Engaging parents with e-safety

Why e-safety education must begin at home


NSPCC SurveyThe news has once again reminded us about the dangers children face online, with a recent report from the NSPCC suggesting that toddlers as young as one are now being targeted by online predators.

With 35% of 5-15 year olds now owning a smartphone (up from 18% in 2010) and 40% of the same age group and indeed now 15% of 3-4 year olds owning a tablet, access to the Internet from portable devices is easier than ever.

However, figures from the Ofcom, Children and parents: media use and attitudes report, state that as many a 73% of 5-15 year olds are using a tablet at home.

It’s clear from the figures above that there is a large number of children who don’t own a tablet but do use one at home. So let’s consider this in the context of parental controls.

When a parents gives a child a new media device, they are advised to set parent controls, privacy setting etc to protect their children. But what do they do with their own devices? The figures suggest that some 33% of young people are using a tablet at home which have perhaps not been set up for the child, but rather the adult and therefore not necessarily as well protected.

As if to illustrate why this may be an issue, a concerned mum recently advised that their 9 year old daughter had returned from a visit to a friend where they had been watching inappropriate content that they had found on the Internet while using the parents tablet. The parent had some understanding of parental controls, but had not implemented them on their own tablet properly.

In this case, the parent had a level of appreciation about the online safety of their child, but this is not always the case. During our recent e-safety seminar, the difficulties of engaging parents was one of the key concerns raised. In several cases, school events for parents were held with only one, two or three parents attending. Even when the events were held at drop-off and pick-up time, still attendance was poor.

As the summer break approaches, it is crucial that parents are made aware of their responsibility to protect their child online, be that while gaming, using the Internet, texting, emailing and so on.

To help engage parents, here are 3 tips that were discussed by teachers at the e-safety seminar:

  1. Carry out surveys and share finding with parents - Ask pupils which apps they are using, have they witnessed cyberbullying, do they understand the implications of sexting etc and share these findings with parents to illustrate issues within your school setting.

  2. Share video links with parents - If you show pupils an e-safety video in school, send this to the parents and ask them to watch it too to help reinforce the message. There are lots of great videos from NPSCC, CEOP, Think You Know etc

  3. Send news headlines and web links to parents - Allow them to digest the information in their own time. Drip feed information regularly to ensure that they are constantly reminded about online safety. All E-safety Support members can add the ‘News Widget’ to their school website.

If we are to accept that children as young as one are now being targeted online, it has never been more important to have parents understand that e-safety education must begin at home.

If you have any tips on engaging parents, or would like to share your experience with other readers, please email news@e-safetysupport.com.

If you would like further support on engaging parents, E-safety Support members can assess a bank of parental engagement resources including an online parent training course which can be issued via email and allows parents to take the course at a time to suit them.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on June 23, 2016 10:50

Digital Parenting

Before the Internet, parents felt that they had some control of who their children communicated with. Many houses had one phone and parents felt confident that they knew who their children were talking to.

The web has changed this and parents find it difficult to keep track of the multiple accounts and Apps that their child is using. The development of technology means that children and young people can easily speak to strangers and access inappropriate content.

This is why digital parenting is such an important skill today as children need to be given rules about how much ‘screen time’ they are allowed in a day, what type of Apps they are allowed to download and most importantly the risks of talking to people online.

There is often an argument that children and young people are ‘digitally savvy’ and that they can run circles around their parents when it comes to technology. This may be true with many families, however they do lack the life experience and wisdom that makes them more vulnerable to potential grooming by others on the Internet.

So what can parents do? In the first instance, it is important that they communicate with their children about what they are doing on the Internet. Children cannot be monitored 24/7and as they grow older into their teenage years, there has to be an element of trust and independence, so that if something did happen, then they would be able to tell their parents.

Secondly, parents need to upscale their knowledge and look at sites which help them to filter and put parental controls on devices. On Christmas morning, after the presents have been opened, children will ask how you work certain toys and parents will look at the instruction booklet for help. As many devices don’t specifically come with advice on parental controls, this is where sites such as http://www.internetmatters.org/ comes in handy to look at setting controls on specific devices.

Finally, we must try and teach our children the rules about being safe when using technology and the Internet. When they are very young, we highlight safe ways to cross the road and to be careful near deep water. In the digital age, this now must be extended to enjoying the Internet, but doing it in a safe way.



Coming Soon: Our new parent online training course will be available soon. The new course will look at how children and young people use technology and the Internet, develop parent knowledge and understanding of the digital world and support them in becoming a better ‘digital parents’. Log into your E-safety Support dashboard to preview the existing staff and governor training courses and to check for product updates.

Written by Tim Pinto on May 06, 2016 08:29

New Government Measures For Online Safety…Same Old Story?

Before Christmas, the Department of Education announced new measures to protect children from cyber bullying, access to pornography and online radicalisation.

The proposals included:

  • Schools to have robust filtering in place so that children are not allowed to access inappropriate sites. This also includes access to content promoting extremist ideology which could be used in the process of radicalising children and young people.
  • Teaching about online safeguarding through the PHSE and Computing curriculum.
  • The measures have been welcomed by a number of bodies including the National Association of Head Teachers. The DfE will also be working with a number of other partners including the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and the National Crime Agency CEOP Command to update resources for parents and a new online training package will be launched for health professionals to assist them with handling online risks.

    However, questions have to be raised about the timing and how effective these measures will be? Releasing consultation details about the proposed measures three days before Christmas is surely not the best time to engage with practitioners as they take their deserved rest after a hard term. In addition, the focus on producing new resources for parents seems a little misguided when Vodafone and other organisations produce valuable magazines and leaflets which cover the same ground.

    Great strides have been made over the past eight years with internet safety in the UK, but these latest measures seem to go over old ground and represent nothing new. Compared to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner (https://esafety.gov.au/) in Australia who provide a vast array of updated resources for schools and parents, there seems to be a lot of duplication with the current measures.

    In recent staff training, I showed the CEOP educational film, ‘Jigsaw’. It is over five years old, but it still gets many educational professionals concerned about what parents should be doing to protect their children. One staff member spoke about how this should be shown in doctors surgeries and on primetime television. In many ways, there needs to be a united strategy from the public and commercial sector so that it is not only schools who are targeting parents with the positive e-safety message.

    As I visit educational establishments, there are many comments for practitioners that they are concerned about the impact of unmonitored use of devices by toddlers and young children. There needs to be a real focus from policy makers to look at how to provide more support for parents as they support their children in the digital world.



    If you would like to add your thoughts to this topic, please use the comments section below

    Written by Tim Pinto on January 11, 2016 15:05


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