When adults in their 40s were at primary school, online safety didn’t exist, but road safety did. Children in the 70s and 80s were taught road safety at school but it was the responsibility of parents to make sure their children were safe. The same applies to online safety: our staff teach online safety extensively at school to help our children explore within safe boundaries, communicate well and leave a positive footprint in the virtual world, however the vast majority of children’s digital footprint will take place out of school due to the firewalls and restrictions school has in place so it is the responsibility of parents to keep children safe online.
In an ever growing digital world, children can spend a long time online these days. Right from a very early age they may have access to their parents’ smart phones and tablets, and quickly learn how to navigate things. So many difficulties our children face in staying safe in an ever-changing digital age is that within a few clicks it is possible for them to go anywhere, share anything and meet anyone. Children are reminded regularly in school that they are too young for social media accounts such as Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube (13 minimum age) and the minimum age for WhatsApp is 16. However, if parents allow their children to use these social networks out of school then it is their responsibility to be actively involved and check chats and feeds regularly, as well as keeping up to date with new apps and sites. This is where the road safety and online safety analogy is different.