I feel compelled to highlight some concerns I have regarding E-Safety and children’s online activity outside school.
It transpires that some pupils are playing online games at home with their classmates. Of course this is fine, but we must be aware of the potential implications of these games.
Evidence shows that children are at most risk when they are playing games through the Xbox Live and Playstation Network platforms and they ‘befriend’ gamers who are essentially unknown to them. Many of these games allow online verbal communication through headsets. As the headsets are connected the supervising adults cannot hear the background ‘chatter’ and as a parent, having seen and heard this for myself, I know that sometimes this ‘chatter’ can be very inappropriate. In addition, we know from the children that they are not just chatting with classmates are often communicating regularly with strangers. It would seem that some of the games children are playing are not always officially age appropriate which can mean that the people they are ‘chatting’ with could be considerably older – although probably quite innocent this is a way in which children are often targeted for possible exploitation. This is something the children have been learning about in ‘e-safety’ lessons with Mr Handy, but we cannot monitor children’s online behaviour outside school.
I must point out from the outset that I would never tell you or your families what you should or should not do, but I have a duty to make you aware of potential risks when I see them.
I would really appreciate it if you could talk to your children about their behaviour online and, if necessary, monitor their interaction with others to ensure that they are not exposed to inappropriate language, topics and behaviour.
It is a great pity that such vigilance is necessary, but the online world is still in its infancy and we are all, to some extent, learning how to safely manage our online environment.
Mr Handy and Mrs Hood are both CEOP trained (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) so if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.