Online-safety continues to be a key priority for our school. With more pupils than ever gaining access to technology, and at an ever-earlier age, we want to work in partnership with our families and community to ensure children are using it in a safe, positive and responsible manner.
Technology provides new learning opportunities – online collaboration, anytime anywhere learning and communication – but at the same time can provide additional opportunities for pupils to access material they should not, or be treated by others inappropriately. Our curriculum has a clear focus on online safety and shows pupils how to protect themselves from harm, particularly concerning cyber-bullying and dealing with strangers online.
At Forestdale we understand a range of factors keep children safe online:
- Policy- We have a clear and rigorous online safety policy, which has clear procedures used by the whole school.
- Staff- Our staff receive training on up-to-date training on online- safety.
- Curriculum- Our online safety curriculum is age-appropriate, relevant and engages pupils’ interest.
All breaches of online safety must be reported immediately to either the class teacher, the head teacher or the online safety officer firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any illegal online activity must be reported to the police at ceop (the national crime agency's child protection command) www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre
We regularly send out letters to inform parents about any or inappropriate sites or new technologies which may be on our children’s radar. The following are few we know our children have been using that are either not age appropriate, connect to online communities or they have potential links to other inappropriate apps or sites:
Minimum age 13
Musical.ly is a social network for sharing user-generated music videos. Users can upload their own own lip-syncing videos, remix others' work, or browse content created by other users.
- As it involves popular music, there can be swearing and sexual content in the songs.
- The site states ‘if you are under 13 years of age, you must not access the service at any time or in any manner’.
- Users can select privacy settings which means they only share the videos with their friends however if these settings have not been adjusted they will be shared with the general public.
Minimum age 13
YouTube is a video sharing website and app that allows users to share, view and upload videos.
- A user needs to have a ‘YouTube channel’ in order to upload videos.
- The user’s profile will display their username and any other user information entered their videos, activity streams, comments and subscribers.
- If your child is using a YouTube channel, it is important to be aware of what they post and who can view it. However, we strongly recommend they delete it.
- It can be difficult to keep ownership or control of a video once it has been posted on the internet.
- Similarly to other social media platforms, YouTube has a private messaging function where users can send each other messages and videos.
Minimum Age 16
WhatsApp is an instant messaging app which lets you send messages, images and videos in one to one and group chats with your contacts. You can choose to share your live location for up to eight hours with one contact or a group.
- Children can only talk to existing contacts on their phone, although this may feel safer, it’s still important to remember that some content shared may not be appropriate for children, or they have contacts (strangers) in their phone who they have never met face to face.
- Once photos videos or messages are shared, it can be copied, re shared and posted anywhere online.
- WhatsApp also contains a group chat function. Group conversations usually take place between friends. But sometimes, users can be added to a group where they don’t know everyone else. Therefore, it’s possible they could see or be contacted by someone they don’t know and could be vulnerable to content posted by this person.
- WhatsApp shows other users your location.
- Bullying can take many forms as it is a messaging service and we often hear of abusive group chats.
Fortnight is an online game, where players Vs players (PVP) in combat. This is a free game. 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, PEGI have said this is due to the following: ‘frequent scenes of mild violence. It is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age’.
- You have to create an account using a password and verified email address.
- You are not asked your age in order to create an account.
- You play against players of different ages from across the world.
- You cannot turn the in game chats off or choose who you play against.
- Fortnite does feature violence when players are in combat with each other.
Roblox is a gaming platform where you can create your own games or play games that other users have made. There is also the option to chat to other players, but this can be disabled.
The PEGI’s rating is 12+ for the following: ‘Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence’.
- Children can communicate and play with adults on the platform as there are no age limit restrictions.
- All games are multiplayer and include a written chat feature, which is visible to players within each individual game.
- Users can make and receive friend requests during gameplay and this means that they can chat to each other outside of the game.
- Because content is user-generated it can mean that some games might not be appropriate for young children e.g. whilst the graphics are not very life like, some of the games feature weapons and blood.
- By creating games, users can earn Robux, the in-game currency. You can also buy Robux in the game. Players can spend money on items, such as membership to the Builders Club.
- The game shows links to other apps, such as Granny (see below), which are not appropriate for children.
Parents need to know that Granny is a free-to-play indie horror game with grotesque art, blood, and jump scares that are too intense for young children.
PGEI’s rating is 12+ for the following: ‘Frequent/Intense Horror/Fear Themes, Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence’.
- Granny can be accessed through the Roblox app as well as an app download.
Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto is an open world crime game that follows the story of different criminals. In terms of mature content, Grand Theft Auto packs in adult material from the very beginning.
In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Grand Theft Auto V 18+ for “extreme violence; multiple, motiveless killing; violence towards defenceless people; and strong language”.
- This is a game is wholly inappropriate for children. It is aimed squarely at adults, and as such, it tries to be as extreme, and at times shocking as it can be.
4th September 2018- Surrey Police published this information to make parents aware of apps their children may be using:
Keeping Children Safe online:
The NSPCC has advice on how to keep your children safe online:
For further information, please visit: