Online Safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Phoenix Community Primary School. Online Safety is taught to all pupils explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online.
For many children and adults, gaming can be a healthy and enjoyable activity, however it is essential that parents ensure that their children play age appropriate video games and discuss safe behaviour.
Whilst we can speak to children in school about safe and appropriate behaviour online, we can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work together with parents and carers to ensure that online safety messages are consistent. Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep safe and behave appropriately online whilst playing games.
Key Advice for Parents
- It may seem daunting, but one of the best things to do is to engage with your child’s gaming environment and begin to understand what makes it is so attractive to them as well as the types of activities that they enjoy!
- Talk with your child about the types of games that they are playing. Are they role-playing games, sports games, strategy games or first person shooters? What language and content is included? If you’re not sure what they are or what is involved then ask them to show you how they play and why not a go have at them yourself!
- Be aware that children play games on a variety of different types of technology such as laptops, games consoles, mobile phones, music players and tablets. Parental control tools should be available so make sure they are in place and use them to help protect your child.
- Encourage your child to only access games that are appropriate for their age and always check the age rating on any game before buying it for your child, as well as considering whether it has an online component.
- Be aware that video games are rated as 15+ or 18+ for content such as violence, sexual content and unsuitable themes and it is important that parents make informed choices before allowing children to play games.
- For more information on age ratings visit: www.pegi.info or www.net-aware.org.uk
- Remember that the same safety rules for surfing the internet should apply to playing games online so make sure you establish ground rules for safe behaviour.
- Agree together rules of playing games and discuss safety considerations including supervision and play time limits.
- Encourage your child to use an appropriate screen/character name (also called gamertags) that follows the rules of the game/site. These names should not reveal any personal information about themselves or others or potentially invite harassment.
- Some games offer children the chance to chat with other players online by video, voice and text. Ask your child who they are playing with and find out if they are talking to other players – be aware this may include strangers as well as friends and family members. If online chat is available, then consider the type of language that is used by other players and how you may need to manage possible risks relating to concerns such as bullying and contact by strangers.
- Make sure you and your child knows how to make the most of privacy features built into online gaming, internet and mobile services such as how to block and report other players and use the mute function which can disable chat in many games.
- Always visit and read the guidance for parents/carers on any devices (such as tablets) and games consoles your child accesses: www.internetmatters.org and www.saferinternet.org.uk have useful guidance about parental controls.
- Gaming can be a wonderful, fun and exciting experience for children and adults; however games should be played in moderation and on appropriate platforms which contain suitable content and protection for children.
Adapted from: www.saferinternet.org.uk/downloads/resources/publications/Online-gaming.pdf
If you have any concerns of queries regarding online safety then please contact Mr Tibbles, the school Designated Safeguarding Lead, or speak to any member of our Safeguarding and Welfare Team. You can also read our Online Safety, Child Protection and Behaviour policies which outlines any actions the school will take regarding inappropriate behaviour.