February the 11th is the UK Safer Internet Day. The internet, on the whole, is an inspiring and positive place that provides opportunities and experiences we could never have imagined 30 years ago. It is an amazing resource which enables children and young people to connect, communicate and be creative in a number of different ways, on a range of devices. However, the internet is always changing, and being able to keep up to date with your children’s use of technology can be a challenge.
Talking to your child about online safety can be hard. Parents are often confused and bemused by technology online and at a disadvantage when talking to their much more knowledgeable offspring. We can lack confidence in knowing what to do and how to get help when something goes wrong. However children and young people still need advice and protection when it comes to managing their lives online.
While Cyber Security protects digital devices and networks from harm by third parties, Online Safety is about keeping people safe when using digital technologies. By being aware of the nature of the possible threats that you could encounter whilst online, whether it is security threats, handling and safeguarding your personal data, management of your digital footprint, or avoiding harmful or illegal content, you are keeping yourself and your family safe.
Issues that your child may encounter on the internet will vary depending on their age and online activities, and can be grouped into 4 areas according to the UK Safer Internet Centre.
Conduct: children may be at risk because of their own behaviour, for example, by sharing too much information.
Content: age-inappropriate or unreliable content can be available to children.
Contact: children can be contacted by bullies or people who groom or seek to abuse them.
Commercialism: young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising in apps, games and websites.
Through funding from Education Scotland’s #STEMnation, an expert from the charity SWGfL will be visiting Islay on Wednesday the 19th of February to work with teachers, pupils and parents on a range of internet safety issues. There will be a parent workshop (community members also welcome) from 5.30-6.30 at Bowmore Primary school where you can come along and find out more about how to keep your family safe online and where there will be a chance to ask any questions you may have. We would love to see as many people as possible coming along to find out more about this vital topic.