Technology provides deaf children with a new horizon in learning, communicating with friends and family and ultimately is vital to any modern workplace. At Hamilton Lodge we are enthusiastic about pupils using smart phones and social technology to enhance their lives, learning and relationships. We teach children and young people about Cyber Safety and ensure that they are aware of risks and take steps to keep themselves safe online.
Our ICT teacher, Neil Inman, is a trained Cyber Safety Ambassador and includes this work in the curriculum. Support staff and child care staff as well as teachers are alert to the use of technology and are vigilant about safety and protecting our pupils.
Keeping safe online
At Hamilton Lodge we are positive about the use of social media because advances in communication technology have greatly enhanced the ability of deaf young people to communicate with one another and the wider world. However we recognise that young people can be vulnerable online and so do as much as we can to give pupils and students the information they require to keep themselves safe whilst using the internet. We regularly discuss safe behaviour online with all pupils and students via assemblies, ICT lessons, SPACE lessons and informal conversation. The message is that your child knows it’s important that they tell an adult they trust if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
The Hamilton Lodge internet and WiFi has robust filtering and parental controls which enable us to as confident as we can be that pupils/students are not accessing inappropriate material via the schools systems.
Safe online behaviour is as much an issue for parents as it is in school so in order to support parents we include some general guidelines and useful information about keeping your child safe online
Online Safety-Advice for Parents
Talk about how the internet will be used in your house. As a family discuss what information should be kept private (such as personal information, photos etc) and agree rules for making and meeting online friends. Talk to your child about what they are doing online much like you would about their offline activities. Ask them to show you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online. It’s essential to be realistic: banning the internet or websites you do not think are suitable often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.
Encourage sensible use of social sites
Make sure your child knows how to block and report people on their Facebook or other social media sites if they receive nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply and to keep any evidence.
Consider locating your computers and laptops in a family area where you can monitor your children’s online activity. Think about where you allow your child to use social media and video apps like Facetime and SKYPE. Remember there are lots of devices which can be used to go online. Visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/a-parents-guide for safety information about consoles and devices
Discuss using strong passwords with your child so they understand how they can protect their online accounts. It’s important they know they need to keep their passwords safe and not share them with anyone or use the same password for several accounts. If your child’s account is “hacked” or compromised then make sure they change their password and report any concerns or suspicious activity. For more advice on using strong passwords visit http://tinyurl.com/Getsafeonlinepassword. You can check how secure your passwords are by visiting this app: http://howsecureismypassword.net/.
Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and your wifi connection secure. Use Parental Control software for computers, laptops, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact. Always remember that parental control tools are not always completely effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
You may find more useful information at the following websites;
‘We can help and protect you’. If someone has acted inappropriately online towards you or someone you know, you can report it directly to CEOP. It could be sexual chat, being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or someone asking to meet up.
This scheme highlights the importance of online safety and promotes use of the “Report Abuse” button to report illegal or inappropriate online behaviour.
The UK Safer Internet Centre, where you can find e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet.
- http://www.childnet.com/ – Visit the ‘Know It All’ Section for an interactive guide about online safety
- www.getsafeonline.org – Free up-to-date Security advice including using complex passwords and managing hacked accounts
- www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/ – Safety centre specifically for parents.
- www.ndcs.org.uk –Comprehensive website with lots of information on a wide range of topics including Safeguarding.
- www.safenetwork.org.uk/training_and_awareness/Pages/parents_and_carers.aspx- Lots of generic advice for parents.
HOW TO keep safe online
There are lots of great resources for deaf children online about how to keep safe online. Here are some of the ones we have shared via our facebook page: