Online Safety

If you have any questions or worries about a the safety of a child, please come in and speak to a member of staff. If you are worried that a child is in immediate danger, phone 999.


Top five e-safety tips for using the internet at home

  • Have family rules about how the internet will be used at home and be clear about what information is safe to share online.
  • Discuss rules about making and meeting online friends.
  • Make sure you know what your children are doing online much like you would in “real” life and use parental controls (on computers, mobile phones and games consoles) to help you. Remember that these cannot always be 100% effective.
  • Make sure that your children are aware that people or websites can lie online.
  • Make sure your child understands that online actions can have offline consequences.

Who are Internet Matters?
Internet Matters is a not-for-profit organisation working with online safety experts to bring you all the information you need to keep your children safe online.

We aim to bring you:

  • Advice on important e-safety issues
  • News and advice from industry experts
  • Guidance on setting parental controls and filters
  • Reviews on the latest technology and apps

This is a really useful site to help you protect your children on the internet.

Click on the below link to visit their website.

Internet Matters

Here is a handy resource you may find useful. It has links to appropriate websites to report concerns you may have over online safety and security.

There are also some useful tips and hints about how to keep yourself and your children safe online:

http://educateagainsthate.com/resources/

To keep you up to speed on the things you should be keeping an eye out for when your child has access to the internet, you can try the Virgin Media O2 children’s online safety test by clicking the link below:

https://www.virginmedia.com/blog/online-safety/childrens-internet-safety-test

A Useful List of Apps that the children use

The following website is recommended by the Police who advise that if you or your child has any concerns about the use of any apps or websites, that they can be logged via CEOP. There is also a list of apps that the police are aware of that children use; you can download and read the list by clicking the image below.

Click on the image to download the list of apps that the Internet Safety Partnership are aware of – Updated February 2019

Internet Safety Guides

In order to stay safe online, have a look at some of this safety guides to popular web services:

General Web Useage

Twitter

Snapchat

Instagram

Stay Safe’s Guide to Internet Safety


E-Safety Updates

7th February 2023

Safer Internet Day 2023

Safer Internet Day 2023 will take place on the 7th of February 2023, with celebrations and learning based around the theme ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees thousands of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

In the UK, we are celebrating by putting children and young people’s voices at the heart of the day and encouraging them to shape the online safety support that they receive.

That is why we are asking parents, carers, teachers, government, policymakers, and the wider online safety industry to take time to listen to children and young people and make positive change together.

This year we are hoping to answer the following questions:

  • What issues really matter to children and young people?
  • What changes do they want to see?
  • How can we all work together to advocate for them moving forward?

With your help, Safer Internet Day 2023 can be a springboard for conversations that shape how we talk about and respond to online issues, not just for one day, but throughout the whole year.

Safer Internet Day 2023 was made possible thanks to kind support from:

About Safer Internet Day

Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 170 countries worldwide.

From cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns.

4th October 2022

Many of the older children play games (such as Fortnite and Minecraft) and chat online with their friends at home. Usually this is all fun and enjoyable, however there are times when it can cause issues. This can include the group falling out online and then this carrying on when they come into school. And unfortunately sometimes things are said online that wouldn’t be said in person and can cause hurt, worry and distress. The following link has a wealth of advice for parents and carers to help you manage your child’s online activity.

https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/in-game-chat/


29th September 2022

We have been made aware that some children in local schools are referring to a game called ‘Poppy Playtime’ and a character called ‘Huggy Wuggy’.

Poppy Playtime is a horror game in which the player roams around an abandoned toy factory. A giant, horrifying blue creature with bulging eyes, wide red lips, and long limbs called ‘Huggy Wuggy’ follows the player around and appears in the dark unexpectedly and if he catches the player he bears his wide and sinister grin and eats you.

When things like these begin trending online, it can be difficult to prevent children accidently stumbling across them – especially if they use a range of platforms, like online games, social media, streaming sites or messaging apps. A trend can originate in one online space and rapidly spread to other platforms or via chat apps.

Due to the name of the character, these videos are often ‘slipping through the net’ of platforms’ safeguarding measures like content filtering and age-restrictions. These child friendly terms hide the frightening images and disturbing content. THEY ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

Content like this can scare children and affect their behaviour, especially if they’re younger or have never been introduced to horror before. Being introduced to content with gory or scary themes before they have built resilience can result in a negative reaction.

Momo Update

6 April 2022

MOMO Game Update from Darlington Safer Internet Partnership Just a quick update on this game, please share the information on your webpages etc. to support parents and carers helping their children stay safe online, we know from our most recent healthy Lifestyle Survey data that the use of the internet and online gaming has grown again for primary aged children and continues to develop and change rapidly.

Some of you may of heard about the MoMo Game as it has featured in a number of newspapers in recent weeks and we have had reports about parents having issues with primary age children getting very upset after coming into contact with MoMo images online.

What is it?

MoMo Game apparently began on Facebook and has now spread to YouTube and WhatsApp. It involves users receiving a message from an unknown source who challenges the recipient to complete various dares and orders which are gruesome, cruel and violent in nature. The final challenge apparently demands the user to commit suicide and the MoMo Game is currently being linked to the suicide of a 12 year old girl in Argentina.

The controller of the game uses the attached image of a women who is half bird an half human as there avatar. It’s this image which that we’ve been told has led to primary aged children becoming scared and upset. The image is taken from a sculpture that was designed for a Japanese Horror Art exhibition.

The trouble with the MoMo game is like Slenderman, killer clowns and the Blue Whale game it looks like it’s becoming a modern day urban tale/myth. There is very little evidence that people are playing it as it’s being reported in the press. What appears to be happening though is children and young people are sharing images about it and stories that they think are real and it’s having a negative impact upon some of them. YouTube now has a number of MoMo themed games/videos as well that involve jump scares and disturbing images that I imagine will spread it further and lead to sleepless nights for those scared by it.

What can we do about it?

Awareness is key so we can support children and young people who come across it and are upset or disturbed by it. Pointing out it’s not real and encouraging parents and carers especially those of primary aged children to have appropriate controls and checks in place to prevent access to such material.

Advice from Yahoo Lifestyle

Advice from Huffington Post

Information about TikTok – from Parents Zone

You may have heard of Musical.ly (think of it as a kind of karaoke platform). TikTok is the new name for the expanded version of the app, which enables users to upload, watch and create short videos of between three and 60 seconds. Here’s what you need to know:

From musical.ly to TikTok:

  • Until recently, Musical.ly was used by millions of people to express themselves through singing, dancing and comedy.
  • On 2 August 2018, Musical.ly merged with TikTok to create a ‘bigger and better short-video community’.
  • Musical.ly users moved automatically to TikTok.
  • TikTok was the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2018, with a million downloads. It has more than 500 million users globally.

What exactly is TikTok?

  • TikTok users can make their own short videos on the mobile app, and often like to have music accompany their videos. The users have creative control over the videos.
  • Other TikTok users can ‘react’ to videos they see by filming their responses alongside the original video; or ‘duet’ by making a video alongside another video.

Here’s one example of how special effects are used, in the Rain Control Challenge.

How TikTok works:

  • People aged 13 and over can download the app which has a 12+ rating in app stores – though, as, with other age-restricted platforms, parents need to ensure their children are the appropriate age to use TikTok.
  • After downloading the TikTok app, users can start creating their own videos or watch content created by other users.
  • The content runs across all kinds of subject matter – pets, arts, comedy, sports, food, travel, music, and games. Users can ♡ the content they enjoy to see similar videos.
  • Users can also participate in hashtag challenges by clicking the ‘Discover’ button, with new challenges added every week. Creating and editing videos is simple, with different effects, filters and stickers to choose from.
  • Users can easily share videos on other social media platforms, such as Instagram or Facebook, and users can build up followings and reputations – see, for example, street magician Magic Singh.

Click here to read the full article

Information about tiktok – from DISP

Hi All,

As part of Darlington Internet Safety Partnerships (DISP) parental control Christmas campaign here is some information on the video games expected to be the best selling this Christmas. All of the games in this list are also games found in the most popular bundles when you buy a console as well and some of them are really not suitable for children especially primary aged children.

Yet we’ve heard many, telling us that their getting these games for Christmas. While ultimately it us up to parents/ carers if they think a game is suitable for their children or not, care does need to be taken. Age ratings are on the box for a reason and a little research is recommended.

This information is now also on the DISP Website www.darlington.gov.uk/DISP

Call of Duty, Modern Warfare. Pegi rating 18. The brand new Call of Duty game from the popular series that’s often referred to as COD. Features a graphically impressive campaign that’s not for the fainthearted. This first- person shooter see’s you fighting terrorists on the streets of London and fighting alongside a local militia in a fictional middle eastern country. The game also has a ton of online multi-player options. I’ve played the game and while I can recommend this to fans of the series I would strongly recommend that no one buys this for their children. This is an 18 years rated game and the campaign is brutal depicting many horrors of modern conflict and terror such as gas attacks and civilian causalities (including women and children). It’s 18 for a reason and a very realistic looking game.

FIFA 20, Pegi rating 3 – The popular football series returns for another year and not much to say really it’s football and if you like football then you will probably love it. The game features a host of features and game modes including online play. The game is rated for ages 3 and up and while the content in general is suitable for all ages care needs to be taken especially if playing online. The average age of an online gamer is around 36 years of age so don’t always expect your child to be playing with children their own age. Another thing to watch out for is in game purchases as it is possible to spend real money on building that dream team you’ve always wanted. Make sure your consoles are set up with parental controls to prevent unwanted purchases being made.

Star Wars, Jedi Fallen Order, Pegi rating 16. Hey it’s Star Wars and kids of all ages love Star Wars . This game is going to sell loads this Christmas especially as there is a new movie coming out as well. This game is also packaged with a lot of console bundles this Christmas. While Star Wars has always been popular with children for the past 4 decades please note the age rating of 16 years and up. The game is a single player game and while it lacks the blood and gore of many games it’s still features a lot of violent content. The game is also pretty difficult to play so if you buy this for a young child expect them to become frustrated and lose interest as it features very challenging combat and game physics.

Red Dead Redemption 2, Pegi rating 18. While not a new game (it was released in 2018) this will still sell loads this Christmas and it’s another game that is often included in bundles when you buy a console. Red Dead is from the same team Rockstar Games who also make the popular but not suitable for children Grand Theft Auto series. Set in Americas wild west in 1899 you play as outlaw Arthur Morgan a member of a notorious gang of killers and thieves. While not as controversial as the GTA series this game still features a great deal of violence, bad language and adult themes throughout. Again definitely not suitable at all for primary aged children.

Fortnite, Pegi rating 12. If you have not heard of Fortnite yet then where have you been hiding? Fortnite has been a huge success and its popularity with primary aged children doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. One of the reasons it’s become so popular is because the Battle Royal game is free to download and play. This may sound like a parents/carers dream a free game but be warned as the game contains a large number of in game purchases. Using the in game currency called VBucks which you use real money to purchase you can buy countless cosmetic items called skins and celebration animations and dances. We have known children run up bills of hundreds of pounds without permission. Again parental controls are a must and can easily prevent unwanted spending.

As for the gameplay the idea is to be the last man standing and eliminate 99 other players. While the idea is to kill your opponents the game is very cartoon like to look at and doesn’t feature any blood or gore. The game doesn’t have bad language in it but you can expect other players to use it during in game chat. This can be heard when using a headset or through the TV. In game chat can be disabled and caution must also be used as not everyone your child will be playing with will be around their own age.

We have experienced children as young as 7 years of age playing with strangers much older than them who have gone on to ask the child for personal details such as address in return for the promise of free VBucks. Fortnite is another popular game bundle with consoles and its popular as it often comes with bundled VBucks.

Another popular game bundle this year is the Xbox 0ne Gears 5 and Rage 2 bundle. The bundle offers great value for money and can also be purchased with headset as well. While it’s tempting to go for a great deal caution must be used as both games are rated 18 and feature violent game play with blood and gore and adult themes throughout.

Nintendo Switch Console bundles – Purchasing Switch bundles is a little bit easier as Nintendo is famous for its family suitable games some of which are fantastic, imaginative and fun to play. Again we recommend you research the games on offer as you can still play 16 and 18 rated games on the Switch but the most common bundles offer great suitable games for all ages. Popular bundles this year include Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokémon Sword and Shield. Fortnite bundles can also be purchased but in game chat on the Switch is not as easily done as it is with the Xbox and PS4.

Whatever bundles or games you decide on this Christmas remember to set up parental controls and research any purchases you plan to make.

Curriculum

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‘Ours are the eyes through which His compassion looks out on the world. Ours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Ours are the hands with which he blesses the world.’

— St Teresa of Avila