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St. Laurence OTooles Primary School Belleeks

Safer Internet Day - 11th February 2020

3rd Feb 2020

Theme: Together for a better Internet

Social media and the internet is in so many ways a wonderful resource, however it can be a real source of worry to parents and to ourselves here in school.

Frequently we are delivering the message to our students and staff advising them how to stay safe when using the internet or the many different social media sites they like to use. We encourage them to think, spot and speak out if they feel compromised in anyway about something they have seen, heard or read, or have been subject to via the internet.

During Anti-Bullying Week in November, All State and Reim Training Services delivered excellent Internet Safety Workshops to our Year 5, 6 and 7 pupils. These workshops were excellent and it was wonderful to witness how articulate our pupils were when speaking about their online experiences, and how the vast majority of them had a good understanding of how to stay safe online, and indeed how to behave online.

Despite this however, we are concerned about the increase in issues we are facing on a daily basis with regards to children using Messenger Aps, Social Media and Gaming. Children are engaging in group chats and whilst these chats can be used in a very positive way, they are also providing a channel for negativity, nastiness and bullying. At times, negativity is intended, and at other times, negativity can be perceived by the reader of the message- causing a whole array of issues which make their way into school and impact adversely on our pupils’ learning.

As a school, we are also noticing so many adverse effects of over-use and misuse of the internet. We are witnessing a decrease in children’s ability to focus, obsessions with behaviours of YouTubers and influencers and a worrying decline in children’s mental health as a result of things they have seen online which they are simply too young to understand.

With this in mind, we would strongly urge parents to take action with regards to your child’s online activity. The school can only educate them and monitor them whilst they are in our care. We have no control of their online behaviour when they are at home- that is entirely down to the parents and carers.

Please monitor their online activity regularly, limit their access to the internet especially during the week, speak openly about the chats that they engage in online and the groups that they participate in, do not allow them to access games or social media that is rated above their age to protect their own well being.

On Tuesday 11th February, our school will be participating in Safer Internet Day 2020. We will be using the Safer Internet campaign toolkit ‘Free to be Me: Exploring Online Identity’. We will also be creating our own video which will explore what the internet means to our children.

As well as information on our school website, below are some really useful websites that give advice and guidance for parents.

If you feel in any way we can offer you or your child any further support please do not hesitate to contact us, and if you would like to share these resources with other parents / carers please do so.

More information regarding online safety can be found at:

www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents

www.internetmatters.org

www.saferinternet.org.uk/advise-andresources/parents-and-carers

www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety

www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/