Staying safe online | Portsmouth High School

Staying safe online

Last Tuesday was internet safety day in the UK. Rather than concentrate everything into one day I used my computing lessons this week to remind the girls about ways to stay safe online. There are many reasons to do this and several interesting points were made in an article written for Independent School Parent by Natalie Keeler.

The piece suggests that there are more photos and videos being posted online than ever before, a fact that it indisputable. The ease with which sharing can be achieved with modern mobile technology is an increasing issue for ever younger children. I have spoken to various year groups and it is clear that more of our girls in the junior school have their own phone or tablet.

Another increasing prevalence is that a larger proportion of children are involved in social networking of some kind. It is likely that these will be platforms such as Snapchat, or those that have their own account on YouTube. Facebook and Twitter have very little use which was not the case a few

years ago, despite the age guidelines. They are seen as being for us older people.

Naivety is the biggest enemy when it comes to the use of mobile technology and the internet. It is so easy to fall into traps such as wearing a school uniform in a movie or giving information about where they live or what their preferences are. At school I have candid conversations with the girls about avoiding these situations and other issues like considering what clothing is worn, or not, whilst taking a selfie. These are all things that can be done incredibly easily and with no malice of forethought.

I am finding that our girls are becoming more aware of the dangers of the internet. It is heartening to see that parents are engaging with their daughters to agree boundaries. I believe it is always more powerful for the girls to come up with their own rules rather than the use of bans and imposed restrictions. The internet can be a wonderful tool for all to use and one that is around to stay.