Keeping Safe Online
Last updated: 20/07/2020
The internet is a wonderful and quick way for anyone to find information, study and keep in contact with friends or meet new ones. However, it is important to recognise that the internet can also be used in the wrong way and we all have a responsibility to keep both ourselves, our children, students or friends safe online.
Although using the internet can be fun, we need to be careful. There may be times when something happens, and we are unsure about what we should do.
If you would like to find out more information about keeping safe online there are a range of sources below which you can visit to ensure you are up to date with the latest information.
Online safety and coronavirus
Children and young people’s lives changed dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic with children and young people spending more time at home and online.
The NSPCC have provided some specific information about online safety during the current pandemic. To view and find out more please visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/talking-child-online-safety/.
Rise in reports of online child abuse images during COVID-19
Reports of child abuse images online increased by almost 50% during lockdown, according to the Internet Watch Foundation. In the 11 weeks from 23 March, its hotline logged 44,809 reports of images compared with 29,698 last year.
The Internet Watch Foundation have been working to help remove child abuse material. The majority of their work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos and help to ensure their work helps to make being online a safer place. To find out more about what they do and how their work has helped people internationally, click here.
CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency. The National Crime Agency is committed to protecting the public from serious and organised crime, and CEOP's role is to tackle the sexual abuse and exploitation of children (CSAE), both online and offline. CEOP pursue those who sexually exploit and abuse children, prevent people becoming involved in child sexual exploitation, protect children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and prepare interventions to reduce the impact of child sexual exploitation and abuse through safeguarding and child protection work.
For more information, click here.
What’s the problem?- A guide for parents of children and young people who have got in trouble online is also a helpful guide produced by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. This leaflet is designed to answer some of the immediate questions you may have after learning about something that is happening, or has happened, in your child’s online life. This could be that they have been viewing adult pornography, or have an unhealthy interest in accessing adult material.
If you need advice, help or wish to report abuse please refer to the CEOP website. They have information for parents or carers on a wide range of online topics with further advice for children in different age groups (5 to 7 years, 8 to 10 years and 11 to 16 years). Their ‘Thinkukknow‘ website for parents and carers also includes a resource called Nude Selfies – What parents and carers need to know.
ThinkuKnow is a fantastic source of learning about how to deal and respond with children and teaching them about the safety of being online and being able to support your child to reassure them if they feel they cannot speak about these things.
More sources to learn about being safe online
Get Safe Online - A Government and Law Enforcement initiative to provide help and guidance for all uses of the internet.
Safer Internet - A great source of guidance an practical resources on how to use the internet and new technologies safely and responsibly.
Childnet International - Suite of education resources from Childnet designed to help educate parents, teachers and young people about safe and positive use of the internet.
NSPCC - The leading children’s charity in the UK, specialising in child protection and dedicated to protecting children and a great source to find out all about keeping children safe.
Following a recent press report about the dangers of the social networking website Omegle we are sharing a safeguarding alert. Omegle is a free social networking website in which users are connected with other unknown users at random in order to chat via video, text or audio. This is known as a ‘virtual chatroom’. Omegle can be used for text and video chat. The concern with video chat is the user’s exposure to harmful or sexual content, as well as the young person’s ability to share their own sexual behaviour online. As with any webcam based platform, there is always a possibility that footage can be recorded, and possibly distributed, with or without the user’s knowledge.