Safer Internet Day 2023 - Want to talk about it-Making space for conversations about life online
This week all classes have been learning about online safety and talking about the things they use the internet for. The children and teachers have discussed how to use the internet safely in school and at home and have also been reminded to go to a trusted adult if they every need help or are upset by anything on the internet.
All children will be signing the Internet Safety Agreement for their year groups to show that they are responsible internet users.
Please discuss internet safety with your children, some of these websites have been used in school to promote conversations about life online and there are many other useful links on this page. Thank you!
For Parents and Carers
CoderDojo is a global movement of volunteers, set up to encourage kids and young people to become creators rather than just users of computers. The one rule at CoderDojo is to ‘be cool’. Find out more about CoderDojo.
Launched in September 2013 CoderDojo Brighton is a free coding club for young people. Our aim is to encourage creativity and learning at your own pace. Our Mentors are here to help you decided what you want to do and how to do it.
If you’re between 6-17 and interested in programming, our sessions generally take place every other Saturday morning between 10am and 12 noon on Zoom. We hope to be able to return to our usual home at the Creativity Suite at the University of Brighton Huxley Building later in the year.
If you’re a girl, don’t believe the stereotypes that say programming is only for boys – come along and join the other girls who already come to CoderDojo Brighton!
To register for CoderDojo Brighton and receive regular updates simply fill out this form. There’s no need to register for each session – you can come and go as you please.
Want to get involved as a Mentor? – find out more
Something new to read about Online Safety.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge?
Be warned it is quite graphic however if your child mentions it you might want to find out more.
ONLINE SAFETY UPDATE FOR YEAR 6 PARENTS (AND OTHERS POSSIBLY)
Every year at this time we write to parents about some of the areas that our older children are exploring. This has been the same in all my years at Fairlight and I am sure will continue for years to come. From online issues. To problems at the Patch or at The Level. To walking to school.
This is all part of Year 6 growing up and being given more responsibility but also taking more responsibility.
Whilst our job in school is not to tell you how to parent or in fact often to deal with things that happen out of school or online sadly we end up involved as we see the real impact of the problems that happen out of school and the impact then in school.
I have once again this week been shown content online that shocks me- because of its content but also because of who has sent it.
I am therefore writing the below to outline a few points
Dear Y6 Parent/Carers,
It has been drawn to our attention that the children within the year group have 'Class & Year Group Whatsapp Groups'.
The reason that these groups have been drawn to our attention is due to a number of parental complaints that we, as a school, are receiving regarding the content. Reports from parents include the inappropriate use of language and images. As you can imagine, all of these messages are causing a great deal of stress and anxiety to the children and staff in school especially those children who the messages target.
More concerning is that the administrators of these groups (there are several) are often the children themselves. The children appear to be in control of who is invited and managing the content including often renaming the groups to offensive names.
Whatsapp is a social media messaging platform that has an age guidance of 13 years old (which is soon to be raised to 16 years old) so the platform is deemed inappropriate for children of ten and eleven years old. As a school, we would remind you that children of primary school age should not be using Whatsapp and that you should have your children remove themselves from these groups as they are not old enough to be using Whatsapp.
Should you as a parent choose to allow your child to use this platform, it is your responsibility to check the content regularly and report anything offensive or inappropriate to the platform regulators.
In light of what has been drawn to our attention this week, can we ask that you check the class group and discuss our concerns with your children in an appropriate manner.
My own advice as a teacher, parent and former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) trainer is:
- talk openly about online content with your child (this includes apps and mobile phones),
- remind them they can't unsay things online- just like in real life,
- remind them that "if you wouldn't say it to your nan's face- then don't say it online",
- ask to look at the groups and content with them,
- agree that you will do this regularly,
- report problems- either to the platform regulator or to the other parents.
And please remember you are the parent and can take their mobile phone or ban them from using it at any time.
Having a mobile phone doesn't make them safer or mean they don't have to follow simple life rules.
More children get knocked over by cars now because they are on their phones when walking home or to school then before mobile phones became the "in thing" as road sense is what is needed to cross a road- not a mobile phone!!!!
SQUID GAMES UPDATE
What is Squid Game?
Netflix’s Squid Game is set to become the streaming service’s most successful show of all time, with huge numbers of viewers taking to social media to discuss each new episode. The South Korean thriller features some scenes of fairly brutal violence and is rated 15 by the BBFC. It follows a group of adults who compete to win innocent-looking playground games, but who are killed if they do not succeed at the tasks.
An unexpected success in terms of viewing figures, Squid Game’s popularity is beginning to spread across various online platforms. There has been a slew of content created – ranging from memes to apps – that convey the violence of the show, so it is important for parents, carers and educators to understand the basis of Squid Game and the potential risks to young people who might be exposed to it.
What are the hazards for children?
Squid Game’s 15 rating has not prevented clips and images from the show being uploaded onto social media sites such as , with the #SquidGame hashtag being viewed more than 22.8 billion times. There have been reports of children who have accounts on these platforms inadvertently viewing gory, explicit scenes from the programme, and parents and carers should be mindful of the prevalence of these uploads.
The popularity of the programme has also led to based on various scenes, which see people taking part in seemingly innocent children’s games. On the show, however, characters are executed if they fail in the game – and videos of people pretending to kill each other after competing in Squid Game-style contests are going viral on social media, where they are easily accessible to children.
What is the Squid Game Challenge app?
Squid Game Challenge (also known as K-Game Challenge) is an app for smartphones and tablets that has been released for Android and iOs, and the two systems differ significantly on their for the game. The iTunes Store rates the app as 12+ (advising of “mild/infrequent horror/fear themes”), while the PEGI rating for Android is just 3+, which means that very young children might be able to download and play the game even with parental controls activated on their device or through Google Play.
The gameplay is frequently interrupted by pop-ups and ads (sometimes appearing while the user is rapidly tapping their screen while attempting to complete the challenge). This could easily lead to unwanted purchases or accidental visits to inappropriate sites beyond the app.
What can trusted adults do?
As a parent or carer, keep a watchful eye on the content that your children are viewing. and chat about how they have been spending time on their devices; let them ask questions, too. Ensure that the are activated and that age-restricted child profiles are properly set up any on-demand services available through the family TV (such as , in this case) to prevent inappropriate content being streamed.
If you see your child replicating the challenges from the show or hear them talking about scenes and characters from Squid Game, it would be a timely opportunity to discuss with them that the programme is not intended for children, that much of the content would be inappropriate for their age, and that the violence in the series is very realistic and often upsetting.
Keeping children safe online is very important. Please read this to find out more about a current issue that you may want to discuss with your child.
The internet has changed all of our lives, particularly our children’s. It is an amazing tool and resource. For parents and carers however this opens up a whole new world of things to be aware of. For many of us, this can all be a bit too much. You might be struggling to keep up with the things your child is doing online, you might wonder whether what they are doing is safe, and you might also be thinking how can I be as good a parent online as I am offline? Even those parents who think they know about computers and the internet are struggling to keep up to date with the speed of the technology- Facebook, Whatsapp,Twitter, X Box Live etc. etc.
This is a great place for parents to find out how to be a good parent online and how to be proactive with working with children in keeping them safe.
As a school we would be happy if we get enough interest to run sessions for parents about online safety and how to keep your child safe. Speak to your child’s classteacher if you are interested.
Thank you for your continued support in ensuring our children are safe but also learn valuable lessons and are good members of both the local community as well as the online community.
As ever if you wish to discuss any aspect raised in this letter please do not hesitate to contact the school.
https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ is a good place to go (it is supported by O2 and the NSPCC) if as a parent you want to find out more about the apps and technology that are being used. If your child uses Whatapp for example I would ask you to go to this link and read what is written by experts about Whatsapp.
Like me you may be shocked to find out the age recommendations and the fact that primary age children should not be using it. There is also advice on a range of apps used for communication as well as for mobile games.
SOME HELPFUL PLACES TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION
To support online safety at home please see the links below