With increased usage of social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook, It has never been more important to stay safe online and understand the risks. Whilst sites like these were intended to allow users to interact with friends online, sadly they are often used to bully and intimidate vulnerable people.
Social networking sites allow you to create an online persona. Whilst most social networking sites allow the user to privatise their profile so that it is visible only to chosen friends, many people decide to keep their profile ‘public’ which means that they are visible to anyone and everyone.
What can you do?
It can be difficult to know whether or not your child is safe online, so we would recommend asking them how they use social media and instant messaging sites.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask your child to show you how these sites work, but if you are unsure or do not understand then we would recommend making a note of the sites they use and doing a little research.
Try setting up some agreed rules which your child is happy to follow, and make sure that your child knows what they should do if they feel at risk.
If you have come across instances of bullying on a site then you should report it to the site itself. Often users can remove unwanted messages or comments themselves and prevent non-friends from sending private messages or posting on their page.
If you believe your child is in immediate danger, or is being continually harassed online, you may wish to contact the Police. The Police non-emergency number is 101.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) website provides advice for parents/carers on how to stay safe, in control and reporting abuse.
If you’d like to report a safeguarding issue or have concerns regarding bullying, please email Claire Boyton, Vice Principal at: email@example.com