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Keeping Children Safe

Dear Parent/Carer


I am writing to inform you that we have recently become aware of issues in relation to the online safety of pupils concerning the use of Instagram, an app and website available to access or download on smart phones, tablets, laptops and other internet enabled devices.


Instagram is only for use by those aged over 13 so children in a primary school should not be using the app at all. Much like other popular social networking sites and apps the age limit is put in place to protect children's privacy and to prevent them from being targeted with unsuitable advertisements.


The following links may be helpful for you to read to help you make an informed decision regarding your child’s use of Instagram and other similar apps:



It is very important to recognise that if we do just simply ban children from using Instagram or other similar apps and sites etc. then they may carry on using them but without support or correct advice and so will lie about and hide their online behaviour.


There may then be a concern that they will not speak to an adult if something goes wrong as they are afraid of getting into trouble or having their internet access and devices taken away, and this can be more worrying than the underage use of the site in the first place. 


If you do choose to allow your child to use any apps or websites then please ensure that you understand how the sites work (and what risks your children may encounter), how to use privacy settings (including disabling location services) and make sure that you and your child know how to block and/or report content. Your child should always be appropriately supervised when using apps and devices, especially those with access to cameras as images and content posted online can be shared quickly.


CEOP provide information which may be helpful to consider when deciding to allow access to Instagram or other sites: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Secondary/What-are-they-doing/Socialising/Under-13s-and-Face/


It is important that we highlight the risks of these sites to both children and families e.g. the age limits and we all work together to give appropriate online safety advice.


e-Safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Fleetdown. e-Safety is taught to all pupils which explains and demonstrates how to stay safe and behave appropriately online but we can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with you.


Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep themselves safe and behave appropriately online. It’s important that we are all vigilant when children are using the internet and act to ensure they are protected from people who may pose a risk to them. Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to illegal, unwanted or unpleasant content, comments or activity online and there are steps you can take at home to minimise this risk.


The Golden Rules for e-Safety at home


Ground Rules


  • Discuss as a family how the internet will be used in your house. Consider what information should be kept private (such as personal information, photos etc) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends. Ensure your children know the risks of accepting friends’ requests from strangers online and make sure you know what your child is doing online much like you would offline.


  • Discuss using strong passwords with your child so they understand how they can protect their online accounts. It’s important they know they need to keep their passwords safe and not share them with anyone or use the same password for several accounts. If your child’s account is “hacked” or compromised then make sure they change their password and report any concerns or suspicious activity. For more advice on using strong passwords visit http://tinyurl.com/Getsafeonlinepassword


Online Safety


  • Ensure that you understand how your children’s devices work (e.g. can they download apps). Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content or contact.


  • Always remember that parental control tools are not always 100% effective and sometimes unsuitable content can get past them, so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.


Location – IMPORTANT


Consider locating your computers and laptops in a family area where children’s online activity can be monitored or supervised. Always supervise the use of webcams and any applications or devices which allow voice or video chat. Also consider the use and location of other devices your child’s uses which allow internet access such as mobile phones and games consoles. Visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/a-parents-guide for safety information about consoles and devices




  • Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet, learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.  It’s important that you know all of the sites and apps that your children are using and that you make sure they are suitable (e.g. read the sites terms and conditions) and age appropriate.


  • Ensure that your child knows that once a picture, video or comment is sent or posted online, then it can be difficult to remove and control as other people can forward it share it without them even knowing.


  • Always ensure you and your child know how to block and report people online who may send nasty or inappropriate content. Explore privacy settings, help guidance and any information on the site for parents. Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply and to keep any evidence of cyberbullying messages.


  • Make sure your child knows it’s important that they tell an adult they trust immediately if anything happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.


  • Be realistic: banning the internet or web sites often will not work and it can make a child feel less able to report a problem or concern, so education around safe use is essential.

Websites to visit for more information:

  • www.thinkuknow.co.ukVisit the “Parent/Carer” Section and use the “Click CEOP” button to seek advice and report online abuse


  • www.childnet.com   – Visit the ‘Know It All’ Section for an interactive guide about online safety


  • ww.getsafeonline.org – Free up-to-date Security advice including using complex passwords and managing hacked accounts



  • www.internetmatters.org – Information from the four largest internet service providers (BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin)




  • www.saferinternet.org.uk – Parents guides to safety tools on popular devices and signposts report mechanisms for some websites.




If you are worried that your child is at risk of harm or criminal offence has been committed then you can report your concerns to the Police or Children’s Social Care.


Please do not notify suspicious profiles of your actions, as this could enable them to delete material which might be required for any Police investigations.


You can contact Kent Police via 101 or 999 if there is immediate risk or CEOP by visiting www.ceop.police.uk and using the “Click CEOP” reporting button. You can also contact Kent Children’s Social Services on 03000 41 11 11, or email social.services@kent.gov.uk.


Mrs Burton and Mr Catchpole are available to discuss any help you may need or concerns that you may have.


Yours sincerely,


Mrs Burton                  Mr Catchpole

Designated Safeguarding Leads/ Deputy Headteachers.