The internet is part of everyday life for most of us whether at school, work or home. It can be a confusing, difficult and dangerous place for students to navigate.
Thamesmead School is part of the Digital Schools network and is able to provide parents and students with useful information and support to stay safe online.
We encourage all parents to visit the websites below for tips on social media safety controls and up to date advice on the apps and websites that your children may be using.
Also look out for this logo for weekly tips in our Thamesmead Talk newsletter.
What to trust online (A Parents and Carers Guide)
Below are some links which may help you to set your parental controls on various devices to keep your children safe.
Digital Parenting (Vodafone)
Digital Parenting Magazine
Parental Controls (Internet Matters)
The Best Parental Control Software for 2019
Best parental control apps for Android and iPhone 2020
VPN – What’s that then and why’s it important?
A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. For example, this means you can bank securely. VPNs are not difficult to install and use, and there are many apps that can offer this service. Like many things, VPNs can be used for a good…and for bad.
It has come to light that children are able to circumnavigate their parental controls via VPN’s. There are VPN apps that can be downloaded that allow children to have a virtual private network. This allows them to access adult sites and due to the fact that the VPN can make it look like you are in another time zone they can be accessed at anytime of the day. This means that some children have been accessing adult content.
Breck’s Last Game
Students at Thamesmead have completed an education pilot across two citizenship lessons. This work is based on ‘Breck’s Last Game’, a short video about online grooming. The content explores the worst consequences of online grooming which in this case resulted in the death of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old boy from Surrey. Breck was a victim of online grooming which occurred through the seemingly harmless medium of online gaming. We intend to use this case to educate our students about the very real dangers that are present online (including aspects of social media) especially when they are hidden and sometimes far too easily dismissed.
The film has been produced by four police forces and in close consultation with Breck’s mother, Lorin LaFave. It aims to educate and protect students from online grooming. ‘Breck’s Last Game’ is being delivered to all Surrey secondary school students and is being released nationwide in the Summer term.
We anticipate that your child may have questions they’d like to ask you about the content. If you have any questions or need support please contact our Safeguarding Team email@example.com
Support and information for parents
There are a number of organisations that can offer direct support to you and your child. Here are a few that we would recommend:
Childline 0800 1111
The Professionals Online Safety Helpline 0344 3814772
The NSPCC/O2 Parents Helpline 0808 8005002
A wealth of information and support is also available online, including on the following sites:
Get Safe Online
Think you know
UK Safer Internet Centre
NSPCC Online Safety Advice
CEOP – Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre
Digital Parenting Magazine -for useful advice on all areas of online safety
Copies of the Digital Parenting magazine are always available from the school Reception or at Parent Progress Review Meetings.