Welcome to our first ever ALNS safeguarding bulletin where we are hoping to share with you the latest knowledge, tips and support services for various issues in order that we can work together to keep your children safe. Each bulletin will focus on a different area of safeguarding and will appear on a half termly basis.
Key Focus – ONLINE SAFETY
99% of 12-15 year olds are online over 20 hours a week.
71% who own a mobile phone are allowed to take it to bed
How have things changed?
Ten years ago – the advice was check you know your friends in real life, watch privacy setting, don’t share personal details.
Now – its all about using open social media spaces – getting likes and followers for your content – the more the merrier. An instant response is expected from people leading to pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out)
Advice and guidance needs to change – its about:-
- Content – What children post
- Contact – Who are they interacting with and how – is it kind?
- Conduct – Does it link well to your values as a family/in society.
Current favourite Apps for teens and pre-teens (and age limits):
Age Limit – 13
Age Limit – 13
Age Limit – 13
Also: Minecraft (13), Roblox (13 – But a more tightly controlled account can be created at 10)
“It could happen here!”
Schools are encouraged to understand clearly that all safeguarding issues – including those connected to online safety could happened within our community.
National statistics show that:
- 90% of girls have received unwanted explicit sexual content
- NSPCC says that “sexual communication with a child offences have risen 69% since 2017/18 when the offence was introduced.
- Internet Watch Foundation report a 77% increase in self -generated child sexual content between 2019 and 2020.
In the media recently:
The Times (Oct 2021) – Facebook knows Instagram is damaging the health of children. An algorithm “led children from very innocuous topics like healthy recipes…..all the way to anorexic-promoting content in a very short period” says Frances Haugen – Facebook whistleblower, a member of the misinformation team at Facebook. The Royal Society of Public Health report “status of mind” named Instagram the most damaging of the commonly used apps to children.
Guardian (Oct 2021) – a feed of videos from accounts users may not even follow….makes it possible for problematic content to start “trending” , TikTok has dozens of beauty filters that let young girls change their skin, face shape and body shape contributing to negative body image.
How can you keep your child safe online?
Communicate with your child – What apps are they using and how? Are they worried about anything on their “online world”. Learn the lingo they use – eg “nudes” refer to any naked or half naked image – young people don’t use the term “sexting” – they say “nudes” for all sexual content.
No screens in the bedroom – There are so many reasons to keep phones out of bedrooms. If they are receiving unkind content, it allows them to escape it. It allows for better quality sleep without the lure of checking their phone or being kept awake too long by the “…” or “someone is typing” or gaming or falling down the youtube video rabbit hole (we have all been there!), It allows for better monitoring of what they are using their phones for. A small-scale study of 1 tutor group at ALNS last week revealed that 89% of students took their phones to bed.
Check their phones – The same study revealed that 56% of parents never checked their phones or device content and the other 44% only did so rarely. Checking phones allows you to see what they are doing but also them knowing you might allow a proactive approach to stop them making unwise choices in the first place.
Agree boundaries – Time on phone? Cut off time each day? During meals? What time is for family screen-free time? (then the hardest bit potentially – role model it!)
- Thinkuknow.co.uk – useful resources for parents and for children (specialist content for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities too)
- Internetmatters.org – internet safety advice and information
- Netaware.org.uk – a joint enterprise between O2 and the NSPCC for wellbeing and safety tips. They have also linked with Ambitious about Autism to support children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions to use the internet safely
- Reportharmfulcontent.com – allowing anyone to report content they find concerning online
- CEOP.police.uk – CEOP is a law enforcement agency, there to keep children and young people safe from grooming and online sexual abuse. You are able to make a report or seek advice
If you have any concerns you want to discuss at school please contact your child’s tutor, their Head of House or the Designated Safeguarding Lead – Mrs Holness.