Safer Internet Day 2016 is being celebrated globally today, Tuesday 9th February with the slogan ‘Play your part for a better internet’. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration will see hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The online safety landscape has evolved significantly over recent years from a focus on creating a ‘safer’ internet to instead creating a ‘better’ internet. Whether we are children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry, decision makers or politicians, we all have a role to play.
There are ways in which we can all contribute to a ‘better’ internet:
- Children and young people can help to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations (and those of others), and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online. They can help to respond to the negative by being ‘helpful bystanders’: supporting peers if they encounter issues online, taking a stand against cyberbullying, and reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find. Above all, children and young people should be encouraged to take their stand as digital citizens of the future – participating in debates on the future of the internet, and making their voices heard.
- Parents and carers can help to create a better internet by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to engage with their children online, and helping their children to find and use good quality digital resources. They can help to respond to the negative by staying engaged with their child’s online activity (as appropriate to their age), by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and by also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.
- Educators, Early help and social care workers can help to create a better internet by equipping children and young people with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use – and create – positive content online. They can help to respond to the negative by supporting young people if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the resilience, confidence and skills that young people need to navigate the internet safely.
- Industry has a role to play by creating and promoting positive content and safe services online and by empowering users to respond to any issues by providing clear safety advice, a range of easy-to-use safety tools, and quick access to support if things do go wrong.
- Decision makers and politicians need to provide the culture in which all of the above can function and thrive – for example, by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn and teachers to teach about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support, and that industry are encouraged to self-regulate their content and services. They must also take the lead in governance and legislation, and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the online world.
Find out more about what is happening in the UK on Safer Internet Day at www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day
New Kent Online Safety (e-Safety) Policy Template and Guidance for 2016
To celebrate Safer Internet Day 2016, The Kent online safety (e-Safety) policy template has been updated for 2016. The Kent e-Safety Strategy Group has updated the content to reflect the rapid changes in technology, safeguarding guidance and legislation and also to promote good practice within schools, colleges and early year’s settings.
The online safety agenda applies to children and young people as well as adults and is concerned with the safe use of the Internet, mobile phones and other devices, both in and outside of schools and settings. It includes education for all members of the community regarding risks and responsibilities and is part of the safeguarding responsibility which applies to everyone working with children. All schools, colleges and settings need to recognise the importance of online safety as part of the wider safeguarding remit (Keeping CHildren Safe in Education 2015 and the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework) and the need to ensure that children feel safe online.
Today’s children now live in a digital world and it is essential that education settings recognise this when implementing their safeguarding responsibilities. Education leaders and managers must decide on the right balance for their community between controlling access to the internet and technology, setting rules and boundaries and educating children and staff about responsible use and must ensure that appropriate action has been taken to help protect staff, students and the wider school community online.
The updated 2016 online safety policy template is supported with updated guidance to enable education leaders and mangers consider policy decisions and implement action which best suits the needs of their own community. The 2016 template builds upon the foundations laid by previous editions and incorporates new content and is provided as a framework to support schools and other settings when writing and updating online safety policies.
New content includes:
- New and updated discussion material for leaders and managers in relation to establishing appropriate policies and procedures.
- New content regarding the key online safety responsibilities for members of the school/setting community.
- New content regarding social media.
- Updated content and guidance regarding the use of mobile phones and personal devices
- Updated information regarding local and national contacts and resources regarding online safety and updated information about relevant legislation.
- Additional appendices with suggested procedures regarding common online safety concerns including sexting, cyberbullying, online child sexual abuse and exploitation, radicalisation and indecent images.
Kent educations settings can consult with the Education Safeguarding Adviser (Online Protection) to discuss policies and procedures in relation to online safety responsibilities.
The updated policy template and guidance is available electronically on the Kelsi website