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Stay safe online

Posted on 11th of February 2020

To mark ‘Safer Internet Day’, our Headteacher, Mrs Webster explains how to keep our children safe online.

Our children are experiencing unprecedented access to information, entertainment and social interaction – more than any generation before them. Young people are also more technically minded, meaning that many children know how to access the internet before the age of eight.

Although it’s important to learn about the online world from a young age, there are also many dangers that parents need to be wary of.

Firstly, we need to be aware of age restrictions – which are there for a reason.

Facebook’s minimum age is 13 and so is Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. However, we would urge parents to take a good look at platforms before allowing children to use them.

After all, there are many other social media accounts that are becoming popular among children, that we may not know much about.

TikTok is one platform that has taken the online world by storm. TikTok is a social media network where users can share videos in exchange for likes and comments. If you have older children, you may be familiar with the music and the trending dances.

And, like other social media sites, the minimum age to use TikTok is 13. But it’s so important that we are vigilant. Lots of younger children are finding their way on to them by simply changing their date of birth. Sharing videos online can be incredibly dangerous, particularly if the children are young and unaware of how to use the platform safely.

Not all internet use is dangerous, however. It’s worth noting that there are various other apps and platforms for younger children to enjoy, many of which are educational. These include blackboard madness, Elmo loves 123s and pocket phonics. There are also a wide range of games to enjoy.

By downloading apps on your mobile device or tablet, you are able to control the content they consume. It’s a lot safer than using their own gadgets.

YouTube is another popular platform. This is because it contains some great videos for children to enjoy and you can also access series of your child’s favourite TV show. So, when you’re on a long car journey or waiting for an appointment, you can find endless episodes of Peppa Pig to keep your little ones occupied.

But like social media, YouTube can pose some risks. Continuously monitoring your children while using platforms like YouTube is vital, especially if they know how to search for videos themselves.

One example of a hoax that hit the headlines in July 2018 was the Momo Challenge. Most prominent on YouTube, people were posing as the fictional character ‘Momo’ to target teenagers to entice them to do as she said, which reportedly involved performing violent acts. This was extremely distressing and meant that all children were at risk of being exposed to this character as she was appearing in a wide range of videos across the platform – including Peppa Pig.

Here at Pilgrims we understand the importance of keeping our children safe and our parents informed. This is why we implement a number of policies and training activities for children, parents and staff alike. We want to make sure that we can all work together to be able to enjoy all the opportunities online offers, while remaining  aware of the potential risks children might be exposed to.

If you would like to research this topic further, the Childnet website has more information. There are also downloadable resources for parents and carers.