GSO Test

Guidance for parents

The Department of Education have released some information about spotting the signs to avoid children being at risk online. To read this document, click here

Technology is constantly changing and developing, and the equipment, apps and software that children are able to or want to access changes constantly.  On this page will put information about issues that we are aware could currently be an issue.

Snapchat Maps

With the new update, users will be able to see their friends and other users on a map view. The Snap Map shows a user’s avatar pinpointed on a world map. Users can then zoom into the map to see the exact location of other users at that moment.   Who you can see on the map and who can see you depends on your settings.  It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.

The first time you access ‘Snap Maps’, a tab will appear which gives you the option to choose who can see your location:
Ghost Mode means that you are the only person who can see your location on the map.
Within Ghost Mode you can still see the locations of your friends but they will be unable to see you. This setting will ensure that you have complete control over who knows your location.
My Friends means that all of your contacts on Snapchat can see your location. If turning on this setting then it would be important for users to review their Snapchat contacts and also make sure that they never add someone they don’t know in person onto Snapchat.

 Select Friends allows users to look through their friend list and then decide which of their friends they want to be able to view their location. This setting gives users the opportunity to control who can view their location.

 

Think carefully about what information you wish to share and who with then change your settings to that.
In the Snapchat screen click on the Settings icon> click on ‘see my location’ > Choose the setting which suits you

On the Snap Map click on the setting button in the top right of the map > choose the setting which suits you

Sharing location can be a risky thing to do. Only share your location with people you know in person. Never share your location with strangers.  Don’t add contacts to Snapchat if you don’t know them in person.

If you have any concerns about this app, or any other online safety issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

musical.ly

It has come to our attention that some of our pupils are using an app called “musical.ly”.  This app allows people to play music from inside the app itself or from their own music collection and lip-sync along with it, using the camera on the phone/tablet to record their own version of a pop video.  Whilst there is nothing particularly bad about this, it does raise a few online safety issues.

Firstly, the music selection is not always the edited radio versions you would expect so the children could hear explicit lyrics or subject matter in songs that you are not happy with.  Secondly, all the videos are by default uploaded straight to the internet for anyone in the world to watch.  Also the videos you upload have a comments section for people who watch them to write in.  This could be about what the watcher thinks of you, or your video or other suggestions and can come from anyone, anywhere.  The comments section also lets you link to other videos that people suggest and can take you out of the app and onto other websites very easily.

We would recommend to all parents that they are aware of the apps their children are using and what they are for.

This app does have privacy settings that allow the user to only have their videos visible to friends, but of course even with that setting when anything is uploaded to the internet, you lose control of it and it is there forever.  We strongly recommend that you do not allow your child to use this app as the potential dangers are quite significant.

If you have any concerns about this app, or any other online safety issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 Pokemon Go

This hugely popular app is the craze of the summer.  Catching, developing and battling pokemon (pocket monsters) using "augmented reality" (putting the game onto the camera display) have got many children out on the streets looking for pokemon, gyms and pokestops.  There are many good things about this app and in itself it poses no more or less safety issues than other games.

Bear in mind:

  • Meeting people they don't know face-to-face 
    The game is designed to bring people together. Usually strangers. So you never know who they might meet.
  • There's a physical risk 
    It's easy to forget to look where you're going with this game, but they need to be careful of where they end up. There are already stories of people being lured to places that aren't safe for children.
  • It can cost a lot of money 
    There are in-app purchases and other incentives which can cost up to £79.99 (14,500 Pokécoins). Make sure the app's set up without payment options.
  • Access to personal data 
    Pokémon Go asks for personal information like your child's birth date and email address, which they're asked to enter or receive through social media accounts. Parents have the right to contact the creators to stop them from using their personal information.

 

Facebook

Facebook offers an effective way for communication and social connections, however it is created with a target audience in mind. This is specifically 13 years old and over and meets with the requirements defined by American law.

There are special safeguards in place for those users who register as under-18s. However if a child registers on Facebook implying they are 18 or over, there are no automatic safeguards applied to their profile.

Other possible risks for children under 13 using the site may include:

  • Facebook use “age targeted” advertising and therefore your child could be exposed to adverts of an inappropriate nature, depending on the age they stated they were when they registered
  • Children can accept friend requests from people they don’t know well which could increase the risk of inappropriate contact or behaviour
  • Language, games, groups and content shared on Facebook is not moderated, and can therefore appear to be offensive, illegal or unsuitable
  • Photographs shared by users are often neither moderated nor restricted and therefore children could see inappropriate images. They can even post their own.
  • Underage users are less likely to manage their online privacy well.
  • Facebook could be exploited by bullies and for other inappropriate contact
  • It is important to remember that if a child can lie about who they are online, so can anyone else.

Should you choose to allow your child to have a Facebook profile, we strongly advise you:

  • Help your child to make their profile safer by having appropriate privacy settings in place.
  • Talk to your child about safe and appropriate online behaviour such as sharing personal information or posting offensive messages or photos
  • Think about installing the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) application from www.facebook.com/clickceop on their profile. This places a CEOP “Report Abuse” button on their Facebook page and has been known to deter potential offenders .
  • If you want to play a more active role in your child’s online life, you may want to agree with your child to be “friends” on Facebook.

Make sure your child understands the following guidance:

  • Keep your personal information under control; think, “Would I tell this to a stranger?”
  • Be careful what you share with online “friends” as you may not know all of them well
  • Use “friends lists” to help manage what information you share with whom
  • Be careful what you post; it says a lot about you.
  • Never agree to meet somebody you only know online without telling a trusted adult
  • Always tell someone if you feel threatened or someone upsets you

We feel it is important to point out to parents the risks of underage use of such sites. Parents should make an informed decision as to whether to allow their child to have a profile or not.

We will take appropriate action if a problem comes to our attention that involves the safety or well being of any of our pupils.