We have been made aware through various channels about the dangers of some interactive children’s toys. These toys use the internet for voice recognition and can be vulnerable to hackers. Please see this article for more.
Some parents have been in touch with us to say that a small minority of children in the upper end of school have been overheard on the playground discussing inappropriate, explicit material that they have been accessing at home. Because of this, we thought that it would be a good idea to remind parents of the risks associated with unsupervised use of internet enabled devices.
Many of the toys and devices that your child may have received over the holiday period may have the ability to access the internet over Wi-Fi. We would always suggest that parents/carers fully familiarise themselves with each device’s capabilities as it is not always obvious what access your child may have – particularly if the device is able to download apps that open up additional functions. These smart devices often have a suite of parental controls that can be enabled to help to protect your child.
It is also a very good idea to discuss with your child what they are using the device for and have an open and non-judgemental conversation with them about what to do if they find unsuitable material.
Many internet service providers also allow you to set parental controls for your home internet connection to restrict access to unsuitable material. This can be really useful in preventing younger children from following links by mistake. Please be aware though that these restrictions will only remain in place whilst the device is being used at home – they will not stop it accessing the internet freely in another home or when using free public Wi-Fi (for example in or just outside many retailers and coffee shops). Please be aware also that these filters are far from perfect and should not replace discussions with you child about online safety.
There are articles available on our online safety page to help advise you on this – one of these is included below that is particularly relevant.
If you have any questions about how to help keep your children safe online, please catch Mr Beech before, during or after school or, if you would like to make an appointment, please contact the school office.