Safeguarding and Online Safety
THE LATEST INFORMATION AND UPDATES TO HELP YOU KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE ONLINE.
TikTok: What Parents & Carers need to Know
National Online Safety has released a new guide for parents and carers. This week’s content is focused on one of the fastest-growing social media apps, TikTok.
TikTok is a free social media platform that lets users create, post and watch short videos. The app achieved popularity for its viral dance trends and celebrity cameos. it can be a creative and fun platform for teens to enjoy and now lots of businesses use it too. In 2022, an Ofcom report found it to be the most-used platform for posting content, particularly among 12-17-year-olds.
The app is not without its risks, however. Due to its popularity, it is often where viral trends/challenges start and get spread. Not all of these challenges are safe, yet young people can feel pressured into trying them. The app is also known for its addictive nature with Children in the UK spending an average of 102 minutes a day on the app.
There are things parents and carers are able to do to help limit the risks and help make the app a safer place, such as the family pairing function which lets them link their account to their child’s and adjust settings.
National Online Safety has compiled a full set of useful information, so please take the time to read the posters for the full guide.
New technologies have become integral to the lives of children and young people in today's society, both within school and in their lives outside of school. The internet and other digital information and communications technologies are powerful tools, which open up new opportunities for everyone. These technologies can stimulate discussion, promote creativity and develop awareness of context to promote effective learning. All users should have an entitlement to safe internet access at all times.
Many parents and carers do not feel comfortable with their level of understanding of e-safety risks and issues, yet they play an essential role in the education of their children and in the monitoring/regulation their online behaviour. Parents may underestimate how often children and young people come across potentially harmful and inappropriate material on the internet and may ne unsure how best to respond.
Below, you will find our Gateway Federation e-safety policy as well as links to a variety of websites and organisations that offer information and guidance on keeping you and your family safe online:
TIPS FOR PARENTS
The tips below are designed to give you a starting point for understanding and working with your child to make sure they stay safe online.
What is Swiggle? Great for Early Years and Key Stage 1 parents
Swiggle is a search engine designed to provide a safer environment for kids taking their first steps on the road to safe online searching.
Powered by Google Custom Search, the results are filtered using Google SafeSearch and educational resources prioritised. We also filter the search terms to check that Swiggle is not being used to search for inappropriate content.
Why Choose Swiggle?
Schools, teachers and parents want to have confidence that young people have a safe learning environment and they have the tools and skills required to access the wider internet safely.
There are a number of search engines geared towards this demographic, and most are driven by Google Custom Search, as Swiggle is. However, most have only done simple customisation, and are monetised through advertising.
Swiggle has been developed from the ground up with the child's safe online experience in mind, using our 20 years of expertise in safeguarding young people online. Its ad-free and free to use.
While no kids safe search engine can prevent access to everything that's inappropriate, and allow access to everything educational and beneficial, we've worked hard to balance this and provide a safe kids search engine that's free of advertising and free to use.
Install our browser extension to enable Swiggle as your default search engine on your device or in the classroom.
Talk to your child about their internet interests
Be a part of their online life if you can, involve the whole family in chats about the subject and most importantly show an interest. Remember that you may not like the internet, but most children are now digital natives whether we like it or not. Talk to them about the sites they visit and what they love about them and remember that if they know you understand, they are more likely to come to you if they encounter any problems.
Educate yourself about the capabilities of the digital devices they might have in the home
Many TVs, games consoles and handheld devices all access the internet in the same way that your home PC or laptop does. For instance, understand the difference between WI-Fi, internet and mobile internet (i.e 3G, 4G or 5G) Even if you have applied parental controls or similar, your child can bypass this by using their mobile phone data connection to access the internet.
Many games consoles (and the games they run) rely on an internet connection. As well as allowing "multiplayer" game play, they often allow real time conversations with people all around the world. Check the suitability of the games they play and remember that it's okay to say no.
Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world
Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
A good way to set boundaries with your child about what they can and can't do online is to make an agreement with them. Here are some examples of areas that you might want to chat about:
- Limits on the amount of time your child spends online or playing computer games
- Having regular screen breaks - at least 5 minutes every 45-60 minutes
- Not sharing any pictures they wouldn't be happy to share with you
- Not giving out personal details, such as mobile phone number and home address
- Coming to you if they are concerned. Or, if not, knowing where they can go for independent help and support
Investigate and apply "Parental Controls" to your home WI-Fi
Your internet service provider (ISP) will all have ways of setting controls on what internet content is allowed into your home. In the same way all internet traffic is filtered in school, your ISP can help you determine what is allowed at home. Some ISPs allow time limits/windows to be set as well.
Find out more about the risks your child might face
There are risks online and it's important that you help your child tackle them. Key ones are:
- Inappropriate websites
- Viruses, hacking and security
- Maintaining control over images and video - once content is on the internet, it is often out of your/their control