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The internet is a great way for children and young people to connect with others and learn new things. As interactions between people are increasingly taking place on-line it is essential that we safeguard children as robustly in the virtual world as we do in the real one. We can do this through:

  • Promoting safe on-line behaviour to children, young people and their families
  • Taking children, young people and their families’ on-line actions and networks into account when providing support

Children, young people and their families go online for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To search for information or content on search engines
  • Share images and watch videos through websites or mobile apps
  • Use social networking websites
  • Write or reply to messages on forums and message boards
  • Play games along or with others through websites, apps or games consoles
  • Chat with other people through on-line, games, messenger apps, games consoles, webcams, social network, and other instant communication tools
  • Find new friends and partners

There are lots of benefits in going on-line, and also some risks. These include:

  • Exposure to and sharing of explicit material (including sexting)
  • Grooming
  • Radicalisation
  • Exploitation
  • Identity theft
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Cyber-hacking

It’s important that as professionals you are confident in talking with children, young people and their families about their on-line choices and interactions. This includes tablets, lap-tops, phones etc, for example:

  • Personal information shared on-line: checking privacy settings, sharing contact details, geotagging
  • Images shared and online communication: on-line support networks, inappropriate images (e.g. sexting), online bullying or harassment
  • On-line relationships: safe online friendships, meeting up with on-line friends or potential partners

Advice and resources

Live Streaming is currently being highlighted as a major concern by CEOP. Live streaming is increasingly becoming one of the most popular online activities for children and young people. Apps such as Musical.ly, Live.me, Periscope and YouNow are all soaring in popularity, which has seen other well established apps such as Facebook adding live streaming functions

To support those working with children and young people, Think U Know have created a range of activities focused on live streaming. Key issues covered are:

  • The types of tactics offenders use on live streaming platforms
  • Skills to think critically about the people they meet online
  • Identifying and responding to pressure and manipulation online
  • Issues such as low confidence and self-esteem that can make children and young people particularly vulnerable ‘when live’
  • Understanding online sexual abuse and sources of support
  • Building resilience in children and young people

The package contains resources for both primary and secondary aged children, and their parents/carers. It can be downloaded from www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/live-streaming

Online Safety Event 21st June 2017

In June the PSCB teamed up with colleagues from South West Grid for Learning, Barnardos, NSPCC, Portsmouth University, Parent Zone and King Richard’s School to provide an event to raise awareness of current online safety issues. We know that in the world we live in today the internet plays an important part in all our daily lives. Unfortunately for some these experiences can be negative, placing our children in society at significant risk. The aim for the event was to provide the attendees with knowledge and resources to take back to their workplace settings; to educate early on the children they work with about online safety so that they can have positive experiences and a better, safer internet. Amongst the topics considered on the day were grooming, sexting, VPNs, cybercrime and how to engage better with parents. Below are some of the presentations given on the day:

Trolls by Portsmouth City Council

Online Grooming by NSPCC

Sexting by Hampshire Constabulary

Working with Parents by Parent Zone

Cyber-awareness and Well-Being by Portsmouth University

South West Grid for Learning offers a wide range of products and services, primarily for education settings. They also run a Professionals Online Safety Helpline 0344 381 4722 for professionals who work with children and young people in the UK, specifically tackling the area of Online Safety. The Helpline provides support with all aspects of digital and online issues such as social networking sites, cyber-bullying, sexting, online gaming and child protection online. The Helpline aims to resolve issues professionals face about themselves, such as protecting professional identity and reputation, as well as young people in relation to online safety. Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

If you’re looking for training on online safety you may wish to consider these courses, however there are other organisation that offer similar courses that you might wish to explore. The Lurking Trolls campaign has resources to help primary school aged children understand online risks and how to respond to them. CEOP Thinkuknow  provides advice for parents and carers, children and young people, and those that work with them. NSPCC Online Safety has further advice and tools. Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) CEOP is there to support young people, parents and carers while surfing online, and offers help and advice on topics such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • hacking
  • harmful content

It also enables people to immediately report anything on-line which they find concerning, such as harmful or inappropriate content, or possible grooming behaviour. For more information, or to report concerns, simply click here.

For more information read the latest edition of the On-line Safety Newsletter.

Vodafone and The Diana Award have set up this digital skills programme to encourage older children to pass on their knowledge.