Online Safety at Mereworth
If you have an Online Safety concern, please contact Miss Amanda Lavelle (Designated Safeguarding Lead), Miss Kate Maryon (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead), or Mrs Alice Pearson (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead).
At Mereworth we welcome and encourage the use of new technologies and aim to use them, when they are appropriate, to support children enhancing their work. We recognise our responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risks of harm to children’s welfare are minimised; and, where there are concerns about young people’s welfare, to take appropriate actions to address those concerns.
Our work regarding online safety with children is supported through the Computing and PSHE curriculums. The knowledge and skills children need to remain safe online are taught throughout the year and to all year groups in an age appropriate way.
Social Media Commitment
Parents, staff and governors from the school were all involved in the development of our Mereworth Primary School Social Media Commitment:
All staff and governors at Mereworth Primary School would never use any form of social media to discuss our pupils or their parents.
We ask all of our parents and carers to support us in educating children early in the importance of using social media responsibly and taking care of their digital footprint. Adults should role model appropriate online behaviours by not using social media to negatively discuss or share images of any of our pupils, other parents or teachers. Doing so has implications for people’s privacy and personal lives and also has potential to constitute a safeguarding risk.
We would ask that if you ever have any concerns, please address these directly with the school.
The internet is a fantastic resource which allows children connect, communicate and be creative in many different ways. However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge. Many parents feel that their child has better technical skills than they do. Children still need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online.
Below are some online resources to support with talking about issues relating to online safety at home:
Follow this link for updated advice about a range of APPS. The following links offer further guidance on specific websites, apps, and games:
- Parent Toolkit: Online Issues – PREVENT
Childnet has grouped potential online risks into the following 4 categories:
Children need to be aware of the impact that their online activity can have on both themselves and other people, and the digital footprint that they create on the internet. It’s easy to feel anonymous online and it’s important that children are aware of who is able to view, and potentially share, the information that they may have posted. When using the internet, it’s important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. Encourage your child to be respectful and responsible when communicating with others online, and to consider how what they share may reflect on them.
Some online content is not suitable for children and may be hurtful or harmful. This is true for content accessed and viewed via social networks, online games, blogs and websites. It’s important for children to consider the reliability of online material and be aware that it might not be true or written with a bias. Children may need your help as they begin to assess content in this way. There can be legal consequences for using or downloading copyrighted content, without seeking the author’s permission.
It is important for children to realise that new friends made online may not be who they say they are and that once a friend is added to an online account, you may be sharing your personal information with them. Regularly reviewing friends lists and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step. Privacy settings online may also allow you to customise the information that each friend is able to access. If you have concerns that your child is, or has been, the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person, it’s vital that you report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (www.ceop.police.uk). This can be done through the link above. If your child is bullied online, this can also be reported online and offline. Reinforce with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online.
Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online, for example within apps. Encourage your child to keep their personal information private, learn how to block both pop ups and spam emails, turn off in-app purchasing on devices where possible, and use a family email address when filling in online forms. Make your child aware of scams that may seek to gain access to their accounts, and advise them to be wary in following links or opening attachments in emails that appear to be from organisations such as banks and service providers.