Safeguarding and online safety are at the forefront of our minds, particularly as we continue to navigate our Remote Learning Environment (RLE).
Digital technology and the internet are an amazing resource which bring exciting new experiences, learning opportunities and methods of communication. Use of online resources can and should be positive and inspiring. However, it is important that children, parents and professionals alike are aware of the risks associated with the digital environment and how to behave responsibly and safely when using these technologies.
There is much we do as a College to educate and regulate the pupils in their use of online technology. As part of our commitment to promoting its safe and responsible use, we feel it is important to help parents understand your child’s online world, to build the confidence you need to have important conversations around online safety and to know where to go for help and advice. This area of the website is dedicated to sharing useful information and resources to keep us all informed and engaged with the young people in our care as they navigate a safe passage through their digital worlds.
We recommend using the safeguarding principles of always taking the children’s concerns seriously, always acting in the best interests of the children and ‘speak out – stay safe’.
What Is Online Safety?
Online safety, also called ‘internet safety’, ‘e-safety’ or ‘web safety’, is often defined as the safe and responsible use of technology. This includes the use of the internet and other means of communication using electronic media (e.g., text messages, gaming devices, email, etc).
In practice, staying safe online is as much about behaviour as it is about electronic security. When considering the possible ways in which young people in our care are at risk, the four Cs are a good method to help shape our thinking:
- Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material;
- Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users;
- Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; and
- Commercialism: being affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online.
What Are the Risks of Being Online?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully helps to provide an overview of the broad risks that need to be considered in the context of online safety:
- Online gambling;
- The dark web;
- Online relationships;
- Live streaming;
- Sex trafficking;
- Fake news;
- Online reputation;
- Popups and advertisements;
- File sharing;
- Screen addiction;
- Indecent images and pornography;
- Age-inappropriate content;
- Sexual harassment;
- Online grooming;
- Online bullying; and
These documents outline best practice on social media:
The Net Aware app is a useful guide to the social networks used by children as well as containing up-to-date news about online matters. It is free, and quick and easy to download.
Further useful guides can be found at Safer Internet.
If you are an adult and you have concerns about the safety of a child:
Call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com.
The NSPCC also have a helpline more specifically for matters of online safety. If you are an adult and feel you need support or advice in dealing with an issue of a child’s online safety or on more technical matters (for example, privacy settings or how to block/report):
Call the free O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002.
If at any stage you feel a child is at risk or in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
To report concerns about online safety or if you feel a crime has been committed but that an emergency response is not required, call the police on 101.
If you are concerned that an adult is behaving inappropriately towards a child on the internet, report this to Child Exploitation and Online Command (CEOP) at www.ceop.police.uk.
If you have concerns about an issue of online safety at Marlborough College, please do not hesitate to contact us through any of the usual channels.
Websites and Resources