5 top tips to keep your children safe online?


5 top tips to keep your children safe online?

For all of its perks – and there are many – the internet can be a dangerous place for youngsters if the right safeguarding steps are not taken.

While it provides children with the ability to learn, research, connect and communicate, cyber threats mean teachers still have a pivotal role to play when it comes to keeping pupils safe.

There’s a need to protect children from inappropriate content, but also to tackle the potential for cyber fraud and other malicious activity.

Here’s some top tips for teachers looking to do just that…

Start with a conversation

Keeping children safe online starts with discussion in the classroom. Not only can teachers showcase the positives of internet use, but by talking about the potential pitfalls, it’s possible to raise awareness from a young age.

Safety issues can be addressed during multiple different sessions, enabling key messages to be embedded throughout learning. More safety messages can be delivered over time too, ensuring that youngsters are not overwhelmed and that the internet is not seen as something to be feared.

Emphasise the need to protect data

One of the biggest safety threats for young people online concerns what they do with their personal data. Many sophisticated scams exist which target this sort of information, and pupils need to understand why they shouldn’t share the data.

It’s important to talk about what represents identifiable information – such as a home address, age or even where they go to school.

Check software, apps and links

Whenever software is being used to assist a lesson, teachers should look to test it in advance so they are aware of its features. This way it’s possible to identify any potential risks and to take steps to mitigate them.

An alternative is to limit the types of technology that children can access online by ensuring that school technology such as laptops and computers only have certain programmes installed. This removes the likelihood of disruption during class and keeps children safe at the same time.

Implement safe search technology

Major sites such as Google and YouTube have built-in security features, so teachers will want to ensure they are activated when teaching. This gives children more freedom to explore the net and discover its wealth of information, while also being protected from inappropriate material.

Of course there remains a need to be vigilant, as this technology is not without its flaws and some content can still slip through the net.

Take advantage of learning resources

For those needing more information, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is home to a number of resources which provide guidance on internet safety. Alternatively, teachers can head to the UK Safer Internet Centre to see how some of the key internet safety messages can be embedded into the curriculum.

The official Government website is also home to online safety guidance documents which detail advice for school leaders, school staff, governing bodies and all others who are responsible for ensuring pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online.