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Barley Croft Primary School

Staying safe online

Dear Families,

We know that keeping children safe online is of vital importance to yourself as much as it is to us as a school. Digital technologies have become integral to the lives of us all and especially to children, both within and outside school. All children are entitled to be safe whenever they access the internet and at Barley Croft Primary School we take active steps to embed online safety in our curriculum and children’s learning. We also want to help parents and carers improve their own understanding of online safety, so that they can support their children to use the Internet and digital media in a safe and responsible way.

 

With that in mind we are going to be sending out each Wednesday, via ParentMail, a weekly online safety newsletter called #WakeUpWednesday which will give you specific information about what to look out for when using a particular aspect of digital technology and how to support children to be safe when using it themselves.

 

26/01/2023 - In the last couple of decades, the volume of online traffic has increased exponentially – but, by and large, people’s awareness of the accompanying risks hasn’t grown along with it. To illustrate the scale of the issue, consider this: a report by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre found that, in the US during 2020, there was a successful cyber-attack every second. Yes: every second.

Criminals continue to find new and devious ways to attempt to hijack our online transactions and harvest our private information. To them, the smart devices that many of us now use as standard at home are simply a convenient back door into our lives – and our networks. Check out our #WakeUpWednesday guide for advice on beefing up your household’s cyber resilience. In the guide you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as how to use a password manager, how to back up your data and how to check for breaches.

 

19/01/2023 - Twitter is a social media network which allows users to post short messages (‘tweets’) of up to 280 characters. Tweets can consist of text, photos, videos, audio, links, polls and GIFs – often linked by hashtags if they share a common theme or message. Hashtags receiving high levels of interest are said to be ‘trending’. Twitter users can engage with other people’s posts by liking, retweeting (sharing) or tweeting back (commenting on). Since the entrepreneur Elon Musk acquired Twitter in 2022 for $44 billion, the platform has undergone several major changes. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as trolls and bullying, fixation on view count and interaction with strangers.

 

11/01/2023 - World of Warcraft originally launched way back in 2004, and since then the game has blossomed into a major entertainment property. It’s spawned spin-off novels, merchandise and even a Hollywood movie adaptation … but why are we still talking about it in 2023? World of Warcraft’s most recent iteration, Dragonflight, launched last November and marks the game’s ninth major expansion. This latest addition has attracted a whole host of lapsed players back to the game – as well as newcomers jumping into the realm of Azeroth for the first time. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as the potential for online addiction, in-game purchases and simulated violence.

 

16/12/2022 - Millions of new phones, tablets, laptops and games consoles will be nestling under Christmas trees this year. However, even if parents and carers have gone to the trouble of setting up these new devices and enabling the safety features, there are still potential hazards in the apps, games and software that children will want to install and use. Knowing what to look for and discussing those risks with your child may help avoid any nasty surprises this Christmas. Here are our top tips for ensuring that unwrapping this year’s presents doesn’t unleash any unexpected dangers. In the guide, you'll find tips such as disabling in-app purchasing, take note of age ratings and watching out for imitators.

 

01/12/2022 - TikTok is a free social media platform that lets users create, share and watch short videos ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in duration. The app gained notoriety for its viral dances, trends and celebrity cameos and can be a creative, fun platform for teens to enjoy. Now available in 75 languages, it has more than a billion active users worldwide (as of spring 2022) and is most popular with the under-16 age bracket. In fact, a 2022 Ofcom report found TikTok to be the most-used social media platform for posting content, particularly among young people aged 12 to 17.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate content, dangerous challenges and contact with strangers.

 

23/11/2022 - The Call of Duty (CoD) series is a worldwide gaming phenomenon, with millions of copies sold every year. While 2021’s release, Vanguard, wasn’t quite as well received, this latest entry – Modern Warfare II – is proving to be hugely popular. A sequel to the recent Modern Warfare reboot (and not to be confused with the original Modern Warfare 2, from back in 2009), the game is an online shooter which features – unsurprisingly – extreme violence, rendered in realistic graphics. Amid the explosions and potential political nature of the plot, there’s much for parents to be aware of. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as offensive chat/messaging, in-game purchases and addiction.

 

16/11/2022 - This week , across the country, we are thinking about Anti-Bullying Week. Helping the children to understand what bullying is and is not, and supporting them to ‘Reach Out’ which is the theme of Anti-bullying week this year.

Attached is a guide on how to deal with online / cyber bullying that often occurs outside of school. Defined as “ongoing hurtful behaviour towards someone online”, cyber-bullying makes its victims feel upset, uncomfortable and unsafe. In the digital world, it has numerous forms – such as hurtful comments on a person’s posts or profile; deliberately leaving them out of group chats; sharing embarrassing images or videos of someone; or spreading gossip about them. Cyber-bullying can severely impact a young person’s mental health … so, in support of Anti-Bullying Week, we’ve provided a list of tips to help trusted adults know what to look for and how to respond to it.

In the guide, you'll find tips such as playing online games with your child, talking about your child’s online life and being prepared to listen without showing any judgement or criticism.

 

02/11/2022 - Amigo is a social platform which purports to connect strangers from around the world – and, with built-in translation software, it reduces the expected language barriers. Focusing heavily on one-to-one chat, video calls and live streams, Amigo encourages its users to build up online relationships to unlock exclusive features such as private video and audio calls: essentially, the more that people chat, the more features become available to them. This is an app designed with mature users very much in mind and is therefore definitely not recommended for children.

 

12/10/2022- BeReal is the latest trending social media app. The concept is that people see others in their authentic day-to-day lives, sharing candid photos without editing or applying filters. Each day at a random time, users are simultaneously notified to take a photo of what they’re doing at that exact moment. The two-minute window to submit an image means there’s no time to select a particularly glamorous or exciting activity. BeReal shares two pictures: a selfie, and an image of the immediate surroundings. Users can only view and react to their friends’ photos once they upload their own.

 

29/09/2022 - Right now, humans aren’t living sustainably: we’re taking too many resources and not leaving the world in a fit state for future generations. Old tech products are a clear example: if we throw them away, the poisonous lead and mercury inside can get into the food chain through the soil. Recycling tech, though, has its own issues: it’s often exported to countries where the law doesn’t protect people from hazards. Whole villages (including children) sort through discarded devices to remove useful parts and substances like gold, silver and copper – often putting their health at risk. Finding ways to re-use tech is the greenest option.

 

21/09/22 - Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion users worldwide. The platform allows users to upload images and videos to their feed, create interactive ‘stories’, share live videos, exchange private messages or search, explore and follow other accounts they like – whilst at the same time continuously updating and adding new features to meet the needs of its users.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, unrealistic ideals and the influencer culture.

 

16/09/22 - Google Chromebooks were first introduced in 2011 as a budget-friendly alternative to Windows laptops. They have a cloud-based desktop operating system created by Google that performs internet-based tasks simply and quickly. Although primarily optimised for Google apps – such as Gmail and Google Drive – newer devices also support Android apps and offer a range of parental controls via the Google Family Link tool. Nonetheless, whilst these tools are comprehensive, there are some limitations which means there are a number of risks trusted adults should be aware of.

 

07/09/22 - Roblox is one of the most popular video games on the market. By 2020, the game’s makers were claiming that more than half of children in the USA play it. As a ‘sandbox’ title, Roblox offers a huge amount of creative freedom: it lets players create their own gaming experiences with the Roblox Studio to build custom levels and games, which can then be shared with other players online. Roblox fosters creative thinking and enjoys a robust online community of fans. In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online daters, in-app purchases and contact with strangers.

Online Safety Advice for Parents from NSPCC

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/#

15/06/2022 - Twitch is a livestreaming service which tends to focus on gaming. Users can publicly broadcast their gameplay and commentary online for other users to watch. It's a community-driven platform where viewers can support their favourite streamers’ channels through PayPal donations, "Bits" and more. Each streamer or group creates their own community for fans to interact with each other. Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users and includes non-gaming topics such as music, cooking and art. Anyone can create a channel to livestream or watch videos.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as inappropriate content, private chat rooms and strangers.

 

08/06/2022 - This week’s online safety guide is about the Metaverse.

‘Metaverse’ is a relatively new term to many, however the concept has been around for some time. Videogames, for example, use many aspects of the metaverse; avatars, digital currency, mini-games, and open communication. A metaverse can also take many forms; Fortnite can be seen as a metaverse, as is Roblox. Put simply, a metaverse is an online environment where people interact, play games and express themselves. Away from traditional videogames, there are newer and more ‘dedicated’ metaverses such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and Somnium Space which are akin to Second Life.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as anonymity, psychological impact and unsafe areas.

 

20/05/2022 - This week our Online Safety guide focuses on -  10 top tips for respect online: a digital world for everyone.

Our ability to communicate to communicate with anyone in the world, at any time, via the internet has grown at breakneck speed. For teachers and parents, it can feel impossible to keep up. Worrying about our young people is understandable, and not unjustified: in 2020, for example, one in five 10- to 15-year-olds experienced bullying online. Our tips highlight ways that adults can support young people’s positive online behaviours: by adopting and following ‘netiquette’, we can show them how to avoid getting into difficulty as they learn to negotiate the continually evolving digital landscape.

In the guide, you'll find a number of tips such as protecting yourself, replying wisely and being forgiving.

 

13/05/2022 - This week’s Online Safety guide -  What parents need to know about…YouTube Kids

 

Wednesday 4th May 2022 - This week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide is all about…What’s App

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, strangers and location sharing.

 

Wednesday 27th April 2022

What Parents Need to Know about Group Chats

A free online safety guide on group chats.

 

Occurring through messaging apps, on social media and in online games, group chats are among the most popular ways that young people engage with their peers online. Involving, by definition, three or more individuals, these groups allow users to send messages, images and videos to everyone in one place. While they are useful for helping friends, people with shared interests or members of a club to communicate and coordinate activities, they can also leave young people feeling excluded and bullied – as well as providing opportunities for inappropriate content to be shared and viewed.

 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as bullying, inappropriate content and unknown members.

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