Today (February 7) is Safer Internet Day.
Here at Urmston Grammar our students’ safety, both online and in the real world, is paramount.
The internet is a wonderful tool with infinite possibilities and opportunities, if we learn to use it with care and consideration.
It is an exercise in futility to wish youngsters did not have to grow up in the sometimes unforgiving and unforgetting digital world we now live in.
What we should be doing is giving them the tools to negotiate the world as it is today and will be in the future.
The keyboards and screens, as well as that future, are in their hands. It is up to them – with our guidance – to shape it.
The Safer Internet Centre – a partnership of Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation – seeks to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better online community.
The theme for this year’s Safer Internet Day is ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’.
Image and video sharing are powerful tools of communication and self-expression but there can be negative consequences.
From concerns about unrealistic body expectations, the legal and emotional repercussions of sexting to plain old-fashioned bullying and stranger danger brought in the 21st century, we need to ensure young people have the confidence and resilience to use images and videos safely, creatively and kindly.
We encourage our students to make the internet a great place for all; to think carefully about the impact on others and themselves before sharing something online. It could be there forever, be misinterpreted, reveal personal information, or even be untrue
Urmston Grammar has a clear policy on the use of mobile phones and other devices with internet capabilities.
It is strictly forbidden to take another student or member of staff’s picture without their consent and any bullying or intimidation via social media will be dealt with swiftly.
Please review the policy and discuss it with your child. The two most important things a parent or carer can do is educate themselves and talk about internet safety as a family.
Our top tips for good internet practice are:
- Keep use of internet connected devices out of bedrooms where possible.
- Use parental controls – there are many programmes available which allow you to keep an eye on the sites your children visit, how long they are online for etc.
- Go online together – explore, research, play games, do homework. You can lead by example and learn from them as well.
- Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.
- Good password practice – use different passwords for each account, don’t write them down, never tell anyone.
- Respect other people’s privacy – and use privacy settings on your own social media
- Encourage youngsters to report anything offensive, upsetting or inappropriate online to a trusted adult, particularly if someone they only know online asks to meet up offline.
Visit www.saferinternet.org.uk for more information and practical tools to stay safe online.