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Online Safety

I know many of you are already of the Holy Guard information and app, but for those of you who don’t know about it please see the attached information.

In essence Holly Guard is an app that can turn a smartphone into a personal safety advice and is a great tool that can be used by our young people to keep themselves safe,

Family Agreement

The holidays are a great time to sit down with children and manage expectations. Some children will spend as much time online and playing games as they possibly can, but this isn't practical, there has to be a balance between family and socialisation. Here's a link to a family agreement template from Childnet

Parental Controls

There are so many connected devices on the market now, each with their own unique way of setting up parental controls and restrictions. Equally the functionality of these devices can be daunting with chat, game downloads, in-app purchases, third party apps on the devices (such as social media, Netflix) etc. 

I always advise parents two things. Firstly look up the device on YouTube using a simple 'how to' query, e.g. 'how to restrict in-app purchases on Playstation 4'. Secondly, the wonderful people at Internet Matters have a one-stop shop for setting up devices which can be found here:

Advice by age

As well as devices, parents also need advice according to the age of their children. Again, Internet Matters has this covered fo children 0-5, 6-10, 11-13 and 14+


Gaming is likely to be high on the agenda for many children this holiday period. CEOP have a nice, simple guide for parents

Internet Matters also has a gaming hub which is really useful for parents; it was updated a couple of months ago and has invaluable information


If you haven't seen the new YouTube app or site for children (<13) it's worth a look. This is only a few weeks old and it's quite good for the younger children


Social Media

Back to Internet Matters for this one; they have a really useful hub for parents which explains the risks and the benefits, along with some resources that parents can use



Smartphone use is an addiction for a quarter of youngsters

The prize for 'most misleading headline of the week' goes to Sky News. The headline is in response to a study carried out at King's College London, which is an analysis to 41 studies published since 2011 on smartphone usage and mental health involving 40,000 under 20's, which shows 'problematic smartphone usage' with 23% of users. However, the authors note that 22 of the studies examined were of poor methodological quality with wide variations and definitions.

Research into this area is vitally important, but currently the only fact is that nobody knows the facts and much more needs to be done.

Coincidentally I was speaking with 5 groups of Year 8's in a lovely school last week on this very thing; talking about the compulsive (not addictive) nature of certain apps or games and the way they can draw you in using simple social engineering tactics with the primary purpose to show you more and more ads. Can this compulsion lead to wellbeing issues? Definitely, but this is the sort of information that students need so that they can make the correct decisions.

WhatsApp Privacy

Following on from above, one of the big complaints that comes from students is being added to WhatsApp group then being inundated with hundreds of messages, which then leads to anxiety. WhatsApp has just been updated with a number of new features, one of which is a privacy upgrade which will apparently stop you being pulled into group chats you don't want to be part of. I say apparently because the feature is limited. Under the Groups tab (in Settings), the 'Who Can Add me to Groups' feature is limited to 'everyone', 'my contacts' and 'my contacts except.....'. 

This seems to be counter-productive to me, I wish there had been an additional feature to turn off Add to Group automatically for everyone and to only receive invites which you have to accept. However it is worth mentioning to your students.

KCSiE Translated

If you need this important document in another language, the wonderful people at London Grid for Learning can help. They have now translated Keeping Children Safe in Education into 11 additional languages: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Gujurati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu and Somali.

Fake News

It's a big subject and the problem is getting even bigger. The BBC have put a useful video together so that students can learn about what you can do to check if a news story you're reading is real and true. At the bottom of the link (below) there's also a link to a lesson plan.


A very insightful and useful study has been released by the Cyberbullying Research Centre in America. Sextortion is a growing issue and an incredibly important area to talk about with students. The study states that boys are more likely to be the target, but less likely to report to an adult. This could be for a whole number of reasons such as shame, feelings of guilt etc.

Online Safety Pro
In-depth training for your online safety lead PLUS 12 months online access to fully updated training for all your school staff and governors, PLUS regular video updates to keep everyone up to date.

Mon 27th Jan 2020 - London
Thurs 23rd April 2020 - London

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