At RWBA, the safeguarding of pupils is the highest priority. We are committed to ensuring our pupils are safe in school and online.
By giving the pupils the knowledge to safeguard themselves and their personal information we are empowering them with a vital life skill.
Useful websites for parents
Understanding Screen Addiction and Responsible Digital Use. Read the full guide here:
Advice for Students
Don't put your personal information on your Facebook profile.
Never put Items such as your address, phone numbers and full date of birth on your profile. They will instantly become very public information and could come back to haunt you in many ways. Check your profile constantly to ensure that you are not displaying any personal information. The risk of identity theft or being tracked down by others is a very real threat. If your friend really needs your contact information, then have them give you a call or send a private email outside of Facebook. Also don't post too much information on your profile, It might be great to tell your best friend "We're off to Florida for 2 weeks" but it could be a great invitation to a burglar who you've added through a fake profile.
Be careful when placing photographs of you or your family on Facebook.
Make sure that you have all your privacy settings set to maximum and never post any photograph that you wouldn't be happy see appear in a newspaper - because, effectively, that's what you're doing.
Your Facebook page isn't just private amongst your friends and family.
Job interviewers, journalists, investigators and even the entire world could be searching for information on your Facebook site at some point. Don't think for one second that anything you post will ever be kept private and a simple Google search on your name will pull up your Facebook profile - Try it.
Should you accept all friend request’s? Absolutely NOT!
The whole purpose of Facebook is to socially connect with people you know. However, not every friend request is by someone you know. There have been many reported instances of sex offenders, terrorists and other criminals creating fake accounts to gain access to online information. If you do not know the person, then do not add them - Even if your friends have. As soon as they gain access, they will be searching your personal information, your postings, and viewing all of your photos. This can lead to them stalking you and again goes back to our first tip keep all your contact information off Facebook.
Monitor your Facebook friends' pictures
You may think very carefully about which of your own photos to upload but you have no control of your friends and family. They may decide to post photos of you doing something silly or that you shouldn’t be doing. This can be damaging to your career in later life. If someone posts a photo of you which may damage your reputation get in contact with them and ask them to remove it and stress how important it is to think carefully when uploading pictures.
You don't want to lose a job over something you might have done in the past.
Watch what you say on Facebook
Similar to above, you need to watch what you say on Facebook as it can be very damaging to friendships, your family and professional life. Posting nasty comments about friends and family can easily cause arguments so it's best not to do it. There have also been quite a few cases where people have posted things on their wall and lost their job because of a single comment. You may also have seen the recent case of a woman juror being sent to prison for posting comments about a court case.
Never leave your Facebook account open for anyone to use
Make sure you never leave your Facebook account logged in either on a computer or a mobile phone. This can be a big mistake and very damaging. A 'friend' may post an inappropriate comment about someone else as a joke but when that comment is read if may offend people and as it's your name against it, you'll get the blame.
Be sure your Anti-Virus software is up to date
Fake posts on Facebook are very common at the moment, most contain viruses so it's important that you make sure your computer is protected. If you do accidentally click on a fake post it will often re-post the message to all your friends from you. Don't panic - Delete the post from your profile to stop anyone else clicking on it. Then check your friends walls, you should be able to remove the posts because they have come from you. Next, contact the person who 'sent you' the original message and get them to delete it. Finally, scan your computer for viruses - you should also get into the habit of scanning it on a regular basis.
Check your spelling
It's very easy to make spelling and grammar mistakes however some spelling mistakes can turn into offensive words and joke comments may be misinterpreted so just double check your posts before you accidentally offend someone.
Don't be afraid to speak to us
If you are ever bothered by someone on Facebook there are a number of things you can do. If someone is simply annoying you by sending you messages or posting things on your wall you can Block them or Report them to Facebook. If you think the person may be a danger to you or others you can report them to the Police or CEOP. If you're unsure what you should do please feel free to speak to any member of staff.
Advice for Parents
Be involved in your child’s online life. For many of today’s young people there is no line between the online and offline worlds. Young people use the internet to socialise and grow and, just as you guide and support them offline, you should be there for them online too. Talk to them about what they’re doing, if they know you understand they are more likely to approach you if they need support.
Most social networking sites, like Facebook, now give your child a lot of control over what they share and who they share it with. Through a site's 'privacy settings' you are able to control:
- Who can search for you – this means that when people search your name on a site, your profile does not come up.
- Who sees what – this means that you can control the information you share, like your photos or wall' posts. You can usually restrict this to friends only, friends of friends, certain groups of friends, or everyone. We would recommend that for young people it is restricted to friends only.
- Who can post information about you – some sites enable others to 'tag' photos of you or share other information about you, like your location. Many sites enable you to restrict people’s ability to do this.
It is important that you stay up-to-date with the privacy settings that your child uses and help them stay in control of their profile. For more information about privacy settings in Facebook: www.facebook.com/help/privacy
Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Be inquisitive and interested in the new gadgets and sites that your child is using. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to continue to discuss boundaries so that they evolve as your child’s use of technology does.
Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Your child will use all sorts of devices and gadgets; make sure you’re aware of which ones can connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection or a neighbour’s Wifi? This will affect whether your safety settings are being applied.
Consider the use of parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly.
As a parent or carer it can be difficult to monitor what your child is up to online. Most parents and carers trust their children online, but it can be easy for a child to stumble across things that might upset or disturb them. Filtering and moderation packages are a good way to stop the majority of inappropriate and harmful content coming into your home. They are a tool to help you set and change online boundaries in line with your child’s development. There are some great packages out there, some are free and some come at a cost. Make sure you get one that suits your family’s needs and budget.
How can this help me?
Every parental control package is different, but most provide services such as:
- Filtering – content to restrict access to particular sites, such as pornographic websites.
- Time limits – restrict the amount of time your child can be online, or set periods of time where your child can access certain sites.
- Monitoring – where you are informed of certain sites that your child is attempting to gain access to.
- Reporting – where you are provided with information about what sites your child has used.
Where do I get them?
There are three main levels for applying parental controls.
- Internet Service Providers (ISP’s). These are the organisations that pipe the internet to your home (like Virgin Media, Talk Talk, Sky and BT). All of the major ISP’s provide parental control packages. These can allow you to apply controls across all of the devices that access the internet through your home connection – such as laptops or games consoles.
- Devices that connect to the internet. Most computers, mobiles and games consoles now come with parental controls that can be applied. For example, within Windows and the Mac operating systems, there are parental controls that can be set for individual devices.
- Software. There are a wide range of packages available to buy or sometimes download for free – always look for reputable companies and check out reviews online.
Does this make my child safe?
Parental controls will never make the internet 100% ‘safe’. They should not be used as a substitute for communicating safety messages to your child. Make sure that you talk to your child about their behaviour online and remember, your home is not the only place they will be accessing the internet! Never ask your children to set these settings, if you are not confident in putting these in place ask a family friend or the shop assistant to help.
BT‘s Security package is called BT Family Protection. This lets you choose the right level of protection for each child on up to three computers in your home. With this service you can:
- Block websites – stop your kids from seeing inappropriate content
- Set time limits – manage how long your children spend online
- Get instant alerts – get email or text alerts when your kids try to view blocked sites or post confidential information
- Social networking tools – control the use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter and set up text alerts if personal information is posted
- YouTube filtering – a unique technology to prevent exposure to unsuitable content
- Usage reports – review your children's online activity from anywhere in the world
As well as parental controls, you also get:
- Advanced spam filtering – with image blocking to protect children from offensive content
- BT Cleanfeed – blocks sites classified as illegal by the Internet Watch Foundation
- Access to our internet abuse prevention team – for children or parents to report any concerns
A user guide for the BT Family Protection service is available and videos on the service are also provided.
Talk Talk’s Internet security service is called HomeSafe. Built into the broadband network itself, HomeSafe is designed to help you block every device in your home from websites you've defined as unsuitable for your home. Parents also have the option to control the after school homework routine specifically. It's been developed in partnership with their panel of parents and online safety experts.
A guide to setting up HomeSafe is available as are videos for this service.
Parental Controls is part of Virgin Media Security and is available for free to all Virgin Media broadband customers. With Virgin Media Security’s Parental Control you can:
- Screen out offensive material
- Filter sites by pre-defined age categories
- Add exceptions or block specific sites
- Control access to specific content types like chat or social networking
- Set an access-schedule for individual users
- See a history of sites viewed, including those that were blocked Further information on this service and a guide on how to set up parental controls is available.
Plusnet offer Plusnet Protect Internet security. With this service, either offered free or for a small charge dependent on your Broadband package, parents and carers are able to set safe boundaries for children with parental controls. Advice on how to set these controls is available.
Sky offer McAfee Internet Security suit, available free or for a small monthly charge dependent on your Broadband package. Parental Controls are included in this package, however all Sky Broadband customers can get McAfee Parental Controls on their own as a separate download, free and for up to three PC’s. McAfee’s Parental Controls help control when your children can be online, monitor/control what websites they can visit, and keep an eye on their online activities. Further information on Sky’s security packages and a free download of the McAfee Parental Controls is available.
Emphasise that not everyone is who they say they are. Make sure your child knows never to meet up with someone they only know online. People might not always be who they say they are. Make sure your child understands that they should never meet up with anyone they only know online without taking a trusted adult with them.
Know what to do if something goes wrong. Just as in the offline world, you want to help your child when they need it. Therefore, it is important to know when and how to report any problem.
There are thousands of resources available online to help parents and students stay safe online. We've selected a few we think are of use below: