Online Safety

The Ofsted Inspection handbook launched in 2015 included significant changes to how it considered and inspected online safety. The Ofsted Outstanding grade descriptors include:

  • Pupils work hard with the school to prevent all forms of bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying.
  • Pupils have an excellent understanding of how to stay safe online and of the dangers of inappropriate use of mobile technology and social networking sites

To achieve both of the above, schools will need to provide regular, appropriate education for all pupils taking account of any special education needs or disabilities or any other factors affecting the young person. In addition, Ofsted will be considering evidence that staff understand the risk posed to young people by the internet, and that this is regularly updated and that schools have mechanisms protecting.

Digital literacy and other online safety programmes

We encourage you to think about how to embed online safety as part of a bigger digital literacy initiative across the curriculum. This is to ensure that young people are being taught the skills they need to navigate the world in which they find themselves, and to emphasise the positive aspects to using technology and the internet.

SWGfL have developed a free digital literacy curriculum together with the US organisation ‘CommonSenseMedia’, which covers all age groups and provides multiple activities in each area of the curriculum. It covers the following eight areas:

  • internet safety
  • privacy & security
  • relationships & communication
  • cyberbullying
  • information literacy
  • self-image & identity
  • digital footprint & reputation
  • creative credit & copyright

Up to Year 9, there are five lessons covering one or more of these areas with links to resources; for years 10-13, there are four units each with five modules. For each set of lessons there are also ideas about what opportunities there are to embed the ideas from the lesson across the curriculum, which are available here.

There are also other programmes such as the Childnet Digital Leaders programme and e-Cadets programmes which are peer-led programmes and the ParentZone Digital Schools Membership which are aimed more at staff and parents. Peer-led programmes where older children help to educate younger children are often very practical, realistic and relevant. These are in addition to programmes aimed at bullying for example the Diana award Anti-Bullying Campaign or the Anti-Bullying Alliance All together campaigns.

We are continuing our termly online safety newsletters for parents and professionals. The parent’s newsletter may be sent out by email or placed on your website. To sign up to receive newsletters please click here.

The version of the newsletter sent out to the mailing list is an email magazine, but a PDF version can be downloaded from the above website.

Education for KS1 should explore the appropriateness of content that children are viewing and sharing (some of them may have YouTube channels or be using other apps to share images and videos), who they are in contact with and the differences between an online ‘friend’ and a real friend.

For the older group of KS1, children should have the opportunity to think about how to behave towards each other and what to do if they have negative experiences, especially the importance of getting an adult to help them.

Digiduck’s Big Decision (Childnet)

The Digiduck® collection has been created to help parents and teachers educate children aged 3 – 7 about how to be a good friend online. The collection now includes a book, PDF and interactive app. Help arrives just in time for Digiduck® when faced with a difficult decision! Follow Digiduck® and his pals in this story of friendship and responsibility online.

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Lee and Kim (ThinkUKnow)

Lee and Kim is a short animated film designed for young children. It follows two primary school aged children who are playing an online game. The cartoon highlights the importance of being safe online, and helps children to spot important online behaviours such as being kind to other people and not talking to strangers. This video is available from the THINKUKNOW website together with some fun activities and a song. Alternatively, the video is available from the CEOP YouTube channel and is also available with BSL or subtitles.

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Murphy and Red (Safer Internet Day 2017)

The following are two videos from Safer Internet Day 2017 (1) Ask before you watch – Red and Murphy talk to Freddie and Alisha about watching videos online. What should children do before they watch videos on YouTube and what should they do if they see something upsetting online? (2) How to make an avatar – Red and Murphy chat about creating an avatar online and what private information children should be aware of using when creating their own avatars. Videos are also available with BSL or subtitles here. Complementary education packs for 5-7 year olds can also be downloaded here.

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Share Aware (NSPCC)

The Share Aware teaching resources and lesson plans have been created to provide straightforward, no-nonsense advice which will untangle the web, and let you know how, as a teacher or practitioner, you can show your pupils ways to be to be safe online. The central message is that the internet is a great place for children to be and being Share Aware makes it safer. These teaching resources support you to deliver the ‘stay safe’ messages to pupils. They’ve been written in conjunction with teachers, producers of educational resources and experts from the NSPCC – and have been piloted in primary schools to make sure that pupils respond to them.

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Smartie the Penguin (Childnet)

Follow the adventures of Smarties the Penguin as he learns to be safe on the internet. There are Powerpoint versions of the story for EYFS, Year 1 and 2, a lesson plan and a song available here. The material covers: pop ups and in app purchasing, inappropriate websites for older children, and online bullying.

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SWGFL Digital Literacy Programme

These free online safety materials are designed to empower pupils and students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Find the lessons that are just right for your classroom. Browse by Key Stage or Year Group, for cross-curricular lessons which address digital literacy and citizenship topics in an age-appropriate way.

More information

Webster’s Technology Books by Hannah Whaley

Webster’s technology is a series of books that feature a cartoon spider and are written in a rhyming style: the series currently comprises Webster’s email, Websters bedtime, Webster’s friend and Webster’s manners. Each covers a different aspect of using technology safely. Available in paperback and electronic edition from online book sellers.

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Education for KS2 children should build on that provided for KS1. Children should be exploring privacy settings, blocking and reporting and thinking about what the effects of sharing content could be in the future. The biggest risk to children at this age is getting into unpleasant conversations with friends from school and the potential fall-out from this or escalation into bullying. Ensuring children know what to do if they see or experience this type of behaviour online is a key focus.

Age-appropriate discussions about grooming should be had, as well as about youth produced sexual imagery as more and more cases of this are being seen in primary schools. Some children may have YouTube channels or may be using other platforms where they share content, for example Instagram or Snapchat.

Online gaming is also something many of children are involved with, even if they do not have a games console, and this can lead to children experiencing very inappropriate content and playing games with unsuitable people.

One of the major challenges is to help children to look at the risks of their own behaviour rather than just the abstract concept of risk. Exploring these topics in a number of different ways across the curriculum gives the best chance of children learning these risks.

Crossing the Line

This toolkit is comprised of four films and accompanying lesson plans which explore the idea of ‘Crossing the line’. Young people like to push boundaries, and at times they might take a joke too far or engage in risky behaviour online. From behind a screen, they can’t always predict the consequences of their actions. Through discussion and activities, this toolkit challenges young people to not only reflect on their own behaviour online and discover what ‘crosses the line’ for them, but so they also know who and how to report when/if aspects of their online lives go wrong. The purpose of this toolkit is to help educators generate discussion among young people about their online experience. Using the short films as a spring board, the toolkit covers relevant topics such as cyberbullying, sexting, peer pressure and self-esteem.

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Digital Citizenship: Young Peoples’ Rights on Social Media

In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever that our young people are able to understand and feel in control of their online rights. But more often than not, they’re not even aware that they even have any. The Children’s Commissioner for England, working with Tes and Schillings, have produced three teaching packs to help young people become more empowered digital citizens. Relevant to citizenship and computing curriculums around the world, these packs include lesson ideas and simplified T&Cs for five major social media sites. So why not take a look and add another dimension to the way you speak to students about the opportunities that the internet, and particularly social media, have to offer?

More information

I saw your willy (NSPCC Share Aware)

Increasing numbers of primary school age children are known to be sharing personal images of themselves. This video would be suitable to children in KS2 who you might be concerned are at risk. Alex’s friend shares a picture of Alex with his friend Katie for a joke, but Katie shares it with lots of people online leading to Alex getting bullied and being upset. There is a cartoon video and lesson plans with activities, extension work, homework and a slideshow presentation which is available here

More information

Lucy and the Boy (NSPCC Share Aware)

Lucy and the Boy is a resource explaining to children about what is and isn’t suitable to share online. There is a cartoon video and lesson plan with activities, extension work and homework, with a slide presentation also available. The video contains closed captions and is available here.

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Play Like Share (ThinkUKnow)

Play Like Share is a three-episode animated series and accompanying resource pack that aims to help 8-10 year olds learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, exploitation and other risks they might encounter online. There is an accompanying resource pack containing guidance, photocopiable workbooks, materials to engage parents and carers and extension sessions designed to be delivered to particularly risk-taking or vulnerable children, that address; self-esteem, commercial risks, privacy and security and online grooming. The video comes with closed captions and is available here. The video is also available from the CEOP YouTube channel here.

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Resources about critical thinking: fake websites

The following websites can be used to test students’ critical thinking skills to see if they believe everything they see online:

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Resources from Safer Internet Day 2017

The education pack for Safer Internet Day 2017 for 7-11 year olds contains an assembly, a play and other activities for this age group together with a video called ‘The Bigger Picture.’ The film looks at the power of images online – how an image can create an impression and how often there is more than meets the eye in an image. It looks at a series of parts of images and asks children what they think is happening and sees how their views change depending on how much of the picture they can see. Also available in BSL and subtitles from Youtube/Vimeo. There is also a photography pack which explores different aspects of the power of image: from the pressure to take the perfect selfie, to the ways that images can be misleading or ambiguous, the six photography briefs challenge young people to consider the impact of images on their lives, while also celebrating the positive power of image to help inspire a better internet. A gallery of these images is available for discussion but there is nothing stopping this activity being used outside of safer internet day.

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Share Aware (NSPCC)

The Share Aware teaching resources and lesson plans have been created to provide straightforward, no-nonsense advice which will untangle the web, and let you know how, as a teacher or practitioner, you can show your pupils ways to be to be safe online. The central message is that the internet is a great place for children to be and being Share Aware makes it safer. These teaching resources support you to deliver the ‘stay safe’ messages to pupils. They’ve been written in conjunction with teachers, producers of educational resources and experts from the NSPCC – and have been piloted in primary schools to make sure that pupils respond to them.

More information

SWGFL Digital Literacy Programme

These free online safety materials are designed to empower pupils and students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Find the lessons that are just right for your classroom. Browse by Key Stage or Year Group, for cross-curricular lessons which address digital literacy and citizenship topics in an age-appropriate way.

More information

The Adventures of Kara, Winston and the SMART Crew from Childnet

The five videos cover Safe (not sharing personal details), Meet, Accept, Reliable and Tell or SMART. These cartoons illustrate the five online safety SMART rules and include a real life SMART crew of young people, who guide the cartoon characters in their quest, and help them make safe online decisions. There is a supporting quiz and other resources, and the videos are available in BSL, subtitle and clicker versions and there is a copy of the SMART rules in symbols. This is all available here. Please note this resource was updated in 2016 to include a different SMART crew of young people to be more relevant.

More information

Trust Me: a critical thinking (Childnet)

The main aim of the Trust Me resource is to educate young people around inaccurate and pervasive information that they might come across online. This resource is by no means a solution to the issues that are facing young people online but is intended to stimulate and facilitate discussions around online risk. This resource is accessible here.

More information

Education for KS3+ young people is more complex as issues of peer pressure, sexual development, body image and mental health can be more prominent as well as young people taking a greater responsibility for their online activity and many having mobile phones.

The topics relating to online bullying and grooming, youth produced sexual imagery and radicalisation need to be tackled in a way which will engage young people to think about their own actions and when they need to protect others. This will include an exploration of criminal activity as well as looking at the safeguarding context and how school will respond if certain types of issues come to light. In particular, grooming and youth produced sexual imagery will also overlap with sex and relationship education issues such as viewing pornography, healthy relationships, domestic abuse, violence against women and girls and so on (see separate section on resources).

Both online bullying and radicalisation need to be discussed in the context of discrimination and hate incidents/crimes.

Bullying videos (Childline)

The Childline website and a number of the Voicebox videos on YouTube also cover bullying and a list of their playlists is available here. The playlists are split into different categories and the bullying-specific section is accessible here. The Voicebox videos feature mostly youngish adults and are short discussions about various different topics. The videos are produced on a weekly basis so it is worth signing up to the channel for notifications.

More information

Digital Citizenship: Young Peoples’ Rights on Social Media

In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever that our young people are able to understand and feel in control of their online rights. But more often than not, they’re not even aware that they even have any. The Children’s Commissioner for England, working with Tes and Schillings, have produced three teaching packs to help young people become more empowered digital citizens. Relevant to citizenship and computing curriculums around the world, these packs include lesson ideas and simplified T&Cs for five major social media sites. So why not take a look and add another dimension to the way you speak to students about the opportunities that the internet, and particularly social media, have to offer?

More information

Exploited (ThinkUKnow)

This 18-minute film helps young people learn to stay safe from sexual exploitation and helps educate young people to identify features of an exploitative friendship or relationship in contrast with the development of a healthy relationship.

It also gives them clear information about how to report abuse and access support.

More information

Exposed (ThinkUKnow)

This film explores the idea of ‘nude selfies’ in the context of a teenage relationship.

Dee has a boyfriend, whom as a part of a consensual relationship she sends a nude image to. The audience then begin to see how easily a person can lose control of their image as Dee’s photo is shared around the school. Dee thinks of ways she can take control of the situation and advises the audience on the risks of sharing nude selfies.

The audience are encouraged to think about the emotional and social consequences of a nude selfie being shared.

More information

Fight against porn zombies (FAPZ) (Childline)

Childline has a lot of information aimed at children of 12+ about the realities of watching pornography. They also have a series of cartoons aimed at boys available on their YouTube channel here. Episode 1 looks at how boys can have their perception of sex altered by watching pornography and how it can lead to objectifying women. Episode 2 looks at how pornography can lead to people feeling they have to re-enact what they see. Episode 3 looks at the peer pressure to have sex. There are also information films that explore the topic further. Be aware that the cartoons are quite explicit: the main authority figure in the cartoons is called Professor Ophelia Balls and there are other characters with similarly ‘on-the-edge’ names.

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Gaming Addiction from MindEd

MindEd is an organisation that provides education about children and young people’s mental health for professionals and parents. It has a section on parenting in the digital world covering the risks etc but also includes an animated video where Mark discusses his gaming addiction. Available on the MindEd website here.

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I am Holly (Bedford high School, Greater Manchester)

This powerful video from Greater Manchester Police looks at online and offline bullying and shows how someone being bullied might feel. It also describes how we can help someone who is being bullied by standing up to bullying.

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Just send it (Childnet)

Part of the Crossing the Line PHSE toolkit. Abi and her friends love to live their lives online; sharing top tips, fashion ideas and fun stories. The film includes closed caption subtitles and is available here. ‘When her online comments catch the attention of Josh, a boy well known in the school, she is excited. As friendship grows and their like for each other develops, it’s not long before Josh’s friend encourages him to pressurise Abi to send a nude selfie. She’s not keen to do this and seeks the advice of her friends. Mixed opinions and increasing pressure from Josh soon encourage her to change her mind to take the photo. Although Josh intends to delete the photo, his friend Brandon, intercepts the picture and sends it on to others online, which causes much distress for Abi.’

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Like Me (TrueTube)

TRUETUBE contains RE, PSHE and Citizenship resources. The video LikeMe uses a fast moving format to show how people interact online and is accessible here. School is over for the day, and Sophia is straight online with her friends, sharing messages and photos, but then someone shares too much and this has a massive impact for Sophia. Teachers’ notes containing discussion topics and activities are available.

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Picture This (Drama activity about sexting)

A practical educational sexting resource that addresses and questions the sensitive issue of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically with 11-16 year olds. By asking young people to step into the shoes of the characters within Picture This, they explore the law, impact and consequence of sexting and are encouraged to contemplate their online behaviour. The pack comprises of a 25-minute play script and lesson plans that seek to educate and enlighten young people about the consequences of creating and sending indecent images. Young people can decide their own ending for this play, formed from all that they have learned throughout the lessons.

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Resources from Safer Internet Day 2017

The education packs for Safer Internet Day 2017 for 11-18 year olds contain an assembly, lesson plan and other activities for these age groups together with two videos (1) ‘Selfie shack’ which features young people in KS3 talking about what they like about taking selfies and what the pressures are to take ‘perfect’ selfies and (2) ‘Your image, you future’ explores what other people, for example future employers might think about you based on what you post online. Also available with BSL and subtitles from YouTube/Vimeo. There is also a photography pack – see the KS2 section as much of this may be applicable to KS3 and KS4. All available here.

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Sending nudes from Sussex police

Two animated videos looking at the risks of sending nudes of yourself and the consequences of sharing images of others. Both videos include closed captions and are available here.

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So You Got Naked Online (SWGFL)

‘So you got naked online’ is a leaflet that helps and advises young people who may find themselves in a situation where they (or a friend) have put a sexting image or video online and have lost control over that content and who it’s being shared with. It is available as a 15-page booklet or handout flyer. There is a cost to purchase these, but more information can be found on the suppliers website.

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Stay Safe from CBBC

The CBBC section on the BBC website has a number of resources suitable for KS3 including quizzes, videos and Newsround reports. Some of the most engaging are the songs and sketches created by the Horrible Histories team including Protect thy privacy settings featuring Guy Fawkes, What happens when you lie about your age online featuring the prudish Victorians, Lady Jane Grey Beware what you download and Saxon Monk in Internet videos are Forever. These are all accessible here. CBBC also have an Anti-bullying playlist on their YouTube channel and a collection of anti-bullying week videos on their website which includes videos about people being bullied because of various differences such as because they are clever, the colour or their hair, their faith, the fact they are transgender and because they were born in another country.

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Stay safe, don’t send (The Children’s Society)

This is an animated resource about the effects of youth produced sexual imagery concentrating on the Gypsy, Roma and travelling communities as part of a project trying to keep young people in those communities safe from Child Sexual Exploitation. Other resources include an activity book, guide for practitioners, posters and leaflets which are available here.

More information

SWGFL Digital Literacy Programme

These free online safety materials are designed to empower pupils and students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Find the lessons that are just right for your classroom. Browse by Key Stage or Year Group, for cross-curricular lessons which address digital literacy and citizenship topics in an age-appropriate way.

More information

ThinkUKnow

The THINKUKNOW education programme covers children and young people online, relationships, sex and young people and sexual abuse and exploitation: it does not cover bullying. The THINKUKNOW website has specific areas of its website for 11-13 and 14-18 year olds, a selection of videos aimed at KS3 and 4 and also the THINKUKNOW toolkit called ‘Sex the Internet’ and ‘You’ which contain 15 activities, some of which use the THINKUKNOW website to explore various different topics including friending, digital reputation, passwords, selfies and privacy. The ‘Consequences’ video is useful because it demonstrates offender behaviour. The professionals’ resources are available here and amongst these there are a number of videos available with BSL or subtitles. You will need to register for a free THINKUKNOW account to access and download resources and you will need to have attended a THINKUKNOW introduction course in order to access some of the resources.

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Trust Me: a critical thinking (Childnet)

The main aim of the Trust Me resource is to educate young people around inaccurate and pervasive information that they might come across online. This resource is by no means a solution to the issues that are facing young people online but is intended to stimulate and facilitate discussions around online risk. This resource is accessible here.

More information

Zipit app from Childline

The Zipit app aims to help teenagers deal with difficult sexting and flirting situations. The app offers humorous comebacks and advice, and aims to help teenagers stay in control of flirting when chatting. Search for ‘zipit’ in your app store.

More information

Josh and Sue (ThinkUKnow)

Josh and Sue is an animated film which covers issues around online bullying, sharing information and who are real friends. This animation has been designed to be used with young people learning difficulties. There are two different commentaries, one for those with mild to moderate needs and another for moderate to severe needs. There is no complex story and there are clear tick and cross symbols for when an action by one of the characters is safe or not safe. There are supporting activities and lesson plans to go with the video. All this is available here.

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Other useful materials

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STAR toolkit from Childnet

The STAR toolkit consists of practical advice and 15 teaching activities to help educators explore online safety with young people with autism spectrum disorders in Key Stage 3 and 4. The sections consist of Safe, Trust, Action and Respect. All sections feature the concept of friendship and have a focus on finding the balance between online and offline interaction. The resources are in a downloadable format, however, most of the activities are not complete lessons but starter activities or similar. For a review of the activities, please click here.

More information

There are numerous resources available for education on sexting (youth produced sexual imagery), CSE and other sexual content. Below is a collection of resources aimed at different groups of young people.


#Listentoyourselfie (Childline)

The #Listentoyourselfie campaign from Childline looks at healthy and unhealthy relationships. There are stories that are presented in written and video form and a checklist of what’s healthy and what’s not.

  • The Party: Lara meets and older boy Dan and they start a relationship. Dan comes to Lara’s house while she is having a party with her friends and he starts to pressure her into having sex.
  • The Game: Paul has an online friend JJ who he talks to about being gay or possibly bisexual. JJ sends Paul a naked picture and asks for one in return.

Both videos are available with closed captions and can be viewed here.

More information

Disrespect Nobody (Home Office)

The Disrespect Nobody campaign from the Home Office focuses on healthy relationships. There is a website with information about sexting, relationship abuse, consent, rape, pornography, and where to get help. There are also videos about sexting, relationship abuse and consent. The videos are animated but suitable for young people and try to be practical and humorous. The videos come with closed captions and can be accessed here.

More information

Exploited (ThinkUKnow)

This 18-minute film helps young people learn to stay safe from sexual exploitation and helps educate young people to identify features of an exploitative friendship or relationship in contrast with the development of a healthy relationship.

It also gives them clear information about how to report abuse and access support.

More information

Exposed (ThinkUKnow)

This film explores the idea of ‘nude selfies’ in the context of a teenage relationship.

Dee has a boyfriend, whom as a part of a consensual relationship she sends a nude image to. The audience then begin to see how easily a person can lose control of their image as Dee’s photo is shared around the school. Dee thinks of ways she can take control of the situation and advises the audience on the risks of sharing nude selfies.

The audience are encouraged to think about the emotional and social consequences of a nude selfie being shared.

More information

Fight against porn zombies (FAPZ) (Childline)

Childline has a lot of information aimed at children of 12+ about the realities of watching pornography. They also have a series of cartoons aimed at boys available on their YouTube channel here. Episode 1 looks at how boys can have their perception of sex altered by watching pornography and how it can lead to objectifying women. Episode 2 looks at how pornography can lead to people feeling they have to re-enact what they see. Episode 3 looks at the peer pressure to have sex. There are also information films that explore the topic further. Be aware that the cartoons are quite explicit: the main authority figure in the cartoons is called Professor Ophelia Balls and there are other characters with similarly ‘on-the-edge’ names.

More information

I saw your willy (NSPCC Share Aware)

Increasing numbers of primary school age children are known to be sharing personal images of themselves. This video would be suitable to children in KS2 who you might be concerned are at risk. Alex’s friend shares a picture of Alex with his friend Katie for a joke, but Katie shares it with lots of people online leading to Alex getting bullied and being upset. There is a cartoon video and lesson plans with activities, extension work, homework and a slideshow presentation which is available here

More information

It’s Not Because He Loves You (Cambridgeshire Police)

A teenage girl talks about her relationship with Jake, an older boy. Jake buys her gifts and a phone and is displaying controlling behaviour including sharing naked images of her. The film explores the feelings of the young person. It is sometimes difficult for young people and adults to identify these types of abusive situations as children and young people may believe they are in a loving, consensual relationship. The video is available to view here.

More information

Just send it (Childnet)

Part of the Crossing the Line PHSE toolkit. Abi and her friends love to live their lives online; sharing top tips, fashion ideas and fun stories. The film includes closed caption subtitles and is available here. ‘When her online comments catch the attention of Josh, a boy well known in the school, she is excited. As friendship grows and their like for each other develops, it’s not long before Josh’s friend encourages him to pressurise Abi to send a nude selfie. She’s not keen to do this and seeks the advice of her friends. Mixed opinions and increasing pressure from Josh soon encourage her to change her mind to take the photo. Although Josh intends to delete the photo, his friend Brandon, intercepts the picture and sends it on to others online, which causes much distress for Abi.’

More information

Kayleigh’s Love Story (Leicestershire Police)

Kayleigh’s love story is an online grooming case from October 2015 which ended tragically. This video re-enacts the last two weeks of 15-year old Kayleigh Haywood’s life when she was groomed on Facebook by a 27-year old male and then went to visit the man. Kayleigh was raped and murdered by the man and his next door neighbour. Both men were subsequently convicted of serious offences and received substantial prison sentences. The video has been made with the support of Kayleigh’s family and would be rated 15 if it were to be shown in the cinema. The video and the accompanying information is available here.

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Sending nudes from Sussex police

Two animated videos looking at the risks of sending nudes of yourself and the consequences of sharing images of others. Both videos include closed captions and are available here.

More information

Stay safe, don’t send (The Children’s Society)

This is an animated resource about the effects of youth produced sexual imagery concentrating on the Gypsy, Roma and travelling communities as part of a project trying to keep young people in those communities safe from Child Sexual Exploitation. Other resources include an activity book, guide for practitioners, posters and leaflets which are available here.

More information

Zipit app from Childline

The Zipit app aims to help teenagers deal with difficult sexting and flirting situations. The app offers humorous comebacks and advice, and aims to help teenagers stay in control of flirting when chatting. Search for ‘zipit’ in your app store.

More information


Sexting Guidance for Schools

Click here for further information.

Sexting: Guidance for Schools

The UK Safer Internet Centre has worked together with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to develop new advice for schools and colleges about responding to sexting incidents and safeguarding young people.

But let us not forget that the real harm which sexting causes is to the sender as well as the receiver. The embarrassment, bullying, and fear which is instilled when an intimate photo is in the Cloud forever should not be under-estimated.
Olivia Pickney – National Policing Lead for Children and Young People

Exposed (CEOP Education Resource)

The following web sites provide useful support for schools.

The following documents provide guidance and practical advice on how to deal with sexting incidents in schools, and when appropriate, how to report to the police.

Police action in response to youth produced sexual imagery (‘Sexting’)

Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people

Keeping children safe in education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges

Searching, screening and confiscation: Advice for headteachers, school staff and governing bodies

This guidance aims to help schools identify sexting incidents, manage them and escalate appropriately.

What is cyber bullying?

When a bully uses the internet as a tool to abuse someone, this is known as cyber bullying or online bullying.

As a parent, guardian or carer it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand internet technology, you can still help your child if they are being bullied online.

There are lots of places where you can find information online about cyber bullying including the NSPCC website.

Blame the Bully, not the technology

Bullies cause cyber bullying and the internet and technology are tools that they use to help make that happen. Taking away your child’s access to the internet won’t necessarily solve the problem. That said, your child may wish to stop using social networks or other things for a while and all of that will need to be talked about and agreed by you and your child together.

Consider if and how you will respond to the bully

Bullies want a reaction of any kind so we suggest to children and young people that they don’t respond at all to online bullies but to report them and block them instead, and to talk to someone they can trust about it. You may want to respond to the bully. If that’s the case, do this when you have had time to consider what your want to say calmly and carefully.
You may want to explain to the bully that you’re now aware of what’s been going on, have saved the evidence of the bullying and have/or are going to report them to the website or social network they have been using, their school (if they are a child and you know them), their parents (if you know them) or the police if you think what’s happening is serious enough.

Save the evidence

Save the bullying if possible for evidence. This could include saving text messages or keeping a record of what’s been happening online. If the bullying is happening online but you can’t save it due to the system that’s been used you can use something called ‘print screen’ or ‘screen capture’ to copy information into a document and save that separately as evidence. If you’re not sure how to do this you can search for instructions online.

Use Reporting Facilities

Many social networks allow users to ‘report abuse’ and ‘block’ users. As a parent, guardian or carer you may want to encourage your child to find out (if they don’t already know) how they can report someone online so that they feel confident to do it if they need to. It’s also important for children to understand the need to report people for cyber bullying before they ‘block them’ so that action can be taken.

Get your school involved

If you think your child is being bullied online by someone from their school contact the school. Individual schools will have their own policies on bullying / cyber bullying. Whatever the policy if your child is being bullied by someone from their school or someone they don’t know, they may need support of some kind during school hours.

If the bully is from your child’s school that may need some support too so by making a report, you can help. Although each case is different, generally schools should make it very clear what their approach is to bullying (including online bullying).

Keep talking

Any form of bullying can make a child feel alone. Cyber bullying can happen day and night, on school days and weekends. This can be not only upsetting but really tiring. Keep talking with your child to reassure them and let them know that they are not to blame.

When to contact the police

If you think that the level of bullying is serious and that your child is at risk of harm telephone Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 and ask to speak with your local Police Community Support Officer or Youth Intervention Officer. In an emergency always telephone 999.
Like the offline environment there are laws in the UK that apply online. Although each case is different, cyber bullies shouldn’t be surprised to receive a visit from the police if what they have been doing has resulted in a criminal offence. You can find out more about the law at GOV.UK.

Many gaming devices now mean that children and young people can play online against people they know and people they don’t know (which can include adults). As well as just playing games together people can also interact in other ways.

It’s important to make sure that games are suitable for their age and that children understand how they can stay safer.

Online gaming things to think about

  • Does my child’s gaming device have parental controls that I can use?
  • Who is my child interacting with? Are they adults or children?
  • If my child is playing games online with strangers, what types of things can we both do to help make that experience safer?
  • What type of language are people using in the games and is it appropriate for my child?
  • Does my child understand the risks of sharing personal information (e.g. name, email address, phone number) when gaming?
  • Does my child know what to do if they are being bullied by another player?
  • Does my child know what to do if another player does something to make them feel uncomfortable or frightened?
  • What type of content is my child viewing?

Online gaming things to talk about

If you don’t play online games you might not be sure how to talk about gaming with your child but there are some things you can ask them like:

  • What type of games do you like most? (for example Action, Fantasy, Adventure, Fighting, Racing etc).
  • Can you choose the type of character you play in the game?
  • What are the characters like?
  • What types of things can you do in the game?
  • What types of people can you meet in the game?
  • What types of things do people like to talk about?
  • If someone is being a bully or making you feel uncomfortable, how can you report them in the game?
  • Can I have a game with you? (Having a go on the game is a pretty good way to learn, you might have fun but you should probably expect to lose!).

How old?

The PEGI system gives age ratings to products to help adults decide if a game is suitable for their child. As well as age ratings, products feature ‘descriptors’ which show why a product has received a certain age rating. For example this might be because it contains violence (including sexual violence), discrimination, depictions of alcohol and drugs, or bad language.

What are parental controls?

Parental controls are tools that can be used to filter, control and monitor internet activity. Parental controls are one tool that can be used and having them doesn’t mean that regular chats around online activity shouldn’t take place.

Parental controls won’t protect children from issues like cyber bullying, losing control over pictures/videos that they’ve shared or getting a bad online reputation.

Parental controls can be put on televisions, computers, gaming devices and mobile devices like tablets and phones. If you’re not sure how to use (or if you even have) parental controls, contact your service provider and ask them. Not all parental controls are free of charge so you may want to check that out.

Activating parental controls

Internet Matters.org has produced guides to setting up parental controls across a number of platforms. You can view the Youtube Playlist by clicking below.

We’ve been surfing the web to look at a number of websites for companies that provide internet services and find their ‘parental control’ pages. If you’re with one of the following service providers, please visit their website to find out what service is available to you.

Please note that this list doesn’t include all providers.

Broadband Providers

Mobile Phone Network Providers

OS Providers

Game Consoles

Further Information

The NSPCC has produced some useful information about Parental controls which you can read here.

The online environment contains so much information that it can be tempting to ‘borrow’ from it, particularly where homework is concerned.

Plagiarism is the act of taking the work or idea of someone else and passing it off as your own. As well as being just bad form, plagiarism is a form of cheating which can have serious consequences at school, college or university.

What you can do:

  • Encourage your child to ask their teachers if there are any specific websites they recommend viewing for particular pieces of work.
  • Suggest that your child gets into the habit of recording the names and website addresses of sites they have used to help them with their homework.
  • Encourage your child to think about what they have read online and then write their homework in their own words. This doesn’t mean ‘changing a few words around’. Instead they should write from their own perspective, based on their understanding of the issue.
  • Ensure that if your child is using a direct quote or piece of information that they know how to reference it (i.e. record that they are using someone else’s work to help them make a point).

Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn is when personal explicit media is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual. This could include sharing ‘sexting’ images of someone in a social network, or posting images or films to websites without their permission.

The law

People who commit revenge porn in the UK can now face prison sentences under a new measure in the law that bans the distribution of a private sexual image of someone without their consent and with the intent to cause distress. Find out more on the Revenge Porn factsheet created by GOV.UK.

 

Getting help

If someone is over 18 they can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline. Anyone under 18 should contact CEOP. Find out what to do if your child is being approached online about sex.

There are places online where content like films, music and games can be accessed for free. Not all online content is safe and legal and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

As well as possibly breaking copyright law, websites offering content for illegal download may contain viruses, malware or spyware that could damage your devices and put your personal data at risk.

What you can do:

  • Talk with your child and agree safe and legal websites for downloading content.
  • Explain why copyright exists and explore how your child would feel if they spent a lot of time and effort creating something that other people then stole or changed.
  • Install and maintain parental controls.
  • Run regular updates on your anti-virus/security software.

For more information visit the ChildNet website.

What is sexting?

Sexting is the word used to describe the sharing of personal sexual content electronically. The word is a combination of ‘sex’ and ‘texting’.

Why do people sext?

Sexting is usually deliberate (i.e. people choose to do it) and is often when someone takes an intimate or sexually explicit image of themselves and sends it to another person (for example a boyfriend or girlfriend). Although it’s completely natural for young people to want to explore their own sexual identity and their relationships, sexting can be really risky and have very serious consequences.

Sexting and the law

If anyone under the age of 18 is sexting (i.e. sending indecent images of themselves), they’re also breaking the law. You can find out more about sexting and the law on the Think You Know website but in brief it’s a criminal offence to:

  • TAKE an indecent image of someone under the age of 18 (which includes someone taking an image of themselves).
  • MAKE an indecent image of someone under 18 (i.e. copy it or save it to another device).
  • SEND an indecent image of someone 18 to another person.
  • ASK someone under 18 to take an indecent image of themselves.
  • HAVE an indecent image of someone under 18.

As a parent a good thing to remember about the law is that it is there to protect young people from harm and from being exploited and it’s not designed to punish them for making genuine mistakes.

That said, every case is different and is always dealt with based on the circumstances and facts involved.

Talking with your child about sexting

Talking about sex isn’t always easy. Like lots of things though it’s better to talk about a subject beforeanything happens.

Many children and young people don’t fully understand the laws about sexting or some of the consequences.

One way to have the conversation at home is to watch and then talk about Exposed (short film) by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

More information about sexting

The Childline website has some great information for children and young people about sexting but it’s a good read for parents too.

There are a number of resources for children and parents on sexting and we would always recommend that people search online and speak with others to find good quality information themselves. We think that these resources are also really helpful:

 

Zipit!

Peer pressure can be powerful stuff so Childnet has also created the Zipit App to help children and young people keep flirty chat on the right track.

Online sexual chat

If someone is making your child feel uncomfortable about sex you can report them to CEOP. This might be someone:

  • chatting online with your child about sex
  • asking your child to do sexual things on a webcam
  • asking your child to send sexual images of themselves
  • trying to get your child to meet up with them offline

If this is happening make a report to CEOP. You can also contact Devon and Cornwall Police on telephone 101 (non emergency calls) or 999 (emergency calls only).

What is CEOP?

CEOP is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Team within the National Crime Agency. They exist to help children and young people who are being approached online about sex or being sexually abused.

Sexting Guidance for Schools

Click here for further information.

Social networks are ways of bringing people together using technology to informally (‘socially’) communicate (‘network’). There are loads of social networks out there and you should be a certain age to use some of them.

Lots of social networks have privacy settings which are tools that you can use to help control who sees the information that you share online. Most social networks also have ‘report abuse’ and ‘block’ tools to help you take control of how others behave towards you.

Any information you share online like photos, videos or comments can stay online for a very long time. When you share something online other people can copy it which means that they then have control of it. This means that even if you delete something you’ve shared, someone else might have it.

Reporting and blocking

If you’re using social networks find out how you can report and block people. If someone is doing or saying something that you don’t like or if they’re making you feel scared or uncomfortable, it’s up to you what you do depending on how you feel, but you can report them online, save the evidence, block them and tell an adult you trust.

Remember that you can choose your online and offline friends. If you don’t want to be friends with someone online anymore, remove them from your social networks.

Online friends

Offline the world is filled with a whole range of people some of them nice, some of them mean, some of them just plain dangerous. Online it’s just the same so it’s smart to be careful when choosing your online friends.

Keeping secrets can be fun but some secrets can be dangerous. If a stranger or a friend you have only met online asks you to keep a secret then you need to tell an adult you trust straight away because they might not be who they say they are. People who respect you will never ask you to keep secrets from other people who are close to you like your friends and family.

Sharing information

Technology means that the things we share online can be seen by lots of people. Information can also be shared really quickly. It’s always smart to think before you post. Ask yourself what could happen if other people like your family or your teachers saw what you were sharing online.

Staying safer in social networks

  • Use privacy settings – they’re there to protect you not restrict you. A guide to setting your privacy settings has been published by ParentInfo
  • Some websites ask you to use your real name but you may be able to choose a username too. Use a nickname if you can.
  • Avoid using a picture of yourself for your profile – use a picture of something you like instead.
  • Don’t include personal details in your profile, like your phone number, your email address or home address.
  • Read the small print. For lots of social networks you have to sign up certain things, and some of those things could include rights to share what you’re posting online. Know what you’re signing up for.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know offline. If you are going to accept them, be very careful about what information you share with them.
  • Find out how you can report people on the websites you’re using.
  • Block someone if they are being mean or sending you things you don’t like.
  • Only ever speak with someone on a webcam if you know and trust them offline.
  • Remember that what someone does on a webcam can be recorded.
  • Say no to things you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to go on a webcam you don’t have to. If someone is cool they’ll respect that.
  • Listen to yourself. If a person or situation online doesn’t feel right trust your instincts and speak to someone offline who you trust for advice and help.

To find out more about staying safe in social networks check out Think You Know and Childline.

Click on the following logos to access the safety/support areas for each social network.

Our children learn things from us so how we as adults behave online affects how our children behave.

In terms of your own online reputation, nearly all of the advice for children is relevant for adults.

  • Be careful what you share.
  • Know who you’re sharing information with.
  • Understand that whatever you share online you might lose control of.
  • Always report abuse.

General things to think about for you and your family

Use the tools available to keep your family and your devices safer

  • Set up parental controls. Some systems have them built in and are free, others you can pay for. You may want to look at several options and decide what’s best for your family.
  • Keep your technology (including phones) up to date with security software.
  • Use strong passwords that include letters, numbers and symbols and use different passwords for different accounts.
  • If you’re using social networks, check out the privacy settings and make sure they are activated.
  • Report online abuse.

Create a great online reputation

  • Search for yourself and members of your family online. This will help you manage what information is available about you in the public domain.
  • Treat others online as you would like to be treated.
  • Delete old accounts that you’re no longer using.

Be careful of what you share online

  • Read the terms and conditions for social networks. There might be a lot there to read but you could be agreeing to hand over control of your online content if you don’t.
  • Never share personal information like phone numbers or email addresses online.
  • Be cautious about the type of information you might be sharing with people you only know online.
  • Be careful about the types of images you post and share as once they are out there you’ve pretty much lost control of that content.
  • Use webcams carefully. If you’re talking with people you know and trust offline you may be confident, but remember that webcam ‘conversations’ can always be recorded.

Find the right balance

  • Be sensible about the amount of time your family is spending online. The internet isn’t going anywhere but that warm weather might!

General family online safety advice

For general online safety advice we recommend a trip to Get Safe Online.

Ask About Games Go to website [135]

Ask About Games answer questions parents and players have about video game age ratings, provide advice on how to play games safely and responsibly, and offer families helpful tips to ensure they get the most out of the games they enjoy together.

Childnet Go to website [135]

Advice for parents and carers to help support children and young people in their safe and responsible use of the internet.

Common Sense Media Go to website [135]

US based site Common Sense Media is a vast source of information about games and apps being used by young people, including what the product is about, age limits and what parents need to know.

Internet Matters Go to website [135]

Internet Matters are a not-for-profit organisation that has a simple purpose – to help keep children safe in the digital world. “We’re passionate about keeping children safe online and are here to help you make the right decisions for you and your family. Whether you’re looking for information for the first time, or an old hand, our website has everything you need to help make your children’s online life fulfilling, fun and above all safe”.

NSPCC Net Aware Go to website [135]

NSPCC Net Aware provides parents with an explanation of apps and games that their children may be using. It includes the views of children’s use of the app/game as well as information on signing up, reporting, privacy settings and how to get support.

Switched on Families Go to website [135]

Giving parents clear, honest and useful advice to make sure your gang gets the best from the web.

ThinkUKnow Go to website [135]

ThinkUKnow from CEOP provides important and useful information for parents upon how to keep their children safe online. The ‘children’s workforce’ section also provides a vast range of resources for use in education settings.

UK Safer Internet Centre Go to website [135]

The UK Safer Internet Centre has been co-funded by the European Commission to provide a Helpline for all professionals working with children and young people in the UK with any online safety issues they may face themselves, or with children in their care. We provide support with all aspects of digital and online issues. In addition, the Helpline aims to resolve issues professionals face about themselves, such as protecting professional identity and reputation.

RSS Digital

1. 143 – I love you 29. IKR– I know, right? 57. NTS – Note to self 85. TDTM– Talk dirty to me
2. 2DAY – Today 30. ILY / ILU– I love you 58. OIC – Oh I see 86. TIME – Tears in my eyes
3. 4EAE – For ever and ever 31. IM– Instant message 59. OMG – Oh my God 87. WYCM – Will you call me?
4. ADN – Any day now 32. IMHO – In my honest opinion / In my humble opinion 60. ORLY – Oh, really? 88. TMI– Too much information
5. AFAIK – As far as I know 33. IMO – In my opinion 61. OT– Off topic 89. TMRW – Tomorrow
6. AFK – Away from keyboard 34. IRL– In real life 62. OTP– On the phone 90. TTYL– Talk to you later
7. ASL – Age/sex/location 35. IWSN – I want sex now 63. P911– Parent alert 91. TY or TU– Thank you
8. ATM – At the moment 36. IU2U – It’s up to you 64. PAW – Parents are watching 92. VSF – Very sad face
9. BFN – Bye for now 37. IYKWIM – If you know what I mean 65. PCM– Please call me 93. WB – Welcome back
10. BOL – Be on later 38. J/K– Just kidding 66. PIR – Parent in room 94. WTH – What the heck?
11. BRB – Be right back 39. J4F – Just for fun 67. PLS or PLZ– Please 95. WTPA – Where the party at?
12. BTW – By the way 40. JIC– Just in case 68. PPL – People 96. WYCM – Will you call me?
13. CTN – Can’t talk now 41. JSYK – Just so you know 69. POS – Parents over shoulder 97. YGM – You’ve got mail
14. DWBH – Don’t worry, be happy 42. KFY – Kiss for you 70. PTB– Please text back 98. YOLO – You only live once
15. F2F or FTF – Face to face 43. KPC – Keeping parents clueless 71. QQ – Crying (produces an emoticon in text; often used sarcastically) 99. YW – You’re welcome
16. FWB – Friends with benefits 44. L8– Late 72. RAK – Random act of kindness 100. ZOMG – Oh my God (sarcastic)
17. FYEO – For your eyes only 45. LMBO – Laughing my butt off 73. RL – Real life 101. 182 – I hate you
18. GAL – Get a life 46. LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life 74. ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing 102. 420 – Marijuana
19. GB – Goodbye 47. LMK– Let me know 75. RT – Retweet 103. ADR – Address
20. GLHF – Good luck, have fun 48. LOL – Laugh out loud 76. RUOK – Are you okay? 104. CD9 – Code 9 (means parents are around)
21. GTG– Got to go 49. LSR – Loser 77. SMH – Shaking my head 105. ILU – I Love You
22. GYPO – Get your pants off 50. MIRL – Meet in real life 78. SOS – Someone over shoulder 106. KOTL – Kiss On The Lips
23. HAK – Hugs and kisses 51. MOS – Mom over shoulder 79. SRSLY – Seriously 107. LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
24. HAND – Have a nice day 52. NAGI– Not a good idea 80. SSDD – Same stuff, different day 108. NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The Computer
25. HTH – Hope this helps / Happy to help 53. NIFOC– Nude in front of computer 81. SWAK – Sealed with a kiss 109. P999 – Parent Alert
26. HW– Homework  54. NM – Never mind 82. SWYP – So, what’s your problem? 110. PAL – Parents Are Listening or Peace And Love
27. IDK – I don’t know  55. NMU – Not much, you?  83. SYS – See you soon  111. RU/18 – Are You Over 18?
28. IIRC – If I remember correctly  56. NP – No problem  84. TBC – To be continued  112. WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?