Online Safety is a critical element of keeping children safe at Tylers Green Middle School. In consultation with our parents, it is a subject that is of the utmost concern with many feeling like matters are out of their control, with the pressures society is putting on our children to feel as though they are not missing out. It is essential to be realistic - banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem. Therefore, TGMS, in partnership with our parents, believe education around safe online use is essential and we have planned a curriculum that goes beyond statutory requirements.
Please see our Computing Curriculum section of the website for more information.
As a school, we aim to have external recognition that we are providing the best possible Online Safety education for our pupils. Therefore, by the end of the 2023/24 academic year, we hope to have achieved the prestigious Online Safety Mark accreditation.
Monitoring and Filtering
We have worked hard to ensure extensive security measures (monitoring and filtering) are in place in school, which are monitored both internally and externally, to help safeguard pupils from potential dangers or unsuitable material. Any Online Safety incidents are recorded and managed in accordance with our Online Safety Policy, reviewed and maintained by our Online Safety Group (key staff members and governors). Online Safety is taught to all pupils explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online.
This is of particular importance to TGMS as much of our curriculum, including homework, is using virtual platforms increasing the importance of excellent monitoring and filtering systems to keep the pupils safe by alerting named members of staff.
We can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with parents to ensure the Online Safety message is consistent. It is important that parents speak to their children regularly about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online and have their own monitoring agreements with their children.
Useful advice (in line with TGMS's teaching):
We educate our pupils that no search engine is ever 100% safe but below are some links to some “safer” recommended search engines:
When children are accessing games via online systems such as Xbox LIVE or PSN, privacy settings can be set up.
At TGMS, we are aware and acknowledge that many children now use social networking sites. Our school does not advocate our pupils having social media accounts and is committed to promoting the safe and responsible use of the Internet and as such we feel it is our responsibility to raise this particular issue as a concern. Whilst children cannot social networking sites at school, they could have access to it on any other computer or mobile technology. Websites such as Facebook offer amazing communication and social connections, however, they are created with their audience in mind and this is specifically 13 years old and above. Possible risks for children under 13 using the site may include:
- Facebook uses ‘age targeted’ advertising and therefore your child could be exposed to adverts of a sexual or other inappropriate nature, depending on the age they stated they were when they registered;
- Children may accept ‘friend requests’ from people they don’t know in real life which could increase the risk of inappropriate contact or behaviour;
- Language, games, groups and content posted or shared on Facebook is not moderated, and therefore can be offensive, illegal or unsuitable for children;
- Photographs shared by users are not moderated and therefore children could be exposed to inappropriate images or even post their own;
- Underage users might be less likely to keep their identities private and lying about their age can expose them to further risks regarding privacy settings and other options;
- Sites could be exploited by bullies and for other inappropriate contact;
- Some sites cannot and does not verify its members therefore it important to remember that if your child can lie about who they are online, so can anyone else!
We feel that it is important to point out to parents/carers the risks of underage use of such sites, so you can make an informed decision as to whether to allow your child to have a profile or not. These profiles will have been created away from school and sometimes by a child, their friends, siblings or even parents. We will take action (such as reporting aged profiles) if a problem comes to our attention that involves the safety or wellbeing of any of our children.
Should you decide to allow your children to use a social networking site, we strongly advise you to:
- Check their profile is set to private and that only ‘friends’ can see information that is posted;
- Monitor your child’s use and talk to them about safe and appropriate online behaviour such as not sharing personal information and not posting offensive messages or photos;
- Ask them to install the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) application from www.facebook.com/clickceop on their profile. This places a bookmark on their profile to CEOP and the ‘Report Abuse’ button which has been known to deter offenders;
- Have a look at the advice for parents/carers from Facebook www.facebook.com/help/?safety=parents;
- Set up your own profile so you understand how the site works and ask them to add you as a friend on their profile so you can keep track of what they are posting online;
- Make sure your child understands the following rules:
- Always keep your profile private;
- Never accept friends you don’t know in real life;
- Never post anything which could reveal your identity;
- Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see;
- Never agree to meet someone you only know online without telling a trusted adult;
- Always tell someone if you feel threatened or if someone upsets you.
Please click on the icons below for more information about commonly-used apps we know our pupils are aware of:
The NSPCC has introduced a website – www.net-aware.org.uk. This has many no-nonsense guides on social media, apps and games that children use.
CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) delivers a multi-agency service dedicated to tackling the abuse and exploitation of children in the real and ‘e’ world. Often it is referred to as an online 999. By clicking on the button, young people and parents can get advice on a range of issues such as viruses, hacking and dealing with bullying online.
The “Thinkuknow” website is brought to you by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.