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Safer Internet Day 6th February

Safer Internet Day 6th February

Our students today are growing up in a world with access to so much immediate content and ways to communicate via the internet. This can be wonderful and worrying all at the same time.

Whilst social networking sites can provide a brilliant means of communication, many of the social problems that young people naturally can experience as part of growing up are sometimes hugely exacerbated by such things as group chats. Similarly, the internet can provide a wide range of knowledge and broaden perspectives, but it can also leave students open to manipulation and misinformation if not navigated with care and thought.

Discussing how to keep ourselves safe online is therefore a vital part of our curriculum in Personal Development lessons and in tutor time for all students, with additional support for Year 7s in their IT lessons. It was also a key theme last week in assemblies linked to the worldwide Safer Internet Day.

As parents and carers, keeping yourself up to date with what your children are accessing can be difficult, which is why we send a monthly newsletter, stored on our website here to support you. January’s edition, for instance, gave advice on setting up parental controls on children’s devices, how to deal with distressing news items children may encounter and age limits on You Tube and social networking sites. Did you know, for instance, that the age limit for a WhatsApp account is actually 16? And yet many of our students are on group chats on WhatsApp from 11 or younger….

Our advice is always to remain interested in what your child is accessing on the internet, speak to them regularly about it, and, especially when younger but even as they grow, regularly check their phones and social networking sites…. If they won’t share passwords with you, this may well be the first sign there is definitely something you need to know.

Finally, we have set students a quick quiz on Satchel One today to complete over the half term break, one for those in Years 7 – 9 and a different one for those in the older years. The aim is simply for them to revisit some of the ideas covered in school over the holiday – a time when they will probably be on the internet even more than usual. Please encourage them to complete this, and perhaps do it with them as a way of sparking a discussion. You can access this with them via Satchel One or the links below:

11 - 14 Safer Internet Quiz

14 - 18 Safer Internet Quiz

All students who send in a screenshot of their completed quiz via the Forms link in their Satchel One will be entered in a prize draw the first week back.

Deborah Banks

Deputy Headteacher