We all have a right to feel safe and comfortable in our daily lives. Some people seem to always have problems and others always seem OK. The truth is that we all, whatever our age, have some times in our lives when we feel under pressure or threat. A lot of threats that young people suffer are started, or can be made worse by electronic communication and that’s why we use the term e-Safety. Facebook, twitter, texts, emails, chatrooms and video messages can all seem to ‘gang up’ on you to make you feel bad and it’s not always easy to know who to ask for help.
All of the links below will take you to safe websites where you will discover easy to understand advice, whatever your problem. If you’re having a problem, why not spend some time seeing what’s on offer to make your life easier? You will also probably know which adults in school you should go to if you need personal advice, but if you don’t, start by asking your form tutor where to get advice from in school.
An excellent place to start finding out about e-Safety is the thinkuknow website which has a section for parents and carers and sections for 11 to 16 year olds. Thinkuknow also has links to other useful websites.
If you want to report a web site or some internet activity that you think is wrong, including on your mobile phone, click the CEOP link here.
Acceptable use Agreement (Students)
A key aspect of e-safety in school is the use of an Acceptable use Agreement. This document has to be accepted by a new student user to the school computer network by him or her clicking the ‘Accept’ button they are presented with. Refusal to accept the document means that the user is refused access to the network. As technology and ideas change the AuA is revised and the user has to again go though the acceptance process before re-accessing the network. This process ensures that students have a clear understanding of the restrictions placed on their use of ICT and of their responsibility towards other network / internet users.
Websites for children and young people
Most of these sites have been created with a particular purpose in mind but don’t be scared of looking round each site to see what else you can find.
WithuinMind is a locally managed site which provides mental health information for children and young people. It has sections targeted at different age groups so you won’t feel left out. And don’t go worrying about the ‘mental’ word – it just means the site can help you with the way you think about things that worry you.
CEOP is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and this is where you are encouraged to report anything which makes you feel uncomfortable when you are online. This is so that action can be taken to stop the problem. You’ll find when you’ve reported something it will make you feel a whole lot better because you’re getting back in control of what happens to you. The CEOP team also creates the thinkuknow website.
Childline has been around for over 25 years and was the first organisation to offer help directly to children and young people on the telephone. Now it is run by the NSPCC (National Society for the Protection of Children) and users can also make contact by email, message boards and 1-2-1 chat (like MSN). If something’s bugging you, not necessarily an online problem, get in touch on 0800 11 11.
If you are a young person who is a ‘carer’ for a parent or guardian who has a mental or physical disability, then Bury Young Carers may be able to help. Information is available about how to get support through the Bury Young Carers web page on Bury Council’s website.
The RD4U site may be able to help you understand your feelings if someone close to you has died. The site offers help to parents and teachers but has a special section for young people, and even a page just for ‘lads’.
The Samaritans website provides help and advice to people of all ages, particularly those who are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The link given here takes you directly to the page for young people.
Other websites for parents
Most of the websites given above also offer facts and advice for parents and carers to help them keep their children safe. Some also offer help directly to the parent or carer to help them manage their own problems. Additionally, social networking sites have pages offering advice to families about how users of all ages can keep their accounts secure. Many mobile phone companies also provide digital parenting information. Some sample links are given below but many more can be easily found by running an internet search.
Try the following ‘keywords’ in Google or other internet search facility.
knowitall, digital parent (mobile phone in for parents), twitter safety, facebook safety, mobile phone safety and throw in the word ‘parents‘ or ‘children‘ to help narrow down your search results.