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.
12/07/2023 - We wish you a happy and safe summer holidays . Please see attached a free online safety guide on 'How to Stay Safe Online this Summer'.
With the school summer holidays only a matter of days away, many parents and carers will already be planning outings and activities to keep their young ones entertained. In between those special summer moments, though, there are also likely to be occasions when children happily invest a whole afternoon in Among Us or spend most of their Monday on Minecraft.
As young people’s screen time almost inevitably increases over the holidays, parents like to feel confident that their child will stay safe while they’re exploring the digital world. So we’ve produced a #WakeUpWednesday poster with some simple solutions to help children avoid frequent online pitfalls and enjoy a more positive experience when they go online this summer.
28/06/2023 - A free online safety guide on Safe and Healthy Online Habits.
From inappropriate content to the toxic behaviour of others, online harms can do long-lasting damage. That’s why we’re passionate about helping this new generation to build their digital resilience – equipping them to deal with digital dangers. This week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide has a selection of tips for encouraging safe and healthy online habits.
In this guide we’ve compiled a list of useful suggestions which could help you and your family strike the right balance and build digital resilience.
21/06/2023 - Artificial intelligence is probably the hot topic in technology circles right now, with questions being raised worldwide about how AI might conceivably affect the very future of the human race. In the short term, however – definitely as far as its impact on young people is concerned – the clearest risk is almost certainly the AI-powered ‘virtual friends’ which are springing up all over the internet.
There’s Replika and Kuki, for instance, while Snapchat has recently got in on the act with My AI – and search engines like Bing and Google have developed their own versions. Are these machine intelligences suitable online companions for young people? What are their limitations and weak spots? Our #WakeUpWednesday guide profiles the emergence of AI ‘virtual friends’.
14/06/2023 - This week’s online safety newsletter profiles money muling, and highlights ways that trusted adults can help prevent young people to avoid being drawn into this illegal activity.
07/06/2023 - Please find attached this week’s free online safety guide. This delves into the cultural phenomenon of anime, detailing some of the inherent risks associated with this art form – such as extreme violence, sexual content, and predatory business practices. It will also talk about what you can do to address these issues.
10/05/2023 - This week’s online safety guide is about Telegram. With more than 700 million users worldwide, Telegram is a popular alternative to the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger; indeed, in some countries, it’s overtaken that pair to become the most-used instant messaging app. Telegram’s no stranger to controversy, however, and has occasionally been made unavailable for download in some nations (including the UK).
There are various reasons for these suspensions, but the primary trigger for the authorities’ concern has been that Telegram’s robust encryption, sadly, all too often encourages the app’s use as a conduit for extremist political material and illegal sexual content. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide this week brings trusted adults the lowdown on Telegram.
In the guide you'll find tips on a number of potential risks including a lack of age verification, inappropriate content and cyber-bullying.
03/05/2023 - This week’s online safety guide profiles smartwatches: an increasingly popular device among young people. It examines potential risks such as location tracking, causing distractions at school and the danger of theft.
27/04/2023 - Recently rising in popularity among children and young people, Wizz is a social networking app that allows users to chat live with people from around the world. In similar fashion to a dating app, it facilitates conversations with people that users would not ordinary meet – but of course, making connections to individuals online bring its own self-evident potential safety issues.
While Wizz makes use of face recognition technology to assesses users’ age and group them by age group – but the software is far from perfect and is no guarantee that some individuals won’t attempt to exploit the app for sinister purposes. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide examines Wizz in detail, identifying pitfalls that parents and carers should be aware of.
In the guide you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as catfishing, explicit content and “sextortion”, and examines how trusted adults can take young people to avoid these possible threats.
20/04/2023 - We can access new music and movies in seconds. We can get products delivered to our door the very next day. We can chat or play games with people on the other side of the planet. For all of the remarkable benefits the digital age has brought us, however, it’s also presented us with a whole new raft of pressures and anxieties that, in truth, we’re all still learning to cope with.
From continual notifications inflaming a fear of missing out to the risk of public embarrassment or slanging matches on social media, today’s children and young people have stresses to manage that previous generations simply never encountered. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide examines these uniquely modern worries, highlighting ways to reduce the anxiety that digital devices can bring.
In the guide you'll find tips on reducing push notifications from apps, avoiding social media arguments and spotting when a child’s been upset by something online.
22/03/2023 - According to a Google survey, more than half of us (52%, to be exact) routinely re-use the same passwords, with around one in ten employing a single password across all of their online accounts. What that means, of course, is that any hacker successfully cracking our password would find themselves with access to not simply one of our online accounts, but several (at least).
That, along with the fact that many people’s favoured passwords aren’t exactly impenetrable, makes it easier to see why some sources put the number of online accounts being broken into at around 100 per second. Yes, you read that right: 100 per second. To help give you some extra peace of mind about your digital data, our #WakeUpWednesday guide has some tips on setting more secure passwords.
In the guide you'll find a number of top tips on setting stronger passwords such as how to get creative, what to avoid, and the value of multi-factor authentication.
08/03/2023 - When Apple unveiled the iPad in early 2010, they almost single-handedly rewrote people’s idea of what of a portable computing device was capable of – and sparked a tablet revolution. There are several very respectable imitators on the market now, but the iPad remains the standard bearer for tablet computers and still routinely shifts upwards of 40 million units every year. Their immense popularity, of course, has made the iPad a familiar companion for children and young people: an auxiliary TV; an aid for schoolwork; and a blessing on long car journeys. That said, there are still some aspects of Apple’s flagship tablet that parents and carers should bear in mind to help protect their child from online risks – as our #WakeUpWednesday guide explains.
This guide highlights possible hazards including the risk of age-inappropriate content, physical damage to the device and potential screen addiction.
16/02/2023 - Gaming, of course, is phenomenally popular with children and young people. In 2021, for instance, more than three-quarters of teenagers played online games, with almost 70% of primary school aged children doing likewise. If enjoyed in moderation and supported by a healthy routine (staying hydrated, good sleep habits, taking breaks and so on), gaming can actually benefit a person’s mental health. As long as we stay alert for potential risks, games can be much more than what we see on the surface: they can be a way to socialise, an avenue for creativity and a route to solving problems.
In the guide you'll find a number of potential benefits including a sense of achievement, learning about teamwork and encouraging creativity.
01/02/2023 - Most parents frequently chat with their child about how things are going at school or what’s happening in their friendship groups – but those discussions often doesn’t extend to youngsters’ online activities. In fact, National Online Safety conducted a recent survey which found that only slightly more than half (54%) of parents regularly talk to their children about staying safe online.
It can be an awkward topic to broach and, of course, it needs not to feel intrusive. However, just checking in with your child about their digital life can get them thinking about online safety and alert you to any issues they might be having. In support of Safer Internet Day 2023, our #WakeUpWednesday guide has some useful tips on potential ways to start those conversations.
In the guide you'll find a number of useful tips such as being as honest as possible, discussing how misleading the online world can be and creating a ‘family agreement’.
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.