Online/Digital safety at Anston Hillcrest
At Anston Hillcrest Primary School we take Digital Safety very seriously. We ensure that it is integrated into all areas of Computing being taught within school, so that children can see the real life dangers involved with using digital devices. The strong message being that digital safety is an issue at home as well as in school. Online safety agreements have been discussed with each class and posters are displayed in each classroom, the children and parents are expected to sign an online safety agreement and these are referred to regularly whenever the internet is being used in class.
As well as this, the school also holds an annual "Online Safety Week" in February. During this week, children have the opportunity to do a range of activities aimed at opening the children's eyes to a wide range of issues. They learn about how to deal with any online safety issues that they may come across. The children are involved in discussing and debating internet usage at home and how to be more responsible when using digital devices.
Our staff work to ensure our pupils understand internet safety and how to be responsible internet users.
As part of the National Crime Agency, CEOP (The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) gives great advice to parents and children about staying safe online.
A cautionary tale about Animal Jam
Animal Jam is a free-to-play online roleplaying world developed by National Geographic Kids and has an educational aspect to it: While children go exploring, they learn animal facts, build dens and watch nature videos. There’s also an online chat component to it, which sounds like it will be well monitored.
The game is aimed at 7 – 12 year olds, and there are parental controls which are effective. You can control how freely you want your child to be able to chat, but you can’t control what anyone else can say—which means that while your own child may be restricted to just simple phrases like “Hello,” “Thanks,” and “Goodbye,” there are plenty of kids, teens, and adults on there who can type just about whatever they want and your child will see it.
Whilst playing on Animal Jam, a child has been a victim of cyber-bullying through the online chat. Other players have persuaded the child to buy jewels for them through iTunes and gift them to their accounts. He has spent £74 because he was threatened by the other players that they would not be his friend if he didn’t do as they asked him. He was called ‘weirdo’ and, despite asking them to leave him alone, intimidated into doing something he knew what wrong.
The capacity for this game to be misused by online predators and bullies is huge, and it is advisable to only allow your child to play this game and others like it within your presence.