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

Online E-safety Training - New Distribution Tools

Pupil TrainingWe are delighted to announce that the e-safety training modules available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members can now be distributed in 3 ways:

1 - Presentation mode
Presentation mode is designed for a teacher or instructor to lead a class or group through the course. They may do this with a small group around a single computer, or with a larger group using a projector, whiteboard or large screen.

2 - Link mode
Link mode is designed to allow multiple candidates to work through the course as individuals. In this mode you generate a link which you can share via your school's email system, email newsletter, internal network or printed newsletter. Each prospective candidate uses the same link and when they follow it the system will ask them to enter their name to create an individual record.

3 - Email distribution mode
Email distribution mode is designed to allow multiple candidates to work through the course as individuals. In this mode the system will send out an email invitation to each of your desired candidates and monitor their progress. In order to use this mode you will need to import the names and email addresses of your contacts into your E-safety Support account.

Record training and monitor responses
The simple to use distribution manager will record all of your training activity via your dashboard. In link mode and distribution mode, you can monitor all the candidates who have completed their course and every candidate can print a certificate of completion.

Unlimited usage
All of the training courses come included in the Premium Plus package with unlimited use - there are no extra per-user costs. This means you can distribute the training to as many staff, parents, governors and pupils as you need and repeat as often as necessary. Further details of the courses currently available can be found on our online e-safety training page.

Full previews available
Full previews of the online e-safety training courses are available to all E-safety Support members, simply login to your dashboard or join free now.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on February 23, 2015 09:52

The importance of parental engagement

Alan Foster WorkshopWith the fallout from cyber-bullying and sexting regularly hitting the front pages - unfortunately in most cases when the ultimate price has already been paid – you would have thought it would be easy to engage parents/careers when it comes to trying to combat the issue. However, this is not always the case, and with Ofsted now recommending that parents attend regular e-safety sessions schools are under increasing pressure.

Trust and understanding...
The difficulties arise because parents/carers don’t know what they don’t know. They are, rightly so, trusting of their children and also feel overwhelmed by some of the new technologies that they are using. Many adults turn to the younger generation to help them sort out their own technical problems and believe that they have a lot more knowledge than they themselves do. This can lead them to feeling vunerable and not wanting to appear as though they don’t understand this technical world around them.

It isn’t always that parents/carers don’t want to get involved, but they need help to understand the issues and how they can affect their children. Often, when you have the opportunity to explain these issues further and to explore them in more detail, it’s as though the ‘penny drops’ and you can see them nodding and beginning to recognise some of the behaviours they have seen in their children. Let’s face it, why would parents/carers understand issues such as sexting? This is a whole new way of ‘courting’ that they themselves would never have experienced. If you don’t understand the issues, then you can’t be expected to help, guide and support.

A classic example that highlights a combination of parents’ trusting their children and not understanding the full implications of their online activity took place at a boarding school recently. A pupil rang her mum to say that a friend of hers had put a post on Facebook to invite friends to a party at his house. He had put a picture of the house, full address, directions and description of the street, house everything - so that people could find it.

Her mum immediately rang the school to report the issue, but the response from the parent whose child has posted the invitation was not one of shock/horror that the boy had posted this information on Facebook, but that he had been told he could only invite a few friends and should never have invited more than about six. They totally missed the implication of what he had done!

This kind of story - alongside the fact that much of a child’s online activity will take place outside of school hours, is why schools working to get parents involved in safeguarding their children (and themselves) online - forms a key part of the new e-safety guidelines.

Education, education, education...
Just as parents/carers may be chasing the next new smart phone, children are always on the look out for the next new app to communicate with friends, and it doesn’t take long for an app to go viral. We can’t expect parents to always be on top of this which is why it is important for them to get that information from a third party; someone who can point them in the right direction to get the information they need, who can teach them the new terminologies and tell them where to go if they need help.

Through attending a school-hosted e-safety awareness session for just 1.5 hours, a couple of times a year, parent/carers can learn all they need to know to raise their own awareness and to not feel as though they are miles behind their children’s knowledge. When this is backed up with regular updates and even parent training courses, they will also feel supported when they tackle the topic with their children. After all, a parent with knowledge and understanding, is a parent with power.

Visit our partners page to find out more about the face-to-face sessions available from Fantastict. You can also find out more about the parent engagement resources and online training for parents available from E-safety Support.

Written by Alan Foster on October 29, 2014 12:12


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