The internet hosts many exciting opportunities for education. The online world is a wonderful place for young people to explore, with unprecedented opportunities for learning and creativity, but just like the real world there are risks and dangers they should be aware of and which we should all act to protect them from. As a school we encourage the use of technology as an important part of our students' development but always want them to spend their time online safely. As a parent/carer you can play a significant part in ensuring this.
For young people the internet, and the increasing number of digital devices they use to connect to it, is an integral part of their everyday lives. Whether they use it to express themselves or to stay in touch with friends, for entertainment or education, the internet can provide tremendous benefits and most use it safely. But while digital technology provides a wealth of opportunities, we are all aware that there are online risks and sometimes these risks can lead to harm. At the same time, while young people's 'offline' and 'online' worlds are often merging, the behaviours and safeguards of the 'real' world are not always applied in a 'virtual' world where friends can be added at the click of button and information shared in an instant.
It has now become common for older children to have internet access in their bedrooms or away from their living room without an adult present, accounting for one in six children aged 8- 11 (16%) and one third of 12- 15 year olds (25%). This is more worrying as 13% of parents of 5- 15s say they either haven't heard of, or don't know how to set up internet controls or filtering software.
Thus it is essential that we equip our young people with the knowledge to 'stay safe online' while also educating ourselves on what we can do to keep children safe.