There are two main areas for concern that affect your child’s safety and wellbeing: social networking sites and online gaming.
The first point to note is that Facebook requires users to be aged 13 or older. We are aware of pupils who are “friends” with other users who create profiles in the names of famous celebrities; or, that children are “friends” with people they do not know and have never met.
Similarly, many children have MSN Messenger accounts, they are regularly “chatting” with “friends” on their contact list, yet they do not necessarily know who is really on the other end.
We recommend that you take the following action to prevent risks to your child’s safety:
· Regularly monitor how your child is using the internet: check email accounts, social networking pages, messenger applications to ensure that the people your child is communicating with are genuine.
· Make use of parental controls offered in every internet package.
· Report abuse of sites to the site’s administrators (Facebook have “Report/Block this person” option on the home page of each user).
· Report cases of cyber-bullying to the school. We are then able to liaise with other agencies to investigate and stop such cases.
· The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP) also have an option to report cases on their website.
The second area of concern is online gaming. Many of these games are played online with other “gamers”. Some of these “gamers” have never met your child yet they are able to play and communicate with them. Therefore we would request that you implement some of the suggestions above.
We certainly do not want your children to be banned from the internet and online gaming but just to draw your attention to some of the issues that surround the use of the internet and related online features.
Thank you for your continued support.