Care, Welfare and Safeguarding
Here at Killowen Primary School we are committed to promoting safe and responsible use of the Internet. Online Safety, the new term used by the government for e-safety, is an integral part of the school curriculum in all schools from P1 to P7. It is vital to help children enjoy the wonderful opportunities that our increasingly technological world can offer.
Through our curriculum and other aspects of school life, we encourage children to celebrate what technology can offer us in a safe and responsible manner. In addition to exercising good practice throughout the curriculum, we take the opportunity to raise awareness of Online Safety during other national awareness events such as 'Anti-Bullying Week' and 'Safer Internet Day.' We will continue to review and amend our current practice in response to the almost daily changes that take place in technology.
Please read on for more detailed advice and click on the blue hyperlinks to visit some highly recommended and very useful websites.
This is not a task we can manage single-handedly. Our curriculum lessons are planned with the support of the Local Authority Advisors and can incorporate resources from a range of key providers. We also work alongside the local PSNI support team who share any local issues across schools and provide advice through arranged talks. We aim to work in partnership with parents to provide a support network for children as they explore, communicate, play and learn online. We will endeavour to provide as much information as possible, through our school newsletters, Twitter feed and this website. We recently advised parents about a locally held Cyber-Safety Event organised and run by C.I.N.I. at the Lisburn Civic Centre. This was held to raise awareness about risks that our children currently face and gave some fantastic advice on ways in which parents can help, including safety settings and where to seek help.
Advice on Parental Controls:
We feel that it is our responsibility to raise this particular issue as a very real and current concern. Applications such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter offer amazing communication and social connections, however they are created with their audience in mind and it is not possible to control or verify the content. All of these terms and conditions state that all users must be a minimum age of 13 years or older, and therefore, we strongly recommend that parents do not allow their children to have their own personal profiles online.
Advice on Social Networking:
We have become aware of a significant number of issues with children sharing content using the app musical.ly and would to remind you that this app has a minimum age of 13. Our advice to parents is to carefully manage their child’s use of social media and adhere to suggested age restrictions.
Advice on Musical.ly:
The app Roblox has very quickly become very popular with children in our school. Please be aware of an open chat room facility in the games. This is a site recommended for ages 8-18 although is also available to adults. There have been some reviews by parents published on Common Sense Media that have highlighted additional concerns. Use of this game and specifically the chat rooms/friend requests should be monitored closely by parents.
Advice on Roblox:
Fortnight is an online game, which includes Battle Royale, where players do not have to pay to play. In Battle Royale, 100 players compete against each other to be the last person standing in player vs player (PVP) combat. Users play against people of different ages from across the world, and can talk and interact with each other as they play through the in-game chat feature. Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12, but this does not take into account the element of contact where players could be exposed to swearing and offensive language from strangers either through audio or on-screen text chat. There are also in-game purchases available from £34.99 - £119.99.
Advice on Fortnite:
Many children spend a lot of time watching vloggers (Video Log) such as Zoella. (Zoella can have over 3 million hits on her uploads!)
Some children choose to emulate these Vloggers, and in doing so without careful thought can leave themselves open to bullying or online grooming by revealing personal details and making videos and comments available to anyone.
The minimum age to create a Youtube account is 13. Having an account for a younger child breaks the terms and conditions of the site. It is not possible to upload videos without creating an account.
Advice on Youtube:
We feel it important to point out to parents the risks of underage use of such sites, so you can make an informed decision as to whether you 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. It is also important that parents/carers are aware that whilst filtering tools or parental controls are very useful in keeping children safe online, they are not always effective and children may still access unsuitable content
The blue hyperlinks below contain further advice on recommended minimum ages for using other popular applications...
Whatsapp (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/whatsapp/
Snapchat (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/snapchat/
Live.ly (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/lively/
Youtube (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/youtube/
Musical.ly (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/musically/
Twitter (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/twitter/
Facebook/Messenger (13+): https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/facebook/
We recommend that parents do not allow their children to have their own personal profiles online. However, if you should decide to allow your child to have a profile we strongly advise you to be aware of the potential risks posed to your child. You may want to consider the following points.
- Check that any profile is set to private and that only approved friends can see information that is posted
- Closely monitor your child’s use and talk to them about safe and appropriate online behaviour such as not sharing personal information, clicking on unknown links, installing applications and not posting offensive messages or photos
- Set up your own profile so you understand how any site works and ask them to have you as a friend on their profile so you know what they are posting online. Have a look at each site's/application's advice for parents/carers
- Make sure your child understands the following rules:
- Always keep your profile private and never accept friends you don’t know in real life
- Never post anything online which could reveal your identity or anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see
- Only click on links that you trust and always ask an adult if first if you are not sure
- Never agree to meet somebody you only know online without telling a trusted adult
- Always tell an adult you trust if you feel threatened, see something that makes you feel worried or someone upsets you online
Please take the time to have a look at the following websites...