There are a number of basic guidelines we would encourage all families to consider:
- Keep the computer in a communal area of the house, where it’s easier to monitor what your children are viewing.
- Tell children to never give out their personal details and explain what is meant by this. If they want to subscribe to any services online, make up a family email address to receive the mail.
- Consider using internet filtering software, walled gardens and child-friendly search engines. Use your browser’s controls as some offer differing degrees of security for each family member.
- Find out what child protection services your Internet Service Provider (ISP)offers -do they filter for spam, for instance?
- Make sure that they only use moderated chat rooms and encourage them to introduce you to their online friends.
- Encourage your children to tell you if they feel uncomfortable, upset or threatened by anything they see online.
- Involve your children in writing your own family code of acceptable internet use. Remember that what’s acceptable for a teenager isn’t necessarily OK for a primary school-aged child, so get their input.
- Computers are expensive so bear in mind that a child with a laptop may be vulnerable when carrying it to and from school.
Plagiarism and the Internet
Apart from the safety side of using the Internet plagiarism is becoming an increasing problem in education due to the accessibility of information on the Internet and the growing simplicity and power of the tools to find it. Plagiarism simply means copying someone else’s work. The Internet is a great research tool and has enhanced and enriched learning opportunities, however, students are increasingly using it to simply copy information (usually verbatim) to complete coursework and homework tasks.
This is not permitted under examination board regulations and when discovered will result in a student having their examination results invalidated. The examination boards have a number of measures in place to safeguard against this modern form of cheating.
There are a number of misconceptions amongst some students regarding the Internet and the information found there, including:
- That everything on the Internet is free for them to copy and use (this is not the case and spend significant time in Year 9 considering whether they need permission for resources or not)
- That copying large sections of material and passing it off as they own is acceptable;
- That teaching staff automatically assume they’ve understood what they have copied;
- That the information on the Internet is always factually correct and consequently does not need to be corroborated or verified with another source.
Parents can help their child’s research by helping them conduct the Internet searches and then evaluating with them what they find. Parents can help their children to develop a reasoned judgement about the information they’ve found and, perhaps most importantly, parents can encourage their children to become more inquisitive, to question and challenge the validity of what they’re seeing on the screen by asking themselves:
- Where is the information coming from;
- How reliable is it likely to be;
- Whether the information is up-to-date;
- Whether the site is offering fact or opinion;
- Whether the information is complete;
- Whether the information is appropriate and therefore fit-for-purpose.
CEOP – ThinkUknow
Online filtering app Qustodio
Parent help from the Safer Internet Centre
Filters and E-Safety guidance for parents
Taming Gaming for Families
How to be safe online – TED talk