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E-Safety Guidance

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

It is important that parents keep up to date with current developments in social media, are equipped to advise on the use of these apps and are able to implement appropriate privacy settings. This will enable you to protect your children and safeguard their digital reputation. Children need parental supervision in order that their experiences on-line are happy, healthy and productive.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

  • Spend time with your children when they are on-line so as to become familiar with the apps they use. In a recent survey in school Snapchat was identified as the most commonly used app. The recent addition to this app is Snap Map which has been worryingly described as ‘Snapchat’s new stalky map feature’ and which displays the child’s location on a map that can be viewed by his or her Snapchat “friends”.

  • 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 that 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 devices when not in a communal living space. For example, if they have internet access via a smartphone overnight in their bedroom. Our survey revealed that the majority of pupils are on-line for 2 to 3 hours a day and some for more than 6 hours, even on week days.

  • 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 on-line friends just as you do their other friends.

  • If you are concerned about your child’s on-line 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 on-line, the length of time to be on-line and the areas that your child can visit.

  • Be approachable as you are in other areas, so that your child feels able to approach you about 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.