How To Keep School Children Safe on the Internet

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • 7 ways to keep school children safe on the internet.
  • Some of the risks of the online world for children.
  • Where the latest Teacher jobs are and how to apply for them. 

School staff are responsible for the safety, wellbeing and education of their pupils, both in person and on the internet. Online presents a danger to children and young people especially when it is difficult to control what they do and see on the internet.

Online safety is fundamentally important and schools play a big role in protecting children from the dangers of the internet, particularly the influence of social media and the key role of technology.

It is important for Headteachers, Teachers and Teaching Assistants to recognise the signs that their pupils may be at risk of online danger and prevent it. From the effects of online bullying, to the threat of inappropriate content, our latest blog details how your school can keep children safe on the internet. 

Online risks to be aware of

When it comes to the internet, there are plenty of risks to the safety of children and vulnerable young people. According to the Office for National Statistics nearly 20% of 10 to 15-year-olds have experienced online bullying, with many being subjected to harmful online interactions with others; this includes cyber bullies and online trolls.

The internet also exposes children to illegal, inappropriate or harmful content including pornography, online gambling and scams. Other risks to children on the internet include mistaken identity and communications with strangers and online predators.

All of these pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of children, and schools play a critical role in keeping children safe online.

How to keep school children safe on the internet

7 ways to keep school children safe on the internet:

  • Make children aware of the dangers.
  • Ensure Teachers have knowledge of online safety.
  • Teach students about building positive online relationships.
  • Create a safe and open space for pupils.
  • Make students aware of their actions.
  • Involve parents and carers.
  • Review your online safety policy.

Make children aware of the dangers

Teaching children about the potential dangers online is key to keeping them safe. When discussing online safety with pupils, it is important to discuss both the positives and the negatives associated with technology and the internet.

Show children the benefits of the internet for learning and development to help them see it as a resource rather than just a place for entertainment. Discussing things students might discover online and making pupils aware of the importance of online safety is crucial to their learning and development.

Inform children of some of the dangers and why it is important to develop risk awareness and practical tips for online safety.  Normalise the conversation and discuss the dangers of interacting with strangers online and the importance of protecting passwords and privacy as people online aren’t always who they seem. 

Ensure Teachers have knowledge of online safety

It’s important that Teachers have the appropriate knowledge to educate students about internet safety and a clear understanding of how to communicate the dangers, risks and the advantages of the internet.

It goes without saying that Teachers need to fully understand and comply with the schools online safety policy and make internet safety a regular topic of conversation with pupils.

In October 2023, The Online Safety Act became law, with the goal to make the internet safer for everyone (particularly children) by placing more responsibility on social media platforms and other online companies to protect their users. Schools have a responsibility to protect their pupil’s safety from online dangers and risks. 

School staff should refresh their knowledge of social media with plenty of relevant meetings and up to date training sessions to be aware of changes, developments or even more potential dangers for children on the internet.

The online landscape is constantly changing and schools need to keep up to date with the latest government guidance on online safety and training.

Teach students about building positive online relationships

A way for Teachers to keep school children safe on the internet is to make students aware of the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships online. Ensure that they can recognise harmful or negative online behaviour and that they can come to you or another trusted adult if they are worried.

Making school children aware of the behaviour of others is important especially when they are exposed to harmful or inappropriate content and untrustworthy individuals. It’s critical to teach students how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online and how to use technology securely and responsibly.

It’s just as important that children know how to act online as they do in person, the same principles that apply face to face, also apply online.

Create a safe and open space for pupils

Teachers need to make space for conversations about the internet and create a positive and safe environment based on honesty and understanding. Encourage children to talk about their online experiences and any issues they face online to make them feel more comfortable coming forward with any issues.

Being open with pupils about the internet is an effective way to talk about the importance of reporting inappropriate or uncomfortable topics and can show pupils that you are someone that can help them.

Teachers should present themselves as someone who knows about the internet and someone that pupils can confide in. This can be useful to address difficult conversations later if a child comes to you in need. 

Continue to check in with pupils and remind them of how you can help them, as pupils are more likely to come forward or confide in you if there is a problem online.

Make students aware of their actions

It’s important to make children aware of their own actions and the effect they can have on others online. Demonstrate how pupils should present and conduct themselves online in order to stay safe, respectful and kind.

Make it clear that you expect your pupils to treat others with respect, and not to post hurtful or embarrassing messages. Remind children that what they post online can be used against them and that they need to be safe and reasonable in order to protect themselves and others.

Teachers should advise pupils not to post something on social media that they wouldn’t want their parents, Teachers and other adults or professionals to see. 

This includes posting personal and private information like addresses, contact numbers or locations. Pupils need to be aware of the consequences of their actions and how easy it is to be tricked or manipulated online.

Involve parents and carers

Online safety shouldn't stop at school; Teachers and parents can have better results and have more chances of keeping children safe on the internet if they work together. 

Parents should be encouraged to engage with their children’s internet use at home, setting rules and boundaries that align with those taught at school.

According to data from Internet Matters, parents receive most of their outreach from schools through information on protecting their child online (38%) and information on how the school intends to approach online safety teaching (31%).

Teachers can support and include parents and carers by sharing helpful advice and providing useful resources. Provide tools and resources that teach parents about parental controls, reporting harmful content and blocking sites as well as the various ways children can access the internet e.g. computers, phones and games.

Review the online safety policy at school

Online safety is a crucial part of a school's safeguarding and child protection policy and ensures that school staff, governors and parents know how to keep children safe online. Ensuring that the schools online-safety provision is consistently reviewed, updated and relevant is a great way of keeping school children safe online.

Government guidance for schools across the UK highlights the importance of safeguarding children and young people online. The policy for online safety should include procedures and training to help teaching staff mitigate risk, respond to concerns and the ways to communicate online.

Schools should have clear policies regarding internet use, which are communicated to both students and parents that outlines acceptable online behaviours. 

The online safety policy should provide information to Teachers about how to use the internet, how to recognise new and emerging online harms and how to keep children safe from the dangers of cyberbullying, grooming and more.

Teaching jobs

If you’re searching for your next teaching job, why not take a look at the latest teaching vacancies, or simply upload your CV to be notified when a relevant position becomes available.

Recruit teaching staff

As a specialist education recruitment agency, we support mainstream and SEND schools with their temporary, permanent and temp-perm staffing needs. 

We currently work with hundreds of schools and have exclusive access to some of the best Teachers and Teaching Assistants in the North West.

If you’re struggling to fill a teaching vacancy, why not get in touch with one of our team to see how we can help?

Meet Jamie Heath

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

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