During the week of Safer Internet Day Students attended assemblies on online safety led by the Curriculum Lead for Computer Science Ms Sharpe.
Beginning with a TED talk video extract as the students came into the hall, Ms Sharpe was keen to suggest that although we have an annual Safer Internet Day, every day is internet safety day. She also said that although the internet has some dangers, it is a great place to be with many advantages to us as individuals and as a society. Ms Sharpe said: “Being on the internet is all about staying safe and having fun!”
Keeping to the theme of celebrating the internet and technology, Ms Sharpe proposed that we think more carefully about the value of our online life – evaluating the quality and not the quantity of friends and connections and how technology fits with our real life. “Although social media companies particularly are starting to make changes to improve our experience, we still have to take care and do some regular maintenance on our profiles and accounts,” Ms Sharpe suggested.
One suggestion is to keep checking privacy and password settings. “How long has it been since you’ve checked these?” Ms Sharpe asked. These sometimes change as apps are updated or re-designed, so it is essential to check settings regularly. Another important suggestion is to look at what cookies are doing and clear them all out occasionally. Cookies are useful bits of software that get stored on your device, but they can record what you are doing, sometimes giving things away such as your location.
Not communicated with someone for a long time or even forgotten who they are? Perhaps it may be time for a clear out of who your online friends and followers are. “Take care with links and companies you don’t know about as well. Sometimes they are not what they seem. Perhaps that offer is just too good to be true!” said Ms Sharpe. She went on to add that looking out for the padlock in the address bar can help provide some assurance but still be wary and check their authenticity.
Concluding the assembly, Ms Sharpe spoke about the importance of balancing your on-line life within the context of your whole life. “Sometimes, it’s good to take a break. Spend time in the company of friends, listen to some music or go for a walk or exercise.
“Let’s be safe and let’s celebrate how technology makes life better as one of all the many things we do in life.”
Where to Get Help
Any member of staff will help with online issues you may come across. Some staff have special responsibilities in keeping you safe. These include:
- Mr Hawkes
- Mrs Theay
- Mr Chauhan-Treadwell
- Your Pastoral Manager
- Your Tutor
Advice and Reporting
- UK Safer Internet Centre: org.uk
- Professionals Online Safety Helpline: org.uk/helpline
- Report Harmful Content: com
- Report child abuse images to IWF: org.uk