Uffculme School, like many other schools in the UK, has partially closed while the government tries to limit the spread of the COVID 19 virus.
All over the country and in many parts of the world there is a big focus on continuing education online using technology. The internet is an amazing resource which allows children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in so many different ways on many different devices.
At Uffculme, we are exploring the best ways in which we can support your children to continue to learn at home, whether that be by setting practical home learning tasks or via online learning opportunities.
Many of our children find real time social interaction challenging, but find their voice when engaged with social network platforms. Many spend long hours playing games over the internet interacting with friends and communities across the UK and beyond.
At this time of enforced isolation and social distancing, children may feel increasingly distanced from friends, and now more than ever, may use social network platforms to reach out to their peers.
If you already have family rules and safeguards in place to keep your children safe from online harm, it would be a good time to revisit them.
There is a risk that where students are feeling vulnerable, isolated and spending more time online they are exposed to an increased amount of social media chat and fake news about COVOID 19. There are also further risks of other harms, including grooming, exploitation and bullying. All of these issues could impact on mental health and wellbeing.
It is essential that during this period of school closures, young people are kept safe and free from harm, grooming or exploitation.
We know that our children and young people are internet native – they have grown up with the technology and many have better technical skills than their parents. However, they may not always be internet savy or literate – our students are particularly vulnerable at the moment as they may be feeling shock, distress and confusion over COVOID 19 and the risk it may present to themselves, their friends and loved ones. Young people will need advice, guidance and protection to manage their online lives. Online groomers, predators and extremists may use this time to target vulnerable young people.
During the COVID-19 criss many people within communities are coming together to offer support and help. However, do be aware that there will be those who try to exploit this situation. Please be vigilant, make sure whoever has access to your child even remotely (e.g. via voice chat when playing online) via any online platforms is trusted and vetted.
Top Tips for Parents
What are the 5 main riskes to young people online?
Young people coming across content that is harmful or hateful.
Young people coming into contact with strangers, bullies, groomers or radicalisers/
Young people may feel anonymous online and their conduct may be risky or harmful.
Young people can be at risk of commercial exploitation online.
Young people may be targeted by radicalisers or extremists online.
See document below for more information on Risks
How can parents keep their children safe online?
- Talk to your child about the difference between fake news and reliable sources of information.
- Talk to your child regularly about who is in their friends list online. Encourage them to remove any unknown contacts. Ask them how they can tell the difference between a trusted contact and a stranger online. Ask your child which privacy settings they have on their apps – check them together.
- Talk to your child regularly about what they’ve been doing online - make sure they feel confident enough to tell you about inappropriate conversations, messages or behaviour they encounter.
- Make sure your child knows how to keep their personal information safe and block popups and spam emails on devices. Setup a family email for registering online forms which you can then manage as an adult.
- Ask your child about and be aware of the platforms your child is using during this time to communicate.