Safer Internet Day 2018 Theme Announced!

The theme for Safer Internet Day 2018  has been announced as “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”.

Safer Internet Day 2018 will take place on Tuesday 6th February.  SID is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and is celebrated in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and generate a national conversation.

SID offers the opportunity for us all to highlight positive uses of technology and to help to create a better and safer online community, so mark the date in your diary and make sure you get involved!

To stay up to date with #SID2018 plans you can:

Globally, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over a hundred countries, and is coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.

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Children’s Commissioner launches ‘Digital 5 A Day’ Framework: Suggestions for Educational Settings

The Children’s Commissioner has launched a new ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ campaign to provide a simple framework to help children lead healthy online lives. The approach reflects the concerns of parents/ carers as well as children’s behaviours and needs and seeks to promote a positive relationship with technology rather than relying on restrictions.

Based on the NHS’s evidence-based ‘Five steps to better mental wellbeing’, the ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ campaign gives children and parents easy to follow, practical steps to achieve a healthy and balanced digital diet. It can also act as a base for family agreements about internet and digital device use throughout both the holidays and term time.

The 5 elements of a good ‘digital diet’ are: connect, be active, get creative, give to others, be mindful.

Further information about the ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ can be found online. This includes a ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ guide for children and young people. Childnet has also published some useful summaries and links on their blog.

Educational Settings and professionals working with children may find it helpful to share and use the ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ and associated links and resources with the children and families that they work with.

What about Educational Settings?

The ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ could even be a helpful approach for schools and other educational settings to adopt within their online safety ethos. Within this in mind, we have made some suggestions based on the ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘ model for educational settings to consider:

  • Connect
    • Adults need to acknowledge that the online space is important to children; educational staff therefore need to be empowered and supported to have conversations with the children about internet use. Staff may require training and resources (inlcuding time) so that they can speak confidently with the children that they work with about  the internet.
      • Conversations could include how children go online, what sites/apps are popular and who children are connecting with online.
      • Educational staff can also use this conversations as opportunities to explore practice tips such as using privacy settings and reporting mechanisms.
    • Talking with children is a fantastic way to help educational settings keep up-to-date with the rapid pace of change with technology. It can also help settings understand how their community is spending their time online. Being aware of this can help settings develop effective policies and procedures, as well as to implement realistic and credible educational messages.
    • Most importantly, by creating a positive dialogue about online activity, educational settings will help encourage children to seek help and support when dealing with online safety issues.
  • Be Active
    • Activity is important for mental well-being: all children should have time to switch off and get moving. Educational staff can help children  find something active or outdoors that they enjoy. This can include as part of formally provided physical education or after school activities, or other extra curricular activities and opportunities.
    • Educational staff can help children research an activity or a place  to go online. This can provide a helpful opportunity for staff to use the internet together with children, as well as to discuss safe behaviours.
  • Get Creative
    • The idea of the internet being used as a ‘babysitter’ is often reported as being a concern by professionals and parent alike.  However, time spent online doesn’t have to be spent passively consuming content;  it can be educational, creative and can provide excellent opportunities for children to build skills that can be useful for later life.
    • Educational staff can help children explore their creativity online, both formally and informally. This could include learning to code, designing and building complex structures in online games, creating video content or developing writing skills through activities such as blogging.
    • By exploring online creativity, educational settings can develop positive opportunities to discuss safe and responsible online behaviour with children.
  • Give to others
    • Educational staff can help children use the internet as a force for good by exploring how to get involved with local and national charitable schemes online within the classroom.
    • Educational settings could use the internet to engage with their community and demonstrate that they listen to children’s voices. This could include online questionnaires, polls, blogs, videos, competitions etc. By adopting this approach, educational settings can help and encourage children to use the internet to give positive support and feedback to their community.
    • Staff can initiate conversations with children about positive online engagement and can subsequently provide a safe space to explore how children can provide appropriate online support to their peers and their families
    • Educational staff can also help and support children to report any negative behaviour or activity online – this will help to help the web make a positive place for everyone.
  • Be Mindful
    • Children sometimes report that they feel pressured by the constantly connected nature of the internet which can be compounded by peer pressure and a fear of missing out. Educational staff can help with this by facilitating discussions about the amount of time children (and indeed adults!) spend online.
    • Educational staff can encourage children to be mindful about how they are using the internet and how it makes them feel. Staff can discuss strategies with children to help them manage and deal with online use. i.e. keeping a diary to log the amount of time they are spending online or limiting and managing notifications.
    • Educational staff can also be positive role models and help children understand the need to balance on and offline activities.

If educational professionals have suggestions as to how their setting is adopting or demonstrating their approach towards a ‘Digital 5 A Day ‘,  then please leave your suggestions or additions in the comments section below.

Posted in 2017, Children’s Commisson, e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Online safety, Schools | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A guide to monitoring: blog post by UK Safer Internet Centre

The Education Safeguarding Team have received a number of queries from concerned headteachers and governors who are anxious to ensure that their school has “appropriate filtering and monitoring’ in place in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016.

The UK Safer Internet Centre have recently published a helpful blog post that explains what filtering and monitoring is, explores the different options available, and considers how schools can ensure that they are meeting Ofsted requirements and best protecting children.

We would advise all school leaders to access this content to help them to understand the current expectations, and to enable them to evidence that they are meeting the statutory requirements.

Posted in e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Filtering and Monitoring, Independent Schools, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, Schools, UK Safer Internet Centre | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Safer Internet Centre publish new online safety guides for professionals working with children

The UK Safer Internet Centre have launched a set of new tailored online safety guides for key professionals working with children, including social workers, healthcare professionals, residential care settings and governors/trustees.

These guides add to their existing guides for teachers and for foster carers and adoptive parents.

It is essential that all professionals working with children are empowered to support and safeguard children and their families in their use of digital technology, as well as knowing how to protect their own professional reputation.

The new guides provide tailored advice for professionals working with children, with a range of topics covered, including:

  • Roles and responsibilities in relation to online safeguarding, including effective policy and practice
  • Understanding the latest technologies and trends
  • Managing online safeguarding incidents
  • Supporting children, young people, parents, carers
  • Professional reputation

Find out more in the UK Safer Internet Centres Advice Centre.

Kent professionals are also encouraged to access Online Safety guidance from Kent Safeguarding Children Board and should find out who their agency lead is for Online Safety is.

Governors and Trustees for Kent educational settings can also seek specific support and training via the Education Safeguarding Team.

Posted in 2017, e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Governors, Healthcare professionals, Internet Safety, Online safety, Professionals, Residential care settings, Social Workers, UK Safer Internet Centre | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying Safe Online over the Summer: Template #esafety Letter for Parents/Carers

As the Summer holidays approach, many children may be looking forward to having more free time to spend chatting with friends and playing games online. Schools may find this to be an ideal time to highlight some simple online safety tips to help parents/carers balance their children’s time online with offline fun too!

To help support educational settings, the e-Safety Development Officer has created a template letter that Designated Safeguarding Leads, headteachers or managers may wish to adapt and share with their communities.

The letter is based around four top tips:

  • Talking to your children
  • Be share aware
  • Manage screen time
  • Making it enriching

Whilst the template letter is predominantly aimed at Primary schools, other educational settings may still find the letter useful to amend and adapt for their own communities. Schools may wish to use the letter in its entirely or may choose to share specific extracts within their regular end of term communications such as emails, newsletter  etc.

If schools/settings use social media as a communication tool, then they wish to get involved with or encourage parents/carers to participate in the Internet Matters #Screensafe Campaign. Internet Matters have produced this short video for parents/carers:

Other additional links that schools may find helpful to share with parents/carers include:

If schools and settings have any queries relating to online safety, then please contact the Education Safeguarding Team.

Ashley Assiter, e-Safety Development Officer


Additional content may be added to this post so please check back regularly.

Posted in 2017, e-Safety, Kent, Letter, Resources, Schools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secondary Schools and Colleges: Help shape research into sexting among young people

Sexting is the act of young people sending sexually explicit imagery, primarily between mobile devices, amongst peers.  Much of the attention to date from the media and policy makers regarding sexting, has focussed on the extent of incidents and trying to quantify the various aspects of sexting.

SWGfL, as part of its work as a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre, and Plymouth University are undertaking a research project to gain a better understanding of sexting among young people in the UK. As such, they are conducting two surveys; one for schools, and one for 11 to 18 year olds and are asking for schools to take part and have their say.

These short, anonymous research surveys aim to better understand:

  • The influences and pressures that drive behaviour, the impact of these practices, and the support being asked for by young people.
  • The frequency and capability that schools and colleges have to respond effectively to incidents.

To help inform schools and colleges and improve their understanding and ability to manage sexting incidents, specific responses will be reflected back to those that take part. Schools may wish to take part in either or both surveys.  Any data collected in the surveys will be used solely for the research project. Data is held entirely anonymously and there is no way to identify individuals. The data will not be accessed by anyone other than the research team at the Plymouth University.

Schools survey 

  • Questions are focused on the frequency of issues, together with the reporting opportunities offered by the school and the capability and confidence of staff to recognise, respond and resolve issues.
  • Take the Schools survey here

11-18 year olds survey

  • Questions focus on young people’s exposure to and experience of sexting. Some young people might find some of these questions uncomfortable. The survey is voluntary and completely anonymous; participants should not share any personal details.
  • Access  the 11-18s survey to share with young people here


Professor Andy Phippen is Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, currently exploring issues in the use of technology in relationshipsSWGfL/UK Safer Internet Centre and Plymouth University have published a number of reports to better understand the ways young people use mobile and Internet technologies to share personal images among friends. These include:

For futher information place access the UK Safer Internet Centre blog.

Posted in 2017, Schools, Secondary Resources, Sexting, SWGfL, UK Safer Internet Centre, Young People | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Updated Department for Education ‘Preventing and Tacking Bullying’ Guidance

The Department for Education have published new updates to their guidance for schools on preventing and tackling bullying.

The main ‘Preventing and tackling bullying’ guidance document is aimed at school leaders, staff and governing bodies and applies to all schools. It may also be useful for early years providers as well as further education and community settings.

The updated guidance has merged the ‘Supporting children and young people who are bullied: advice for schools’ publication within the ‘Preventing and tackling bullying’ document. The updated version of ‘Preventing and tackling bullying’  now includes additional information about how schools can support children and young people who are bullied, inlcuding cyberbullying.

There is also separate additional guidance available regarding cyberbullying which covers:

  • how schools can prevent and respond to cyberbullying aimed at headteachers and staff
  • how parents and carers can prevent and respond to cyberbullying aimed at children and young people

Schools and settings may find it helpful to share the “advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying” guidance with their communities.

Posted in 2017, Anti-Bullying, Cyberbullying, DfE, Education Leaders and Managers, Governors, Schools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Snapchat’s new Snap Maps feature- what school’s need to know #esafety

Last week, Snapchat announced a new feature to their photo and video sharing app called ‘Snap Maps’,  which allows users to share and access ‘snaps’ by location.

“We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure! It’s easy to get started — just pinch to zoom out and view the Map!” 

What is it?

With this new update, users will be able to see their friends and other users on a map view. By clicking on a friend’s “Actionmoji”, users can then view their ‘stories’ or begin a chat. With this in mind, it is important that users understand exactly who can see their location and access their ‘snaps’.

The first time you access ‘Snap Maps’, a tab will appear which gives you the option to choose who can see your location: My friends; select friends; only me (Ghost mode). Users can also change their preference at any time by accessing their location preferences in the settings options.

For more information about changing privacy and location settings on Snapchat, have a look at the latest blog post from UK Safer Internet Centre.

What should we be telling parents?

This feature is not new, many other apps and social networks, such as Instagram, also use location services and map search facilities. The best approach is likely to be to focus on positive behaviours, safe usage and parenting, rather than on specific apps.

As per our previous advice, unless there has been a specific incident relating to the app, then we would not necessarily recommend sending out blanket ‘warning notices’ or letters to parents. Instead, this may be a good opportunity to remind parents about the importance of discussing online safety and actively engaging with their children online.

You may find it useful to share these conversation starter ideas available from Childnet International or the NSPCC Share Aware resources.

If schools do decide to share Snapchat specific information with their parents and carers, then the following links provide general advice about the app, including their community guidelines, privacy settings and how to block content or other users:

What should we be telling children and young people?

When talking to children and young people about online safety, it is vital that we (as adults) acknowledge the attraction and exciting opportunities that new technology offers, as well as offering sensible advice and guidance.

It may not be necessary to name the app or service specifically, but you may want to use this opportunity to start talking to pupils about location services and how to keep themselves safe. Why not let the young people themselves lead the discussion on how they might use this new technology and what the potential risks may be; encourage them to explore ways in which they can minimise the risks and keep themselves and others safe. Empowering pupils to think critically about the online tools they use and their own behaviour is likely to be more effective than simply telling them not to use it!

You may also find Childnet International’s top tips about location services useful to share with pupils.

BBC Newsround has also published a useful video with information for children and young people.

What should I do if I still have a concern?

If a school or setting has concerns regarding a specific online safety incident that is likely to impact the safety and wellbeing of their community, they should follow their usual child protection procedures.

If Kent schools/settings would like further advice regarding SnapChat or online safety then they can contact the Education Safeguarding Adviser (Online Protection) or the e-Safety Development Officer within the Education Safeguarding team.

Ashley Assiter, e-Safety Development Officer

Posted in 2017, apps, e-Safety, Online safety, Snapchat, Social Networking, UK Safer Internet Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety Live Briefings are coming to Kent next week!

The Education Safeguarding Team are working with the UK Safer Internet Centre to support Online Safety Live briefing sessions. Online Safety Live is a programme of events delivered by the South West Grid for Learning. They are designed exclusively multi-agency for professionals working with children and young people and cover a broad range of online safety topics. The programme is funded so the briefings are available to delegates at no cost.

An Online Safety Live briefing event is taking place in Kent on the 22nd June 2017,  13:30 – 15:30 at Kent Police Training College. At the end of the event, all delegates will receive access to an online resource area containing links to all the materials mentioned, signposting to sources of help and support as well as a live copy of the presentation itself.

For more information or to book your place, please access the attached poster or visit


Posted in 2017, e-Safety, Education Leaders and Managers, Kent, Schools, SWGfL, UK Safer Internet Centre | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Be Internet Awesome”: New Google resource to help KS2 children make smart decisions online #esafety

Google has released a new educational tool designed to offer children and young people explore safely what the online world has to offer. Although initially developed within the USA for use with children in grades 3-5, the resource is likely to be useful for schools and settings to use with KS2 children and their parents and carers.

‘Interland’ invites children to ‘be internet awesome’ by learning how to conduct themselves in a ‘smart, positive and kind’ manner while online. ‘Be Internet Awesome’ focuses on five key lessons to help children navigate the online world with confidence:

  • Be Internet Smart: Share with care
  • Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake
  • Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
  • Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind
  • Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out

The program includes a range of specific curriculum resources for children, teachers and parents, so everyone has the tools they need to learn and participate in the conversation.

To help children learn these lessons in a way that’s fun and immersive, Google have created an interactive, online game called ‘Interland‘. It’s free and web-based so it’s easily accessible and is in a format popular with young people. In this imaginary world of four lands, children will combat hackers, phishers, ‘oversharers’ and bullies, practicing the skills they need to be good digital citizens.

‘Interland’ and it’s supporting resources have been developed in collaboration with Online Safety advisory groups including the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely,’

There is also a ‘Be Internet Awesome’ pledge for children to share with their parents and carers. If parents and carers are continuing the online safety conversation at home then this can encourage the entire family to engage safely online. Google have also teamed up with a group of YouTube creators, including John Green, the What’s Inside? Family and MinutePhysics, to launch the #BeInternetAwesome Challenge, a video series that makes talking about online safety fun and accessible.

We would encourage schools and settings to explore these resources and they may be helpful as part of an embedded and progressive whole school curriculum.

Posted in e-Safety, Google+, Internet Safety, Online safety, Parents, Primary Resources, resource, Resources, Schools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment