Keeping Children Safe when Learning Online
- Ensure your passwords are strong and secure for your router and any accounts that your children might be tempted to access.
- Make sure all your devices have the latest software updates
- Keep anti-virus software up to date and consider installing parental control software to protect children from stumbling across inappropriate content.
- Be aware of fake news and scams; these are already emerging.
- Ensure children are appropriately dressed, in a suitable space within your home and ready in good time for the start of any home learning lessons.
- Ensure that your child logs out after any virtual classroom.
- Check that there are no other windows open on the device your child uses during their learning time (e.g. online games)
- Agree some ground rules about screen time, breaks and exercise – it’s much easier to do this in advance than argue about it later. Keep an eye on their posture too.
- Use PEGI ratings and reviews to check the age suitability of any games they want to play.
- Remind children about the need to keep personal information private and not to be tempted to over share or click on links or free offers.
- Remind them only to communicate online with real life friends.
- For children using video chat, have a conversation about who they are chatting with and how they know them, to ensure their contacts are safe.
- Talk about good digital citizenship, about being kind and thoughtful in their online interactions and how thoughtless behaviour can both damage their reputation and hurt others.
- Reassure them that you are there to help if they have any worries about anything they come across online or about the current health crisis.
- When you access Gooseberry Parent, you will find lots more guidance about how you can help keep your children safe online.
- See this great article from the BBC on how families can cope with self-isolating together.
What do you know about your students’ screen time? Ofcom’s report on children’s media use published in 2019 suggests that 97% of 5-7 year olds spend 13 ¼ hours watching TV
each week, 63% play games for 7 ½ hours per week and 82% go online for around 9 ½ hours per week.
For 8-11 year olds, most spend 13 hours on TV, 10 hours gaming and 13 ½ hours on the internet. 35% of this age group have their own smartphone and 47% have their own tablet and many are allowed to take their devices to bed with them.
The time children spend online has almost doubled since 2009 whereas time spent watching TV has decreased. The use of mobile technology such as tablets, laptops and phones to watch programmes means that more children are watching alone. The availability of films, tv and videos on demand means that children are able to access the types of content they like (or sometimes unsuitable content) at any time, often unsupervised by adults.
What are the risks?
Excessive screen time means less time for physical exercise with consequent risks
of obesity, short sightedness, heart and mental health issues.
Taking phones to bed means children may be tempted to use them after bedtime or that they are disturbed by late night messaging, which can disrupt sleep, concentration, and affect their ability to learn.
Solitary viewing or using devices during meal times means children miss out on bonding with their families.
What does this mean?
NHS advice for sleep ranges from 11 hours for 5 year olds, 10 ¾ for 6 year olds, 10 ½ hours for 7-year olds to 9 ¼ hours for 12-13 year olds.
To stay healthy, it is also recommended to aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of
moderate intensity physical activity per day across the week.
Getting the right amount of sleep and exercise benefits our mental wellbeing. It can help us reduce stress and anxiety, help us concentrate and generally make us feel better and happier.