Our ICT Director, Joe Haig encourages us to consider the following:
Don’t talk to strangers
For generations parents have cautioned their children against talking to strangers. Sadly, while this provides some degree of protection, we now know that most of the offences committed against children are perpetrated by someone they know. Similarly, many cyberbullying incidents, and other incidents relating to misuse of the Internet, are often initiated by someone known to the child. In an age of increased connectivity though, from online gaming to messenger services, it’s still important to teach our children not to trust strangers.
Random chat apps
Children may be attracted to these out of curiosity and excitement. All of these apps are inappropriate for children and can quickly lead them to find themselves in compromising situations.
Online challenges are back in the news. They exploit vulnerable children by setting them tasks which initially seem relatively innocuous but as the victim progresses they become darker. Often disturbing images are sent to the child, who may feel trapped and become frightened of the consequences of quitting the challenge, for example that an entity will punish them. In addition to risks to the child’s safety and mental health these schemes are often run by scammers who are seeking personal information.
Offenders who groom children tend to play online games between 3PM and 5PM because there’s a greater likelihood that children will be unsupervised. Make sure you’re aware of the levels of communication allowed by the games your child plays and that they aren’t putting themselves at risk.
It’s worth considering using a system such as Disney Circle to monitor Internet use and filter content, particularly if you have younger children.