The internet is an amazing tool which has revolutionised our lives and continues to provide new opportunities for everyone. As a school we want to encourage our children to use the internet for education, communication and entertainment. However, we also know that the internet is a largely unregulated space which can allow children to access inappropriate material. Also, as in any aspect of life, there are a minority of people who want to use the internet for their own benefit or to commit illegal acts.
We do not believe that the answer to this is to ban things as this will break the trust of our children and make any problems more difficult to discover. We want to provide children with the life skills they will need to deal with inappropriate or illegal activity online. Most importantly, we want our children to be able to talk to us as teachers and parents. If they fear that our reaction will be to take away their main form of communication with their friends or the game they are addicted to, then they will not tell us if something happens which worries them; this is when small problems can spiral out of control.
The first step on this journey is to be familiar with the apps and games your children are using. Our children (as young as Year 3) believe that they know more about the internet than we do and they are probably correct. The internet express has left the station with all our children on board and it is heading to places you might not have even heard of. We cannot change this. It isn't a 'virtual' world you can switch off; it is a vital and growing part of the real world. Your decision as a parent is: are you going to stand on the station and wave goodbye or are you going to jump aboard and take the journey with you children?
The aim of this page is to help parents to keep up to date with some of the apps and games which our children are using. We will try to highlight potential risks and possibly give suggestions where appropriate. We aim to regularly update the page so please check back every half term for updates.
In this section we will post updates about current issues. If you have information about something online which you think we should be talking about here then please let us know so we can investigate and share the information with other parents. By working together we can stay up to date.
This is a best selling console game which has also had a lot of negative publicity. It is not a racing or a cops and robbers game. It allows the player to act out scenarios as a criminal and gang member.
Suggestion: We are so concerned about the pornography, violence and language within this game that if a child of primary age was using it with their parents consent it would be a safeguarding issue which could be reported.
A very popular app with children, including those at WLPS. It allows children to record short videos lip syncing the words to music videos. If the app settings are not private then anyone in the world can view the video, copy the video and share the video. They can also message the child and may be able to use linked accounts or their user ID to find out more information. Going private will reduce the problem as long as they do not duet with someone who isn't private. Unfortunately, when they go private children are unable to receive the likes and fans from the community that they desire, removing the appeal of the app.
Suggestion: Use with private settings so only followers you approve can view your videos and check that anyone you do a duet with has the same settings.
Live.ly is an offshoot of musical.ly and allows children to live stream themselves across the internet. As it is live there is no possibility of reviewing and editing what you have said - any information you give is immediately broadcast. Children may feel safe with the live element, thinking that it will not stay on the internet but it is very easy for people to screen capture the videos. Viewers can post comments which may be dares. However, there is not a private setting and most worryingly people can gift money to users. If someone is offering to give money to a child on this site it is highly unlikely to be for positive reasons.
Suggestion: We do not see any reason for a child in primary school to be on this app and we feel it could place them in danger of approaches from inappropriate strangers.
We had an e-safety workshop day with 'The 2 Johns' in November 2016. They worked with children, staff & parents and had a huge impact on us all. The following links are for their website and their facebook page where they post updates about current trends for local children and potential threats.
Think you know is an information website for children, parents and teachers produced by CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection Agency). You will find resources here which might help you when speaking to your child about how to use the internet safely.
If you find something online which you believe you need to report to the police then you can do so on the CEOP website which can be accessed here.