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Online Safety - December 2022 Guidance

Dear Parents/Carers

Our first priority at Shimna is to ensure the safety and happiness of our wonderful students. We appreciate that importance of enabling our students to engage with the online world in a safe, informed and confident manner

Over the course of this term, we have provided sessions for all students in Years 8 – 10 on ‘Staying Safe Online’. The sessions covered:

· The positive online experience

· Cyber-bullying, what it looks like and the impact on the individual

· The law with regard to online behaviour

· Security settings

· Digital footprint

· Who to talk to - reporting concerns

· Where to find advice and guidance

· Virtual friends and online grooming

We are mindful that, over Christmas, many young people will receive new devices and computer games as presents. With this in mind, the PSNI has recently published concerning statistics revealing an 80% rise in reports of online child sexual abuse over the past three years, with many being approached by predators online and across gaming platforms.

The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland, the Education Authority and the PSNI have put together some key tips on how to make sure children and young people enjoy the internet safely.

These include:

· checking the privacy, location, and parental controls on devices used by children

· checking the direct messages and chat functions on apps

· using parental controls

· and having open conversations with your child about what they are doing online

Parents and carers can access the Safeguarding Board NI App for online safety information and advice.

Practical tips and advice have been published on the Police Service’s website here:

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas

The Safeguarding Team at Shimna



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