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E Safety

E Safety: Keeping Children Safe On-line

We live in an age where the World Wide Web and access to unlimited information is at our fingertips. Increasingly children of all ages are using the internet for a variety of different reasons including:

  •  Searching for information online via search engines;
  •  Watching and sharing videos;
  •  Using social networking sites to connect with and make new friends;
  •  Writing or replying to questions in forums or message boards;
  •  Playing games online;
  •  Chatting with others through gaming websites, messenger apps, webcams or social network sites.

Social networking sites, of one kind or another, can be a great way for people to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as learn new things and discover new places.  Young people today have grown up with technology and using social media is second-nature to most children. New sites are created every day and parents, professionals and those working with children and young people need be aware of the potential dangers that children and young people face when accessing these sites and apps.

What is social media?

Web and application (app) based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.

Types of social media

These are just a few of the many forms of social media apps available today.

Facebook

A social networking site, that allows users to create individual profiles of themselves, to create, share and consume various forms of media through the site.

Keeping Safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are high, i.e. allow only friends of friends to send you friendship requests.
  • Do not add or accept friend requests from people you don’t know. (Ignore or block if you don’t know).
  • Report inappropriate posts, comments, images, media and people.
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • Be careful what you post, share or like.
  • Do not share private information.

Instagram

Instagram allows individuals to share their images or 15 second videos with their followers. These images or videos can be shared either publically or privately, and are taken/created on mobile phones.

Keeping safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Have a strong password.
  • Opt to make a profile private NOT public. (Privacy requires the account holder to accept followers.)
  • Avoid adding phone numbers on profiles. (Having a number on an account isn’t mandatory.)
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • You can report a user without having an account.
  • Do not share private information.

 

Snapchat

An app primarily used on smart phones, allows users to send videos or images that last for a small period of time before disappearing.

Keeping Safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Have a strong password.
  • Only take appropriate photos.
  • Only make appropriate videos.
  • Only snap people you have met personally.
  • Only accept people you know.
  • Edit privacy so that only known people can send you snaps.
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • Do not share private information.

Twitter

An online or phone app, that allows users to send and read short 140 character messages known as tweets. Users are also able to upload and view images on twitter.

Keeping safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Have a strong password.
  • Think before tweeting.
  • Don’t accept or follow people you don’t know.
  • Turn off location in settings. (This way people are unable to source your location, as it will not appear on tweets.)
  • Watch out for suspicious links.
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • Do not share private information.

Tinder

A dating app, that finds people nearby who you can connect with. The app shows your picture and there is a swipe system where you can ‘yes’ or ‘no’ another person. This app is one that needs a lot of monitoring, although, there is specific age groups for Tinder, young people are still at risk using this app. This app can connect you with anyone in a local locality, not just with those who have common friends.

Keeping safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Tinder logs in with Facebook accounts. (Check images used as FB profile pictures, as these are used on Tinder profiles.)
  • You remain anonymous until you connect with people. (Avoid connecting with people if it doesn’t feel right.)
  • The app reveals your location. (Restrict location limit to a local area.)
  • There are infrequent/mild sexual content. (Monitor picture that are used to attract others.)
  • This an app that can and will attract sexual predators.
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • Do not share private information.

YouTube

A website designed for sharing videos, account holders can create and share video media with their followers.

Keeping Safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Underage accounts will be flagged and suspended by YouTube.
  • Set your account to restricted mode. (This looks at age restriction and flags particular content that may not be suitable.)
  • Age restricted content. (Certain content may have an age restriction applied to it, only viewers of a certain age will be able to see the video.)
  • Block users from contacting you and commenting on videos.
  • Think before you post a video. How will this video portray you?
  • Do not share private information.

Periscope

A live streaming app that allows users to watch and stream live videos all across the globe. Videos are saved and available to watch for 24 hours after streaming.

Keeping Safe:

  • You must be 13 or older to create an account.
  • Restrict who can view your videos by making your video private. (Select the private option before streaming.)
  • Report inappropriate videos. (This can be done via the app in the info panel.)
  • Report or block followers who are not known.
  • Periscope shares your location on a global map. (Ensure you turn off location.)
  • Do not share private information

Kik

Kik is an instant messaging app. It lets you create your own username and message others without using your mobile number. You can share photos, organise events, share games, news and anything of interest to you from the internet.

 

Popjam

PopJam is a creative website for children and young people. You can share drawings, photos and audio messages with friends and other people.

FMyLife

FMyLife is an online community where you can post a short caption about an unfortunate incident that has happened during your day. The caption usually starts with "today…" and ends with "FML". You can also comment on other people’s stories.

Ask.fm

On Ask.fm, anonymous users ask other users questions. This means that they can easily hide their identity and effectively, say what they like without any consequences. Bullying and abuse on the site can lead to very traumatic experiences amongst youngsters, in some cases tragically taking their own lives.

 

A full list of apps, the age limits, information on what they do can be found via the NSPCC website. The NSPCC joined forces with O2 to help parents explore and understand online life as kids know it. (www.net-aware.org.uk)

 

Valuing Everyone, Caring for Each Other, Achieving Excellence