E-Safety - Be Safe, Be Aware, Have Fun

Often referred to as ‘digital natives’, children are now citizens born into a digital world, growing up surrounded by and immersed in the technology and tools of the digital age. Children’s access to technology has increased phenomenally in recent years: ICT is embedded in reception classrooms and is a constant and prevalent feature of school life; home access is on the increase, while connectivity from public locations such as libraries and youth clubs is now commonplace. Equally, the convergence of technologies and decreasing costs of ownership mean that, with access to a whole range of online services from mobile phones to games consoles and similar devices, children are no longer restricted to accessing the internet from a fixed location.

While it is clear that technology offers children unprecedented opportunities to learn, communicate, create, discover and be entertained in a virtual environment, there are some inherent risks. And while most children’s confidence and competence in using the technologies is high, their knowledge and understanding of the risks may be low.

E-safety risks have traditionally been classified as those involving content, contact and commerce. When online, for example, children may be exposed to inappropriate content which may upset or embarrass them, or which could potentially lead to their involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour. Some people use the internet to groom children with the ultimate aim of exploiting them sexually, while ICT offers new weapons for bullies who may torment their victims, for instance using websites or text messages. The recent surge in popularity of self-publishing and social networking sites brings new e-safety challenges, with many young people making available online some detailed – and sometimes inappropriate – personal information, which again raises both content and contact issues. And while the internet offers new opportunities for doing business online, it also brings with it many unscrupulous traders to whom children and young people may be particularly vulnerable.

For further information & guidance on e Safety issues and resources available, please go to:

http://www.childnet.com/resources

How to report abuse

There are a range of organisations around the world set up especially to handle reports of suspected online child abuse or illegal content. To find out more about these organisations and how they can help you, go to the links indicated.