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Internet Safety

WMRSASC Parents/Carers Internet Safety Bulletin No. 3

Dear Parents/Carers,

During Lockdown many of us have utilised online communication platforms such as Zoom and House Party to help us feel connected to friends, family and work colleagues.

Our children and young people are also using these and other social media platforms, both with and without parental supervision.

Whilst we would like to trust that such apps provide a suitable level of safety, you may have seen headlines regarding concerns that the rise in use of online platforms has led to platform users being exposed to explicit and pornographic material by other people participating in chats, such as “Zoom meetings targeted by abuse footage sharers”

“The huge uptake of Zoom has created the new phenomenon of 'zoombombing' which sees uninvited guests join video conferences, usually to shout abuse, share pornography or make racist remarks.”

So how do we respond to this situation if it happens to our children?

 On their website The NSPCC state that “it’s important to know how to reassure young people and help them know what to do and where to go for support if they see inappropriate content online.

If your child has seen inappropriate content online, you can:

  • talk with them about what they've seen – let them know what is, and isn’t, appropriate for their age.
  • reassure them they can come to you, another trusted adult or Childline if they're worried about something.
  • get advice on setting up parental controls.
  • avoid ‘sharenting’ or sharing explicit or inappropriate content you’ve seen online to raise awareness. Sharing content of physical or sexual abuse is illegal and can be upsetting to the child and others who come across it.
  • report any inappropriate, illegal, explicit, identifying or distressing content to CEOP through their website.
  • block any distressing, inappropriate or upsetting content on social media websites.”

 If you require further information on support available from a Childrens Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (CHISVA) or Childrens Counsellor following an incident of online abuse, please visit our website or call us on 01905 611655.

The Internet is also proving invaluable at this time for our children to continue their education and keep in touch with their friends through the many social networking sites. With this in mind we felt it important to send out some support for parents and carers on supporting your children and Teenagers in navigating the Internet safely.

There are many organisations providing detailed information on a range of topics in this area such as talking to your child about online safety, the risks of online games, livestreaming and parental controls. - It can be hard to know how to talk to your child about online safety. From setting up parental controls to advice on sexting, online games and video apps, we can help you to understand the risks and keep your child safe. - You don’t need to be an expert on the internet to help your child stay safe online. Our advice and resources are here to support you as you support your child to use the internet safely, responsibility and positively.

Unfortunately whilst the Internet is a fantastic resource it can also be used inappropriately by both adults and other children. If your child or teenager experiences any difficulties whilst using the Internet there are organisations that can offer support.

Top Tip: It is never the child or teenagers fault if they encounter abuse online, it is the responsibility of the adult or other child who is acting irresponsibly or breaking the law. - Having a mobile phone and going online is great for lots of reasons. But it's important to be aware of the dangers too. Learn how to stay safe online. - Are you worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online?

Top Tip: Perhaps you could set your child or Teenager a project to research the positives and possible pitfalls of the Social Platform they are bugging you to let them download onto their phone or write a family friendly quiz that they, their cousins and wider family could take part in.