Why do we need eSafety?

Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.

As we would protect children in the real world, we want to make sure that they are safe whatever they are doing.  Like learning to cross the road, online safety skills are skills for life.  If children understand the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from online technology and stay safe whilst doing so – particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
Although chatting online can be great fun, young people can sometimes find themselves in situations where they can feel out of their depth.  Risks can arise when young people give out their personal details to strangers.  The online world can often seem very different to the real world for young people, and they can be tempted to say and do things that they wouldn't dream of if they met someone face-to-face.  This can include giving out personal information such as their full name, address, school, mobile numbers and pictures of themselves etc.  Paedophiles are very clever at piecing together small bits of information to track children down in the real world.

There is also an increasing risk of young people being ‘bullied’ or ‘bullying’ using online technologies and mobiles.  This is known as ‘cyberbullying’.  Bullies often behave more aggressively than they might face-to-face because they can hide behind an electronic veil to disguise their true identity.

Even at this age, pupils will have been exposed to very differing experiences of internet use.  However, a survey by Ofcom1 tracking digital usage has shown that 66% of 5-7 year olds use the internet at home – with at least 30% using it for games, schoolwork (26%) and information (15%).
Additionally, over 85% have access to games consoles which may have an online ‘gaming’ or ‘chat’ facility when linked to the internet. Many will have observed older siblings using social networking sites, instant messaging and chat rooms.  It is our belief that early awareness of the dangers will prepare young children for ‘safe’ enjoyment of the internet as they get older.

Even if some pupils are not using the internet, this resource also reinforces awareness of ‘stranger danger’ in the real or offline world as well as the online world.