“OK Off Tell” is a rule that is displayed around the school. Although we have strict filtering in school no system is 100% effective and there will very occasionally images or text that will slip through. Out of school on PCs, tablets and smart phones there is very rarely any kind of filtering. We must make sure children know what to do if confronted with material that makes them feel unhappy.
1. Only visit websites an adult has told you are OK to use.
Just as we wouldn’t stand at the door of the British Museum and tell a child to ‘Go and find out something about the Egyptians!” we wouldn’t expect the children to scour the entire internet for information. We find websites in advance and give children clear guidance as to which sites are OK to use. The children are expected to keep to those sites and are shown how to know whereabouts on the internet hyperlinks will take them. Occasionally search engines are needed and in school we use Paws Explore via www.tabecat.com. This has additional safety settings enabled but it is important that children know what to do if they see something they don’t like.
2. Switch off the display if you see something on screen that you don’t like, or you think is inappropriate.
Should something get through the filtering systems we tell the children to switch off the display (by putting the lid down on their laptops for example) so the content is no longer visible. We do not ask them to turn the device off however as we want to see the content to decide whether it is indeed inappropriate – this is sometimes quite subjective! If it is we can inform the filtering service and make sure that the content is blocked in the future. If the content that is upsetting is of a personal nature (in an e-mail for example) having it in front of us is useful to track down and deal with the sender. If devices are switched off it is more difficult to deal with the situation as evidence is lost.
3. Tell an adult straight away.
All the children are taught that they should immediately tell a trusted adult about anything on any device that makes them feel uncomfortable. A trusted adult could be a parents or relative, or of course a member of staff at school. Telling an adult straight away allows the situation to be dealt with and quickly and reduces the any possible anxiety for the child.
The children are reminded of these rules every time the internet is used at school, but we all know that sometimes rules can be forgotten. Parents can help out of school by reinforcing this simple message, and by talking to their children about safe internet usage.