Cyber safe message for kids

The importance of keeping children 'cyber safe' were highlighted at Allertonshire School with a special forum for parents (S)
The importance of keeping children 'cyber safe' were highlighted at Allertonshire School with a special forum for parents (S)

A North Yorkshire school is embracing new technology in a way which will protect students from harm.

The Allertonshire School in Northallerton organised a special forum for parents inviting one of the country’s leading authorities on e-safety to brief them on developments to keep children cyber safe.

Head teacher Mike Holmes said cyber safety was paramount as young people were helped to maximise the value of new technology.

“There is so much to be gained from new technology when it is used correctly,” he said.

“Computers, smart phones and the internet allow them to develop the skills they will need when they leave school. But it is vital that we share this exciting world and help steer our children away from the many pitfalls and towards the really useful content.”

The forum heard that modern day children develop an internet footprint often from before they are born as parents-to-be post images of their pregnancy scans on-line.

Parents were told of the potential impact the internet could have if children were left to surf unguided.

E-Safety manager for the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Tim Pinto outlined some of the pitfalls.

Mr Pinto said: “As adults we possess wisdom which we have learnt through experience.

“Children do not really have this.

“We need to express our concerns without making children too scared to use the internet but to do this we have to understand the technology our children are using.”

He said children needed to feel able to talk to their parents if they had concerns.

“Parents should show and interest in and talk about their children’s on-line lives,” he said.

“Set limits like you do with every other aspect of their lives.

“Take their phones when they go to bed, switch off the router and x-Box and look for signs of depression, aggression or self-harm.

“Register their phones in their own names so mobile phone companies know they are children and can use age restrictions.

Use the restriction settings on the various devices to limit their internet access.”

The Allertonshire School has a dedicated trained CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) ambassador June Fowler who said e-safety was an important part of the curriculum from Year 7.

Parents said they had found the session invaluable and would be putting much of the advice into practice at home.