The benefits of modern communications technology are enormous - but instant communication comes with drawbacks as well.
Something posted on a social networking site can be shared around the world in a matter of minutes - amusing if it's a cat on a skateboard, perhaps not so much if you're the subject...
CEOP (Child Exploitation and On-line Protection) is the country's leading organisation dealing with child exploitation and online bullying. Their ThinkUKnow website is a great starting place for anyone concerned about eSafety, whether you are:
- a student suffering cyberbullying or on-line exploitation
- a parent/carer or teacher wanting information and resources
- anyone needing to report abuse
Worried about something that's happened online?
Should you encounter something online that makes you feel uncomfortable or worried the best thing you can do is to talk to an adult about it - talk to whoever you feel most comfortable talking to - a parent, a member of school staff. CEOP offer advice on who to talk to - and what to do next if you're an adult the young person is talking to - at www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre
Should you encounter something online that concerns you in school please alert our I.T. Support team by using the "Report a Fault" icon on the desktop - they will pursue the matter on your behalf.
Using social media
There are minimum age requirements to have an account on most social networking sites. If you ever come across anything on the internet, whether it’s on a social networking website or anywhere else, where people are making suggestions to you that make you feel uncomfortable or upset, please tell your parents or another adult. You can also report any unwanted attention to the site itself or CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online and Protection Centre), detailed above.
Keep it private
Don’t post anything on a social networking site which gives your address, school, phone number or which will allow a stranger to contact/find you in real life. When you set up a social networking account, make sure your privacy settings do not allow strangers to access your profile. This includes having a secure password that contains a mixture of different characters (numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols). Make sure you don’t ID your friends either.
Don’t upload anything that might embarrass you at a later date. You might not realise it but things you post on the internet now could come back to cause problems for you later on, for instance when you attend an interview for college or a job. If you have a webcam never be pressured into taking pictures of yourself that you wouldn’t want other people to see. You could also be committing a crime by distributing indecent images of yourself.
While some apps promote that data and information that you send will not be held and stored on devices, all information is often stored on a central server or can be accessed on your device using specialised software.
If you’re using a shared computer at school, in an internet cafe or library then you’ll stay logged on even when you close the browser. So don’t forget to log off when you’ve finished the session.
If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed online then please tell your parents or another adult. If they’re doing it to you, then they might also be doing it to other young people. It’s particularly important to never meet up in real life with anyone you meet online. If anyone suggests that you meet, particularly if they suggest you keep it secret, don’t. Anyone can create a dishonest profile online – you don’t know who they really are.
When you go into a social networking site people might approach you to be a friend but remember that no matter how much they tell you about themselves, they are still strangers and they might not be telling you the truth about themselves. There have been cases of adults pretending to be young people online who try to involve young people in inappropriate activities. This is called grooming and is a criminal offence. CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) investigates cases of sexual abuse and grooming on the internet. You, your parents, or anyone else who is concerned, can report incidents by clicking the red button on the top right hand corner of the CEOP website. Although the police can get information from your computer’s hard drive, it’s helpful if you don’t delete anything you think is inappropriate until the police have decided whether they need it as evidence.
How to report bullying or abuse
All social networking sites have a link where you can report abuse or inappropriate content. It is encouraged that all inappropriate content is reported. Remove or block the person that is sending the inappropriate content.
Don’t get into an argument or post offensive material
Don’t get into arguments online, this is called flaming and it can get nasty. If you break the rules of whichever site you’re on, the content is likely to be removed and you might have your membership terminated. You’re not allowed to upload anything which is offensive or racist and which promotes physical harm, so don’t make threats to anyone. Neither are you allowed to harass people or to encourage other people to harass them. You’re not supposed to ask for personal information from anyone under 18 either so if you are under 18 and anyone asks you, for instance, where you go to school, make sure you report them.
Receiving offensive comments
Do not respond to offensive comments. This could also incriminate you. Make sure you report any comments that you deem to be offensive. If the comments are from someone within school, please report this to your Form Tutor, Head of Year or another trusted adult. Do not upload anything yourself which is threatening, abusive or defamatory. It’s defamatory if you say untrue things about someone which give them a bad reputation they don’t deserve. It can also be harassment which is a criminal offence in the UK.
We want to encourage you to use the Internet and social media safely and appropriately. If you are in any doubt about any interactions that you see happening, or you feel upset, please speak to your Form Tutor, Head of Year or another trusted adult.as soon as you can.