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On Tuesday we celebrated Safer Internet Day @ ACE. Throughout school, children were taught about how to keep safe and how to have a positive presence on the internet. The theme of Free To Be Me gave us the chance to reflect on how the websites we visit, our avatars, our comments and our posts all contribute to build a picture of who we are. We can celebrate the fact that most children showed that they are well informed and understand all the issues involved in online safety, but we must bear in mind that sometimes they don’t always apply the rules to themselves and fail to act on their own advice.
Our major concerns for this year are much the same as ever.
- Children may be at risk because of their own behaviour, for example, by sharing too much information
- Age-inappropriate or unreliable content can be available to children.
- Children can be contacted by bullies or by people who groom or seek to abuse them.
- Young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising in apps, games and websites.
- ‘Normalization’ of unhealthy attitudes.
We are continually trying to ensure that children can stay in control of the digital lives but your support is crucial in helping them to navigate safely through the online world.
Please be aware that unlike film and books, the impact of video-games on society and especially young children is not fully understood, particularly in their potential for health or harm. That means that it is even more important for parents and carers to accurately understand video game violence and the context in which it exists. Playing games together as a family, stopping technology migrating to bedrooms, making use of PEGI ratings and having open conversations about these topics creates a healthy environment to maximise the enjoyment of this aspect of family life whilst avoiding potential problems and dangers.
Please take time to talk to your children about their use of the internet. The Parentzone website has a superb section for parents, which has a wealth of information about apps, sites, games, tablets, consoles, browsers and smarttv.
Check our website for further links and please don’t hesitate to send me an email or arrange an appointment to see me if you need any specific advice or technical help.