displays the child’s location on a map that can be viewed by his or her Snapchat “friends”. TikTok is also increasing in popularity with many users. This is a free social media app that lets users watch, create, and share videos, often to a soundtrack of the top hits in music, using their phone. While much of TikTok is harmless fun, there are some concerns about children using the app. We would recommend the use of privacy settings to limit how much information your children share. As videos can be posted immediately without first reviewing or editing them, children can upload impulsively. Other issues relate to reports of predators using the app to target younger users and the fact that software issues could have allowed the company to collect user data.

  • Learn how to use the apps that your children enjoy – if necessary, ask your child to explain the functionality to you and try it out yourself, so you are familiar with it and understand the potential benefits and risks associated with Internet access.

  • Find out what safeguards or privacy settings you can put in place on your computer to protect your children.

  • Be vigilant about your children’s use of mobile and other devices when not in a communal living space. For example, if they have internet access via a smartphone or smart TV overnight in their bedroom. Our survey revealed that most pupils are online 3 to 5 hours a day and some for more than 6 hours. The time spent online increases even more at weekends.

  • In addition, many pupils admit to using a mobile device late at night and some pupils continue to use gaming software late into the night.

  • Get to know your children’s online friends just as you do their other friends.

  • If you are concerned about your child’s online activities, talk to him/her about it.

  • Develop an agreed set of rules for internet use and ensure they are followed. For example, always keep to the agreed times of day to be online, the length of time to be online and the areas that your child can visit.

  • Be approachable as you are in other areas, so that your child feels able to share any concerns he or she may have at any time. For example, advise your child never to respond to emails, chat messages or social networking messages that are suggestive, obscene, or threatening in any way.

  • A simple rule of thumb is that if a young person receives any message that makes him or her feel uncomfortable, they should inform you immediately and block the offender without deleting any evidence.

Useful Links

 

The first link contains a guidance leaflet which addresses Apps, Instant Messaging, Gaming, Bullying and Live Streaming. Additional links are included within this website.

 

Online Safety Guide for Parents      

 

Parents' guide to Snapchat

 

Parents Guide to TikTok

 

Parents' guide to Facebook

 

Parents' guide to Cyber Security