Online Safety Resources for Parents

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 15th October 2021

Online hate crime is a complex topic which uses a vast amount of police time and resources. It is important to note that online hate is treated in the same way as offline hate. The Law is intrinsically limited. It is there to deal with the most serious of hate crimes whilst protecting people’s freedom of expression. Read the full article by clicking the link below.

Online hate article

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 23rd April 2021

Everyone’s Invited-The movement committed to eradicating rape culture. 

The website ‘Everyone’s invited’ gained huge publicity after it received over 15,000 testimonials from young people describing the sexual abuse they have suffered at the hands of their peers. As a result of this the Government have launched an investigation into Schools across the country. 

We at Michael Hall stand behind this movement and are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to any forms of sexism, harassment, misogyny and /or misandry. Within our community we uphold the values of respect, kindness and safety in everything that we do. 

We want to make sure that every single student feels able to report concerns freely by way of a trusted adult in School, this is someone of their choosing which may be their Class Teacher/Guardian or any of the dedicated staff on the Wellbeing and Pastoral care team. 

We have comments and concerns boxes located in the Lower School entrance, the Middle School building, the Library and the Mansion entrance hall. In addition, we have a new email address set up specifically for students with internet access [email protected]. This can also be accessed easily at the bottom of the Michael Hall website. 

The NSPCC have set up a dedicated helpline for young people, we will have this number on Posters throughout the School for our young people to see. The number is: 0800 136 663

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 26th February 2021

Savers: Looking after your eyes, body and mind when using screens.

We are spending more time online than ever before, possibly sitting and working with poor posture as we use makeshift desks and chairs. There is a tendency to take fewer breaks and less exercise, and this is affecting our physical and mental well-being.

Beacon House the specialist, therapeutic service for young people, families and adults has produced a series of six images outlining ways to keep safe and alert when working at home, whether children or adults, and we’d love for you to try some of the tips suggested outlined in the poster here.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 5th February 2021

What Parents need to know about Fake News

This week’s online safety guide focuses on fake news. Fake news can be false information, photos or videos purposefully created to confuse or misinform. National Online Safety have created a guide that takes a look at how to tackle a range of potential risks such as embarrassment, negative influences on people’s behavior and negative emotions. 

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 29th January 2021

National online safety have launched a brand-new app. It’s time to get #onlinesafetysavvy.

Children are spending more time than ever online. As adults, we need to do everything we can to keep them safe in the digital world. But with new apps, games andplatforms emerging every day, how can you stay in the know?

That’s why National Online Safety have created an app. Created by experts but developed by them.

With all online safety knowledge available at your fingertips, the NOS app empowers parents and teachers to understand and address online safeguarding risks – anytime, anywhere.

The world’s most comprehensive online safety app, it’s packed with insightful courses, explainer videos, webinars and guides on topics that will help you protect the kids you care about when they’re online.

You can download on the apple app store or get it on Google Play 

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 11th December 2020

County Lines Game App

A new game for both apple and android phones has recently been launched. The game play is based on running a County Line and players have to build up points by making drug deliveries, staying in trap houses and outrunning the police.

Although the game may be in poor taste, it doesn’t seem to be as risky as it sounds. The e-safety advisor, Alan Mackenzie, has downloaded the game. He says it is ‘a very poor 1980’s 2D graphic depiction of a character being chased by a police officer. There are no communications features in it (despite reports that people are able to chat and concerns over the risk of grooming – which is non existent)’.

As ever the challenge for all of us is in ensuring that we keep a balance between being aware of risks, whilst at the same time not sparking a surge of interest from the young people we aim to protect.

Alan Mackenzie’s e-safety website and resources can be found here

Alan is a founding member of the Association of Adult and Child Online Safety Specialists (AACOSS) who aim to ensure the delivery of high-quality education, advice and support to all schools and organisations around online safety – keeping children and adults safer online.

TikTok – Update Parental Controls with Family Pairing Feature (SWGfL)

TikTok is used by many teenagers and sometimes children younger than that 13 despite its terms and conditions. Using the new Family Pairing feature can allow parents to guide their child’s TikTok experience in a safer way. Features include:

Search: Decide what can be searched for. This includes content, users, hashtags, or sounds

Screen Time Management: Sets how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day

Discoverability: Decide on the account being private (you decide who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content).

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 27th November 2020

Friday is upon us! The ‘Black Friday’ periods sees the highest number of emails flying across the ether than at any other time of year. The means that not only are there millions of legitimate emails, but the scammers also send out their flurries too.

We are all vulnerable, but children, perhaps teenagers especially might be ‘secretly’ buying presents online for the first time. Reminders about safe buying online would be very timely.

The National Cybersecurity Centre has a Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) where you can send emails you are concerned about.

The message might be from a company you don’t normally receive communications from, or someone you do not know. You may just have a hunch. If you are suspicious, you should report it. Your report of a phishing email will help to protect many more people from being affected.

Just forward the email to: [email protected]

You can find more advice about online security here:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/information-for/individuals-families

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 20th November 2020

Covid-19 continues on, many Schools are having to go in and out of remote learning to ensure continuous learning outside of the classroom. This requires a level of discipline and planning. National Online Safety have created a guide for students to ensure that their remote learning is as secure and safe as possible.

It addresses healthy screen time, privacy and ensuring the appropriate systems and communication channels are in place.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 13th November 2020

In Their Own Words: The Digital Lives of Schoolchildren (Internet Matters)

The latest Cybersurvey has been published by Internet Matters. This is the largest and most robust survey of its kind in the UK, with nearly 15,000 children aged 11-17 taking part in 82 schools across the country. In the latest report, authors, Adrienne Katz (Youthworks) and Aiman El Asam (Kingston University) have identified key themes from what young people say about their online lives. The study ran before COVID-19 began.

Among the themes that are highlighted in the report, is the finding that the numbers of children viewing harmful content online dramatically increased over a period of four years, between 2015 and 2019, with particular concern relating to body image, both for boys wanting to ‘bulk up’ and girls wanting picture-perfect bodies, or even worse anorexic or harmed bodies.

Key themes include:

  • Content risk is more commonly experienced than contact risk
  • Parents could talk more to their children about online life in general, rather than only when giving advice
  • The gap widens between vulnerable and non-vulnerable teens
  • Cyberbullying remains stable at 22% of the total sample (this year the survey asked about severity and frequency)
  • Meetups are commonplace, 18% have done so and many are benign
  • Sexting, desire, coercion and relationship norms
  • Online aggression is racist, homophobic, often gendered, and hate speech is common
  • Spending quite a bit of money in games
  • Too few of our teenagers are actively following the online safety advice they were taught
  • The positive aspects of online life are enjoyed by all young people but appear much more important to already vulnerable teens than to their peers
  • The influence of vloggers with a particular age group

The report can be found here

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 6th November 2020

Social media documentary
This weekend if you can access Netflix, it may be worth sitting down to watch the documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ it ‘explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations’.

The question raised of course is: is social media bad for us and the general consensus is, yes it can be if no boundaries are set around it. Whilst social media started out as a ‘force for good’ it has taken on a mind of its own in the form of algorithms and it’s about becoming aware in order to keep ourselves and our children safe.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 23rd October 2020

What is… CYBERBULLYING AND ONLINE HARASSMENT?

Cyberbullying is any form of bullying which takes place online. This can be done over smartphones, tablets, online gaming, chat forums, social and other media. Cyberbullying itself is not against the law but if the content is
threatening then it could be illegal.

Online harassment is the act of sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages and being abusive. If someone purposefully sends your child offensive messages that make them feel scared, it could be illegal.

Concerned about online bullying or harassment for your child? What people call ‘bullying’ is sometimes an argument between two people. But if someone is repeatedly cruel, that’s bullying and they must not blame
themselves. No one deserves to be treated cruelly.

S​ – Screenshot any offensive or harassing messages: If your child receives offensive or harassing messages make sure your child screenshots them or saves them so you have a record of what was said.

M – Make sure your privacy settings are set so only people known and trusted to your child can see what you post: Your privacy settings are there to help. If there are good privacy settings it prevents people seeing information you don’t want them to see. Good privacy settings could include, for example, only allowing family members and chosen friends to see the content. Make sure all social media accounts have their privacy settings reviewed. This will help to stop any unwanted messages coming through or people using information on social media against your child.

A – Avoid further communication with or retaliation to those sending the messages.

R – Report the incident(s) to internet service providers’ websites and social media sites.

T – Talk to a parent, carer, teacher or friend: If your child has a concern make sure they speak to someone.

If your child is using a public computer (eg. at a library, internet cafe, computer shop, or even a shared computer at home or school) make sure they know how to sign out of the device and any accounts each time they finish their session. That will help them protect their privacy.

Don’t share your password with anyone!

Remind your child to not disclose their password not even to their closest friends, who may not be close forever.
Password-protect their phone so no one can use it to impersonate them. Avoid further communication – If they are getting messages that are offensive, ask them not to reply or retaliate to the comments. Sometimes a reaction is what aggressors are looking for because they think it gives them power – you don’t want to empower a bully. It might only make things worse or get your child in trouble. Report – It is important that any messages that are received are reported straight away. If any messages are received via social media, messages can be reported directly to the site itself. Most social media platforms give you options for reporting or flagging content that breaches their user guidelines.

The website ThinkuKnow has guidelines on how to block, report and change privacy settings on social media. thinkuknow.co.uk If you are receiving messages by text, instant messaging service or games console you can often block a phone number or block a contact/person. This will prevent them being able to message your child. You can also find out your internet service provider and report the content to them.

Tell someone!

Bullying and harassment can be hard to talk about but no child should deal with it alone. If your child is being bullied make sure they tell someone especially if this is happening at School.


We are always here to help and support you.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 16th October 2020

As ‘Alexa’ has now become one of the most used voice assistants in the world, National Online Safety have released a safety guide for all Parents and Carers to make sure that they are fully aware of the potential safety hazards to children whilst using this technology.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 25th September 2020

Due to a recent alarming video that had been broadcast on Facebook and then went viral on Instagram and TikTok, INEQE Safeguarding Group has issued some advice to Parent’s about the event that took place and what you can do to protect your child if they have seen the content or to help protect them seeing distressing content online in the future. There is also some additional information around safety settings for Parent’s specifically on TikTok which we recommend familiarising yourselves with. Please follow this link.

For further advice on what to do if your child sees something upsetting online please see the information on the Safer Internet Centre and further online resources for parents and carers on Child Net.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 26th June 2020

As adults, speaking to your child about what they do and what they see online can often be more difficult than first imagined. As much as we know it exists, starting the conversation with children about inappropriate content or things that might make them feel uncomfortable can often feel like the hardest step. With children spending more time online due to lockdown, National Online Safety have produced a guide to help parents and carers approach that initial discussion with a little more confidence.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 19th June 2020

Facebook Messenger has been an intricate part of Facebook for some time. It is used by billions of people all over the world and has slowly evolved over the years, now offering more than just a simple text messaging service. More recently, it has introduced ‘Messenger rooms’ in a bid to rival other video calling software platforms, such as Zoom for instance.

This week National Online Safety have created a guide to help Parents and Carers understand more about Facebook Messenger.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 12th June 2020

Microsoft Teams has risen in popularity since lockdown measures. Many Schools, like us, have adopted the platform to help with remote learning giving the ability to chat, video call and host online meetings. As with any video conferencing software or live streaming app, there can be a number of things to consider around security and privacy.

National Online Safety have created a guide to help Parents and Carers better understand exactly what ‘Teams’ is about.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 5th June 2020

What Parent’s need to know about Instagram…
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Users can upload and edit photos and videos which they can share with their followers via their feed or through the ‘stories ‘feature. It’s widely used by celebrities and is famous for it’s ‘influencer culture’ with many companies paying the most popular accounts to help promote and sell their products and services. National online safety have created a useful guide to help parent’s and carers understand exactly what Instagram is all about.

From the School Newsletter – Thursday Flier 22nd May 2020

It would be no exaggeration to state that children’s internet usage will have soared during this time of the coronavirus lockdown. However, with increased use unfortunately comes increased risk and many experts and leading authorities in the media are warning of the dangers around online grooming. That’s why National Online Safety have created this guide to help Parent’s and Carer’s understand exactly what online grooming is all about.

From the School Newsletter – Thursday Flier 15th May 2020

We wanted to remind all Parent’s that if you have any safeguarding concerns to please contact Mark Fielding our Designated Safeguarding Lead at [email protected].

Please see below links to two different websites where you can report any online issues and concerns that you may have in this time of increased internet use. This may be with regards to cyberbullying for instance, or it may be that you need to report a concern you have directly with a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram. It’s important that everybody knows where to report an online concern and we would recommend bookmarking these websites. 

The first website is Internet Matters

The second website is Think U Know

From the School Newsletter – Thursday Flier 7th May 2020

As a parent with your children at home you may have noticed a considerable increase in the amount of online gaming that your child is participating in. This can be a great way to de-stress and connect with friends, but we must always strive to create healthy boundaries, even if your teenager may say otherwise. Please see another great easy guide from National Online Safety here.

This guide talks about positive engagement from parent’s around online gaming, perhaps engaging with your teenager by taking interest in what they’re playing by playing yourself if time allows. A great way to connect and to offer guidance on other positive games that you yourself enjoy!

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 1st May 2020

We understand that this may be a time where we are all, but especially our children, enjoying some extra catch up time on Netflix. This can be a nice way to enjoy some family time, or indeed to create a little space in the day for some much needed catch up on work. It may also be a way for our teenager’s to connect to friend’s remotely, chatting to each other virtually whilst enjoying a film together, allowing some much needed connection but it is also important that Parent’s and Carer’s know exactly what Netflix is and how to create a safe environment for their children. Please read through the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ in the guide put together by National Online Safety. 

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 20th March 2020

Online Safety

As Schools are now entering unprecedented territory with possible school closures, children may have more access to online time. Please see below a number of guides, so that parents can get an understanding of the various online forums and these guides will empower you to keep your children safe.  

YouTube

Although children of all ages often watch YouTube content directly via the website or main YouTube app, YouTube itself states that the only place children should be watching its videos is in the YouTube kids app.

Please see the YouTube guide.

Be Kind Online

Social media, online gaming, direct messaging. It’s now easier than ever to communicate with others online, make new friends, pass opinion and display our feelings. But should we stop and think sometimes? Can we neglect how we make others feel? And do we forget just how important being kind is?

Created by mental health and wellbeing expert, Anna Bateman, this guide aims to provide you with a reminder of just how important it can be to develop empathy online. It will help you to understand how your actions can affect others, how to be more responsible and how displaying a kinder side can have such huge benefits.

Please see the Be Kind Online guide

Omegle

Omegle promotes itself as a great way to meet new friends. However, the site encourages anonymity and whilst people can connect based on similar interests, there is little to verify who you could be taking to. So what is Omegle? What can children be exposed to? And what should parents be concerned about? Find out with this guide.

Electronic devices can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Phones, laptops, tablets and even keyboards and mice, can all help the transmission phase of viruses and can be neglected when we think about cleanliness. But how can we ensure we keep our devices clean? What are the best methods? And what works well? Follow this guide.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 6th March 2020

DITTO is a free online (e-safety) magazine for parents, that help parents stay up to date with risks, issues, advice and guidance related to keeping children safe online. A new edition is released approx. every 6 weeks and the latest edition can be found here.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 28th February 2020

A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. For example, this means you can bank securely. Like many things, VPNs can be used for a good…and for bad.
There are VPN apps that can be downloaded that allow children to have a virtual private network. This allows them to access adult sites and due to the fact that the VPN can make it look like you are in another time zone they can be accessed at anytime of the day. We have had quite a few children accessing a site called Porn Hub this way. When children have been questioned as to how they found out about VPN’s they have said it’s either by word of mouth from their peers or it has popped up whilst watching YouTube.’

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 14th February 2020

The best parental-control apps for smartphones can help you track your kids, see with whom they’re communicating, block them from viewing objectionable or dangerous websites, and even help kids understand limits while preventing them from seeing adult content or chatting with inappropriate people. The following links can be found on the Michael Hall website.

Parental Controls (Internet Matters)

The Best Parental Control Software for 2019

Best parental control apps for Android and iPhone 2020

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 31st January 2020

Drugs, Alcohol and YouYou might take drugs for all kinds of different reasons. You might do it to fit in with a group, or because you want to try something new and find out what it’s like. Or it could be to deal with family problems, or cope with difficult experiences  you’ve had. Maybe you’ve been offered drugs, or you know other people who use them. If so, its a good idea to know the facts about drugs and alcohol, how they affect your mental health, and where to go if you ever want help and advice.Drugs & Alcohol – Please see the following link for students and parents. Childline – not just a phone call. The Childline website has lots of valuable information, but one area I like is their Calm Zone. The activities aim to help children feel better when they’re feeling anxious, scared or sad. Although children could be encouraged to visit the website themselves, these are good techniques for adults use with children. Ideas include: breathing exercises, a ‘let it go’ box and creating a ‘sense drawer’.  Please follow the link: Childline 

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 24th January 2020

Mental Health Week – 3rd – 9th February 2020 (Place2be)

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Find your Brave’. Life is all about taking small brave steps every day. Bravery could be about sharing worries and asking for help when you need it, trying something new or making the right choices.

Life often throws us challenges. Bravery isn’t about coping alone or holding things in. It’s about finding positive ways to deal with things that might be difficult, overcoming physical and mental challenges and looking after yourself.

Place2be have created a range of age-appropriate assembly guides and class activities, along with top tips for pupils and parents. The free resources will help children and young people explore what it means to be brave.More information and resources can be found here  Children’s Mental Health Week

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 17th January 2020

Tackling the issue of safeguarding in private tuition (FE News)

People are often surprised to find that private tutors are not required to have an Enhanced DBS check to work with children and young people, even in 1:1 situations. The tutoring industry is largely unregulated and given that 27% of 11 – 16 year olds have had private tuition in the last 12-months (41% in London)*, this is of concern.
The Tutors’ Association (TTA) President, Tim Morris, is a vocal advocate for regulation in this area and shares his thoughts in a useful article in a recent edition of FE News, which can be found on here.Parental Mental Illness Research Magazine Special Edition (Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health)The ACAMH recently published a special edition of their research-based magazine looking at the impact of children who live with parental mental ill-health.
New data published in Lancet Public Health show that nearly a quarter of children aged between 0 and 16 years are exposed to maternal mental illness. Researchers defined this as depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, personality disorders and alcohol misuse disorder or substance misuse disorder. One study found that paternal depression symptoms were significantly associated with depression symptoms in adolescents.Magazine pdf.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 10th January 2020

Transitions back into school.

For some children returning to school, the transition from home over the holidays may not be easy. Beacon House therapeutic services and trauma team have a wide-range of resources on their website, including one about managing transitions.

You can download the top tips here.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 13th December 2019

Christmas Time… Just because it is Christmas… looking after yourself.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” is what I hear constantly at Christmas. Whether it’s on the radio, the telly or out in public, we are constantly told that Christmas is a time to be happy.

But what if you’re not happy?

Please see the Young Minds link to staying healthy at Christmas, it’s also a great resource for young peoples mental wellbeing.

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 6th December 2019

Following the London Bridge incident on Friday 29th November, we have added these three links which might be helpful:

Supporting children worried about terrorism (NSPCC)

How to talk to children about terrorism (The Conversation)

Age Appropriate Support Guideposts Following a Traumatic Event – Parry and Oldfield

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 29th November 2019

20th November 2019, marked the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
(UNCRC). This is the most widely ratified treaty in the world where in 1989, more than 190 countries in the world
agreed on the rights of the child.

Being aware of this Convention help us to become ‘Rights Informed’ and the Scottish government
have illustrated a child friendly version of the rights of each child can be found here

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 22nd November 2019

Safeguarding Resources for Parents
Keeping Children Safe – NSPCC has a number of tips and advice to help you keep children safe whether they’re at home, out and about, online and other.

Wellbeing Resources for Parents & Children
Resilience is the word of the decade and it derives from the Latin word resilio, literally meaning to jump (or bounce) back. Loosely termed, its means ones ability to overcome adversity.
Two resources that might come in useful whilst navigating the Season of busyness, socialising and exam revision.
Anxiety explained for teens                  Academic Resilience 

From the School Newsletter – Friday Flier 15th November 2019

Safeguarding Resources for Parents
NSPCC Keeping Children Safe – From talking PANTS to approaching difficult issues, we have a range of tips and advice to help you keep children safe whether they’re at home, out and about or online. More information can be found here

Wellbeing Resources for Parents & Children
Wellbeing and resilience are important in preventing the onset of mental health problems. Wellbeing and resilience are vital to developing efficient problem solving skills, building and maintaining interpersonal relationships and realistic goal setting, all of which greatly enhance an individual’s ability to perform and contribute meaningfully in daily life.
Two online resources for parents below;
(1) Children’s wellbeing is closely bound to their parents’ wellbeing. Find out how to improve parents’ wellbeing and, consequently, their children’s here
(2) The NHS Guide 5 steps to Mental Wellbeing – Connect with other people, Be Physically Active, Learn New Skills, Help others, Pay Attention to the Present Moment (Mindfulness) here