Being online is an integral part of children and young people’s lives. Social media, online games, websites and apps can be accessed through mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablets – all of which form a part of children and young people’s online world. The internet and online technology provides new opportunities for young people’s learning and growth, but it can also expose them to new types of risks
Take a look at the e-safety advice area to get tips and information about how you can safely enjoy being online, gaming, shopping, chatting, using social media like Facebook and the many other activities that adults, parents and carers, children and young people get involved in on the net. The Internet has become part of our everyday lives and is now easier to access than ever before but using the Internet can also have risks.
What is e-safety?
E-safety is a phrase that many people will have heard of but how many know what it actually means?
E-Safety at a simple level means being safe on the internet. Some people also include the safe use of technology in this as well. The pace at which technology is evolving can make it difficult to know what to include when talking about the safe use of the internet.
The DfE describes e-safety as a school’s ability to safeguard, protect and educate pupils and staff in the acceptable use of technology and communications (including social media) as well as having established mechanisms in place to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.
There should be ‘a culture that incorporates the principles of online safety across all elements of school life’ and these should be communicated clearly with pupils, staff and parents. Children should have a clear understanding of online safety rules and expectations, to be able to protect themselves and stay safe online.
Children and young people are more at risk of exposure to inappropriate or criminal behaviour if they are unaware of the dangers.
These dangers can include:
- Viewing unsuitable content e.g. hate material, adult content, sites that endorse, unhealthy behaviour
- Giving out personal information
- Arranging to meet an online ‘friend’
- Becoming involved in, or the victim of, bullying, identity theft, or making and sending indecent or illegal images
- Spending too much time online which can affect concentration, education, sleep and health
- Copying information from the Internet or buying work from other people to use as their own.
Why is e-safety important to teach in schools?
Children today are firmly part of the digital age and as such, they often use a wide range of devices, both inside and outside, of school. When used correctly, technology can be a fantastic learning and social tool, but children need to have a clear understanding of the e-safety rules and expectations. This will help them to stay safe online and not fall foul of the myriad of risks and threats which can occur to the unsuspecting individual.
There are three areas of risk to children online (although the breadth of issues within each may be considerable). They are:
- Content – illegal, inappropriate or harmful material
- Contact – harmful online interactions with advertising or individuals
- Conduct – personal online behaviour which can cause harm