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Joseph Leckie Academy

  • Leadership, Empathy, Community, Kindness, Integrity & Environment

e-Safety News & Information

Safeguarding at The Academy

Everyone working at the Academy shares a common objective to keep children and young people safe by active contribution to, and participation in - 

  • Providing a safe environment for children and young people to learn, develop and feel safe. 
  • Identifying children and young people who may be at risk of harm. 
  • Working to support those children and young people identified as being in need or at risk of harm by collaboration with the safeguarding professionals
  • Commitment to active participation in all mandatory safeguarding training events as well as regular updates and briefings. 

What are we doing at the Academy? 

All Internet access at The Academy is filtered, although we can never guarantee that 100% of all offensive content will be blocked. We also monitor all Internet and network use, and any offending images/text or illegal sites will be flagged up and automatically screen-captured, highlighting the user. 

Increasingly, we think that it is also important for students to understand the issues involved in online safety, so we are always looking to develop ways to ensure children are safe. 

Top 10 Tips for Online Safety 

  • Never give out personal details online (address, phone number, full name) 
  • Turn off location settings on cameras or photographs you post online may reveal exactly where you took them (eg, on Google maps) 
  • Think before you post! Would you say it in real life to someone’s face? 
  • Remember that nothing can ever be permanently deleted - you leave a digital footprint! Many employers look at applicants online presence.
  • Don’t download unknown files or click on suspect web links – they may contain viruses 
  • Report any concerns or inappropriate content to CEOP using the ‘Report Abuse’ button, including any worrying followers/message senders on social networking sites. 
  • Watch your language & think about your username 
  • Think about any photographs you post – avoid adding names and don’t post pictures in your school uniform 
  • Turn on privacy settings so only trusted friends can see your posts 
  • Never meet anyone you only know online in real-life – they often aren’t what they say/appear.

Advice to Parents & Carers :

Capture Video - Financial Times

A recently published video by financial times films gives an important insight into the impact of social media on our children and our family life.

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An FT drama starring Jodie Whittaker (Dr Who), Paul Ready (Motherland), Shaniqua Okwok (It's a Sin), looks at online harm, regulation and responsibility. The search for their missing son leads a mother and father to a tech company, and a digital gatekeeper who seems to have all the answers.

Spotting Ads on Social Media 

Social media has not only redrawn the landscape in terms of advertising exposure: it’s ripped up the rulebook on buyer behaviour. Potential customers are now shown adverts based on their interests. Digital devices let us instantly convert that impulse to buy into actual purchases. We can be persuaded that we want a product without even realising we’ve been advertised to.

This can be especially harmful to younger people. A recent survey, for example, found that 86% of teens regularly see adverts for junk food on social media; 62% reported seeing gambling ads (although rules on promoting this around under-18s have since been tightened). 

Can young people always recognise when what they’re seeing on their social media feed is an advert? The evidence suggests there’s a good chance they might not. What often complicates matters is that many ads are virtually indistinguishable from a regular social media post. They’re frequently designed to be funny, exciting or cool, which distracts younger users away from the reality that they’re being sold something. Our #WakeUpWednesday guides has some top ideas for helping youngsters to spot ads like a pro! 

In the guide, you'll find tips such as paying attention to the account name, studying the hashtags for clues and being savvy with high numbers of likes and shares. 

What Parents Need to Know about the Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2022. A free online safety guide on the Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2022. 

Most people probably won’t be greatly surprised to note that cyber-bullying, screen time and age-inappropriate content remain among the chief concerns about children’s wellbeing online. You might not have realised, however, how great the disparity is between how well teens think they can spot fake news and how effective they actually are at recognising it. 

Ofcom’s annual ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes’ report offers a detailed rundown of how young people used and experienced the internet during the previous year. Like its immediate predecessor, the 2022 edition will be particularly revealing because its findings again reflect the continuing impact of the pandemic on young people’s online activities. This special #WakeUpWednesday guide presents some of the report’s most relevant points in an accessible infographic format. 

In the guide, you'll find stats including the percentage of young people who own a mobile phone (and at which ages), the most-used platforms by children in 2021, and the main online safety concerns of parents and carers. 

What Parents Need to Know about Phone Scams 

In a three-month period during 2021, no fewer than 45 million people in the UK experienced a suspicious attempt at being contacted via their mobile. Phone scams are a common form of cyber-attack where fraudsters engage directly with their intended victim through their smartphone. As our phones carry so many sensitive (and therefore potentially valuable) details about us, it’s vital that trusted adults are alert to the tactics that scammers use to get access to user accounts, personal data and private information for financial gain. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as sim hacking, smishing and impersonation. 

What Parents & Carers need to know about Facebook Messenger

Millennials are Messenger’s largest audience group, with the 25–34 age bracket comprising around a third (32%) of the app’s user-base. That’s not to say it’s unpopular with youngsters, however. Back in 2017, Facebook tried to launch a version for under-12s – Messenger Kids – but it was met with negative feedback: particularly in the UK, where it remains unavailable. 

Users as young as 13 (and in all probability, many who are even younger) having access to an app which lets them chat privately with each other, exchange photos and potentially be contacted by older people who they don’t know brings its own obvious issues. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide this week highlights the aspects of Messenger that trusted adults need to be aware of.  

Facebook Messenger is a communication app through which users can exchange messages and send photos, stickers, and video and audio files. Messenger allows both one-to-one and group chats, has a ‘stories’ feature and – via its latest addition, Rooms – can host a video call with up to 50 people. As of 2021, the app had 35 million users in the UK alone (more than half the population!) among its 1.3 billion users worldwide. Whereas Messenger is integrated into Facebook on desktops and laptops, it has existed as a standalone app for mobile devices since 2011. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, strangers and secret conversations. 

Brighten Someone's Day Online 

Living a good digital life doesn’t only mean avoiding the bad stuff like online trolls, scam adverts or gory video games. Sometimes it’s about celebrating the good things: how the internet has the power, for example, to help people improve each other’s day with a kind word, a supportive comment or a well-timed meme. Comic Relief 2022 has the theme of ‘You’ – proposing that these small acts of kindness if performed by enough people, can make a massive difference. 

In support of this year’s Red Nose Day, we’ve produced a special #WakeUpWednesday guide with some suggestions on how we can all bring a smile to someone’s face by being more positive online - including video calling, posting a kind comment and sharing a feelgood playlist. 

This is part of our Online Relationships and Mental Health categories. 

Supporting Children to Deal with Upsetting Content 

Raising children in the digital age seems to be getting tougher, with the world currently experiencing so many uncertainties. From the continuing impact of COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine, right now children across the globe can scarcely go online without being exposed to unsettling stories, images and ideas. Reassuring a concerned child can be difficult, especially when bad news feels omnipresent. We’ve put together some advice to help you in discussing upsetting events with young ones. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of tips such as encouraging your child to ask questions, setting limits to emphasise hope. 

This is part of our Mental Health and Online Information categories. 

What Parents & Carers Need to Know About Yubo

Yubo is a social networking platform where users can chat and livestream with up to 10 friends at once. People can connect with others based on location, with a Tinder-style ‘swiping’ mechanism to accept or reject someone based on their profile pictures. The app has approximately 50 million users worldwide – but despite its popularity, Yubo has not been free from controversy. 

While the app claims to monitor inappropriate content, a newspaper investigation in early 2022 found young users being exposed to sexual harassment, racism, bullying and conversations with adult themes. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content and flimsy age gates. 

This is part of our Social Media, Online Bullying and Online Relationships categories. 

What Parents & Carers Need to Know About Whatsapp

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging service, with around two billion users exchanging texts, photos, videos and documents, as well as making voice and video calls. Its end-to-end encryption means messages can only be viewed by the sender and any recipients: not even WhatsApp can read them. Updates to its privacy policy in 2021 (involving sharing data with parent company Facebook) caused millions to leave the app, but the new policy was widely misinterpreted – it only related to WhatsApp’s business features, not to personal messages.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, strangers and location sharing. 

This is part of our Online Information category. 

Safer Internet Day 2022

Safer Internet Day 2022, explores this theme of respect and relationships in the digital world – and we’re supporting the event by releasing two #WakeUpWednesday guides on the subject. One guide is designed to help children maintain positive communication online, while the other highlights ways that parents and carers can support young people in being good digital citizens.

Between chatting and gaming online, scrolling through social media, and streaming music and video, young people are almost constantly connected to the digital world in their free time. Now more so than ever: recent research identified that 77% of youngsters were spending more time online on games and apps than they did before the pandemic. 

One immediately obvious issue with that is – as outlined in Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2021 – almost half (45%) of parents have concerns about their child being bullied on the internet. In support of next week’s Safer Internet Day, our two #WakeUpWednesday guides suggest ways that we can all contribute to more respectful, positive relationships with each other online. 

10 Top Tips for Respect Online: A Digital World for Everyone 

A free online safety guide on 10 top tips for respect online: a digital world for everyone. 

Our ability to communicate with anyone in the world, at any time, via the Internet has grown at breakneck speed. For teachers and parents, it can feel impossible to keep up. Worrying about our young people is understandable, and not unjustified: in 2020, for example, one in five 10- to 15-year-olds experienced bullying online. Our tips highlight ways that adults can support young people’s positive online behaviours: by adopting and following ‘netiquette’, we can show them how to avoid getting into difficulty as they learn to negotiate the continually evolving digital landscape. 

In the guide, you'll find a number of tips such as protecting yourself, replying wisely and being forgiving. 

This is part of our Online Bullying and Online Relationships ​Categories

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Horror YouTube

YouTube is a video-sharing social media platform that allows billions of people around the world to watch, share and upload their own videos with a vast range of content – including sport, entertainment, education and lots more. It’s a superb space for people to consume content that they’re interested in. As a result, this astronomically popular platform has had a huge social impact: influencing online culture on a global scale and creating new celebrities. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as connecting with strangers, inappropriate content and high visibility. 

This is part of our Streaming, Social Media and Online Platforms categories. 

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Horror Games

Horror video games come in such a variety that the genre can be hard to define. The overlapping element is that these games are designed to scare or unsettle the player through gameplay, atmosphere, story, music, setting and 'jump scares'. The most common sub-genres are survival horror, action horror, psychological horror, jump-scare horror and reverse horror. These games originate from a range of developers, including smaller indie studios which release download-only titles (that is, they aren’t physically sold in shops) and therefore aren’t subject to age ratings. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult themes, psychological horror and violent content. 

This is part of our gaming category. 

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Fortnite Chapter 3

First released in 2017, Fortnite has become one of the most popular games in the world. It currently has around 350 million registered players. Developed by Epic Games, it began life exclusively as a ‘battle royale’ contest, where up to 100 online player characters would fight – with weaponry including rifles, handguns and rocket launchers – to be the last one standing. Today, it features multiple modes which each offer something different (although some modes, such as ‘Save the World’, are only available on certain platforms).

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, in-app purchases and user-controlled content.

This is part of our Gaming category.

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Replika

Replika is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot companion that its developers claim users can form an actual emotional connection with. Once users have created an account and chosen a 3D avatar, they select the type of relationship they want with the chatbot: friend, mentor or romantic partner. Using a neural network to hold an ongoing one-on-one conversation, Replika gradually becomes more like the user as it gathers data from their responses. It isn’t the only AI chatbot app available, but Replika pushes the boundaries of the concept to offer a highly realistic conversational experience.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as possible addiction, inappropriate content and in-app purchases.

This is part of our Technology, Online Identity and Mental Health categories.

Autumn 2021 E-safety (Online Safety)  

Online Activity (phones, computers) can be a serious risk to children:  

The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues-  

  • Child sexual exploitation 
  • Radicalisation
  • Sexual harassment, and online sexual bullying. 

Technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. With the right support, education and safety measures in place the Internet and new technologies can also bring great benefits, but we must all be vigilant.  A useful website to engage parents with safety issues.  Is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. It’s a one-stop-shop for most information about online safety.

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If you would like to view this content please (excellent resources) This is the government website to help parents and professionals understand the risks of children and young people being radicalised by extremists online and how to keep children safe from this. A great site for helping parents keep their children safe online. 

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Snapchat

Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing app through which users can chat with friends via text or audio. Images and videos can be shared with specific friends, or as a ‘story’ (documenting the previous 24 hours) that’s visible to a person’s entire friend list. Snapchat usage rose during the lockdowns, with many young people utilising it to stay connected with their peers. The app continues to develop features to engage an even larger audience and emulate current trends, rivalling platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as sexting, visible location and strangers.

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About TikTok

TikTok is a video-sharing social media app that lets people create, view and download looping 15-second clips. Typically, these are videos of users lip-syncing and dancing to popular songs or soundbites (often for comic purposes), enhanced with filters, effects and text. Designed with young people in mind, TikTok skyrocketed in popularity in 2019 and has featured near the top of download charts ever since. It now has around 1 billion active users worldwide.

In this guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as age-inappropriate content, addiction and in-app spending.

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Hoop

Hoop is a social networking app that syncs with Snapchat to help users build their community of friends. It works along similar principles to Tinder: swiping left or right will reject or accept potential contacts, making new connections in the process. When two users accept each other, they can then communicate via Snapchat. There is no chat function on Hoop itself: video and audio calls, messaging and image sharing all take place through Snapchat. When a user adds a new Hoop contact, they are essentially sharing their personal information from Snapchat.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as grooming, visible location and no age verification system.

What Parents and Carers Need to Know About Social Media Scams

Published 15th September 2021 A free online safety guide on social media scams.

On any social media platform, you’ll often come across links to genuine-looking websites. They might include an exclusive offer for one of your favourite shops or invite you to complete a quiz in return for a particular reward. In some cases, clicking on these links takes you to a fake website where you are asked to provide your personal details. The whole enterprise is a ploy to capture sensitive details, such as your email address and password, which the scammers then exploit at your expense.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as phishing scams, untrustworthy URLs and 'payment first' scams.

Published 29th Sept 2021- A free online safety guide on Pokémon GO. 

Pokémon GO has been among the world’s most popular mobile games since its spectacular release in 2016. It's recently enjoyed a resurgence, thanks partly to people combining entertainment and exercise during lockdown. In Pokémon GO – like the Pokémon TV show, trading card series and other video games – players capture, train and battle with their Pokémon creatures: physically exploring locations while using augmented reality via their phone’s screen. The game generally provides a positive experience, but there are still some safety concerns to consider. 

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as environmental hazards, strangers and data collection. 

Published 6th October 2021 - A free online safety guide on Tinder.

Tinder is a free online mobile dating app used by more than 50 million people worldwide. Users sign up using their Facebook account and are matched with other people based on various preferences, such as location, age and shared interests. The user can swipe right to show interest in a profile (and connect as a match) or swipe left to ignore (decline) the match. If two users both like each other’s profile and become a match, they are then able to communicate with each other directly.

In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as privacy concerns, emotional harm and pressure to meet strangers.

Most students can now access the Internet and send photos/video feed via their smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, etc. Many students will also have their own social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.  

The best approach is to talk to your children about responsible online behaviour and the possible consequences of actions and bad decisions. 

You can search for information to help children stay safe here: 

 TikTok app - see below to find out about why police are concerned about how young people using the TikTok app and advice for parents/carers 

See the latest information from National Online Safety group about Fortnite 2 and other technology concerns as part of their #WakeUpWednesday campaign:  

** SnapChat Maps is a new update from SnapChat that could allow children to inadvertently reveal their location and pose a danger. Click below to find out more and how to protect your child.‘snap-maps’-new-location-sharing-feature-snapchat  

** See below for guides to safely using Snapchat and Instragram.

Rocket League is what’s known as a free-to-play title. That is, theoretically, users can download and play the game without ever thinking about it costing any money. However, like many free-to-play offerings, Rocket League contains in-game purchases which can accelerate a player’s progress – a particular temptation for eager young gamers.

Our #WakeUpWednesday guide explains that – although Rocket League’s relative mildness is reflected by its PEGI 3 certificate – in-game purchases are not the only potential risk. Parents and carers also need to be mindful of their children spending extra hours online honing their skills, plus a competitive community of other players who may occasionally turn aggressive.

Click here to view our #WakeUpWednesday guide

A new school year always holds its share of potentially harmful online crazes, games and apps. Some may be unexpected, and some may be more commonplace like TikTok, Call of Duty or Instagram, each presenting similar hazards to a different audience as each year group becomes old enough to be fascinated by them.   

What we can confidently predict, however, is that National Online Safety will continue to bring you the latest insights and analysis of the games, apps and devices that have got children talking. 

For the start of term, this week’s #WakeUpWednesday guide summarises some excellent all-purpose tips to keep young people safe online throughout the 2021/22 academic year. 

 A free online safety guide on going back to school

Downloading a new app or game is so quick and straightforward that, whenever a young person uses a smartphone (either their own or a parent’s) there’s always the possibility that they could expose themselves to inappropriate content (such as games with violent scenes or apps with adult themes) simply by sheer accident or, more likely, through youthful curiosity.

Fortunately, the parental controls you’ll find on most smartphones are an excellent way of minimising this possibility. They don’t completely remove the element of risk – but they do limit it considerably. Our #WakeUpWednesday guides this week steer you through the process of setting up this useful protection on iPhone and Android smartphones.

Click here to view a guide on how to set up Parental Controls on Mobile Devices

Quick Links:

Know how to stay safe online – advice and tools for parents and young people  

Child Sexual Exploitation is when someone makes you, or manipulates you, into doing something sexual for the benefit or enjoyment of themselves or others. It might be someone that you think is your boyfriend or girlfriend or someone you’ve just met or known for a while.  

It can happen online or offline.  

Offenders will attempt to draw you into a relationship and gain your trust by giving you gifts or attention. You might think this is harmless, but then they will make you feel that you have to give something back in return and this might involve sexual acts. 

That’s abuse - it’s never OK but it’s never your fault. 

Fact sheet about webcams and videochat 

Advice about Sexting issues (West Mercia Police) 

Advice about using ooVoo 

Online safety advice from NSPCC 

Choose guide for parents  on broadband filtering  

Think U Know 

NSPCC - Staying safe online 

AskFM Fact Sheet 

Facebook help & checklist 

Guide to Instagram 

Guide to Snapchat 

Advice from the NSPCCl