E-safety (electronic safety) simply means protecting all users of the internet, both young and old, and providing guidance to allow them to protect themselves when using technology such as the world wide web and mobile phones.
Often, when people talk about e-safety, they are referring to the various dangers that can be encountered online, especially on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
What are the main risks at this time?
The fundamental risks can be broken down into three primary areas:
- Inappropriate contact from people on the internet.
- Inappropriate content found or displayed on the internet.
- Inappropriate conduct of children themselves online (sexting/downloading inappropriate content)
What are some basic precautions that I can take right now to help protect myself and others online?
Without getting too technical, DNS (the Domain Name System) is what’s used to turn text addresses that humans understand (like www.bbc.co.uk) into the system of numbers (IP addresses) that the internet works on (like 126.96.36.199). This has a convenient by-product in that if we know what the 'bad' websites are from the IP addresses in the global and public DNS register, we can filter and block them before they reach the end user’s computer.
An American company, OpenDNS, has taken this idea and made a business of supplying web filtering to corporations and large organisations. They provide the same service free of charge to personal users. Click here
for the OpenDNS page on parental controls. To use the service you’ll need to create an account (free) with OpenDNS which you can do by clicking here
and a moment’s work with a search engine will give you any number of tutorials and explanations of the system. Click here
for a good one to start with and here
for the official page on setting up devices.
Modern telephones are really just handheld computers and every precaution that we take with a desktop or laptop computer applies just as much to a telephone or indeed any other connected device (Smart TV, games console, etc.). OFCOM provide an excellent page with up to date links to the various mobile network providers. You can find it by clicking here.
A note on relying on filtering software
There are a number of software applications available via a quick Google search (click here
) but no amount of technology can ever replace observation, consideration and education on the part of both children and parents. We must be aware and knowledgeable about the internet, its good and bad points, its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to us as guardians of children to make the effort to understand these subtleties. We are committed to developing a discussion between teachers and parents to share information and ask questions. We will hold termly meetings to enable this, please check the bulletin for dates.
One idea is for parents to open an account in the popular social networking platforms (see the list below) and play with them, look at and understand the security settings, read what other people are saying and, most importantly, talk to other parents and talk to your children.
A list of (currently (not exhaustive)) popular social networking platforms and their security/privacy pages:
What does Cambridge Steiner School do to ensure children are safe online?
Cambridge Steiner School is committed to ensuring children and young people are safe both in the real and virtual world
. E-safety is incorporated into our main Safeguarding Policy
Technology Curriculum – We begin teaching children about the concept of technology from a young age. In kindergarten we introduce children to a number of tools (such as carding wool, knitting, etc), which forms the foundations of our technology curriculum. This progresses through the Lower School where children experience a range of technologies through our outdoor curriculum where children make their own flint knives for example. In this way children learn how these ‘technologies’ can be useful tools, but dangerous if used incorrectly. From Class 6 children are gradually introduced to ‘information’ technology, perhaps occasionally doing some research for homework. During the last few years of the Lower School children study information technology during a main lesson block, learning what a computer is and how it works. Our aim through this approach is to slowly build a broad understanding about the nature of technology and therefore critical thinking about how and when information technology is useful or potentially unsafe.
Kindergarten to Class 3 – We focus on educating parents through; information on our website, parent meetings/consultations, the termly safeguarding bulletin, termly parents safeguarding meetings. Additionally, teachers are informed and able to respond and guide children if the topic arises in class. If there are specific concerns about a child and their internet use this is addressed with parents and a supportive plan developed.
Class 4 Onwards – E-safety lessons are delivered from Class 4. This includes discussions about how children are using technology, and simple messages about how to keep safe online.
We also hold regular parent discussion evenings, and a termly newsletter update to ensure parents have the information they need to help their children understand and navigate safely through their internet use.
I’d like more in-depth information. Where should I start?
Think You Know – Guide to internet safety and safe surfing for young people and their families:
Google Safety Centre – Manage your Privacy and Security:
Childnet Parents Factsheet
Childnet Parents Leaflet – Supporting Young People Online
Childnet Parents Guide – Young People and Social Networking Sites
I have a concern or an issue that I’d like to discuss with the school regarding e-safety. Who should I contact?
The designated safeguarding lead and deputies are Beate Guertler-Green (Early Childhood Department), David van Marle and Sarah Fox (Lower School). If you would like to discuss any issues in confidence please get in touch on the email addresses below, or contact us through reception on 01223 882727.