CHILDREN SAFETY BOOK
You can’t always be with your kids when they’re online, but Google SafeSearch can. There are some things on the Internet no child should see. So it’s good to know that SafeSearch allows you to filter adult content from your search results so your family can explore the wonders of the Internet more safely. And because kids will be kids, SafeSearch lock ensures it can only be turned off with a password. To find out more on how to be safer on the Internet, go to google.co.uk/goodtoknow
WHOOPS! CHILD SAFETY BOOK // 1
CONTENTS Introduction by Carole Hewison, of The Whoops Child Safety Project
About The Whoops! Child Safety Project
Accidents at home
Child Safety Risk Assesment
Keeping young children safe online
Designed and Published by IJC Media Limited @ Gateshead 2013 Thanks to the following contributors: • The Whoops! Child Safety Project • The Children’s Foundation • Newcastle NHS Trust • Kaspersky UK
IJC Media Limited wishes to thank all the advertisers whose support has made this publication possible. Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of this publication and the statements contained herein are believed to be correct at the time of publication, the publishers and promoters of this publication shall not be liable for any inaccuracies. The publishers or the Whoops! Child Safety Project does not sanction or endorse any of the products or services that feature in this publication. IJC Media Limited cannot be held liable for the origination of the text and images within this publication.
INTRODUCTION // 3
WELCOME & HELLO! It is my pleasure to introduce this new and exciting child safety book. You will see from the supporters within this book that there are many organisations around the region who care deeply about preventing harm to children – no more so that the Whoops Child Safety Project. Whoops, a part of The Children’s Foundation has been around for the past 13 years and I have been fortunate to have been here for every minute of that time. We have worked with in excess of 250,000 parents, carers, children and professionals in an attempt to eliminate serious injuries sustained from preventable accidents and incidents. We don’t want to wrap children up in cotton wool. Scrapes and bruises, breaks and bleeds are part of growing up however we don’t think children should die, be disabled or disfigured from what could very well be a predictable or preventable instance. I want to work with your staff teams to ensure we equip them with info they need – not the red tape and reams of paper they don’t need. I want the opportunity to have a say in the risk assessment for your children and to help make your school, children’s centre a centre for excellence in child safety. I want your staff team to be able to spot a child who is depressed – not just label then “naughty – or bad blood”and I want teams of educators to be able to spot a child whose parents have given up on them and they come to school unkempt, smelly or hungry. I hope you get some helpful information from this book…..Happy reading Kind regards,
Carole Hewison Project Director
What to do if you are worried about a child or young person in Northumberland? All Children have the right to grow up safe from harm or abuse. If you think a child or young person is being abused or mistreated or you have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, you must speak to someone immediately. You can ring the Safeguarding Team on 01670 623978 (ofﬁce hours) who will connect you to your local Children’s Social Care Team or ring 0845 600 5252 (out of hours). In an emergency, phone the police 999. All concerns about children are treated seriously and in conﬁdence. Most people feel anxious about making a referral about a child to social workers. Talking through your concerns can help clarify whether there is something to be worried about or not - don’t think ‘what if I am wrong?’ think ‘what if I am right?’ The Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB), is an independent partnership responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The NSCB website provides accessible and up-to-date advice and information for children and young people, parents and carers and professionals. For more information about the NSCB, please call 01670 623980, email SafeguardingChildren@northumberland.gov.uk, or access the NSCB Website: www.northumberland.gov.uk/SafeguardingChildren
ABOUT WHOOPS! // 5
WHO ARE WE? Whoops! Successfully deliver child safety initiatives to health professionals, parents/carers and children across the region – we delivered child and maternal mental health as there is a direct link between poverty/accidents and mental health.
Facts about us: • Whoops! are the only Child Safety organisation outside of London. • Whoops! are the forefront for all child safety across the North East. Often creating opportunity and identifying the need for intervention prior to addressing it. • Whoops! home safety/baby burns initiatives have played a major part in reducing the number of children in Gateshead alone admitted to hospital by 62% (2000 82 admissions, 2007/8 – 54 admissions) • Whoops! education to parents increases positive mother/child attachment in the first few months, thus reducing the number of children presenting with a mental health problem in adolescence. • As a direct result of our programmes – immediate behavioural changes are made in and around the home to prevent lifethreatening injury/injury deaths.
• Whoops! are synonymous in bringing communities together. Professionals and service users (parents and grandparents and children) from across PCT, NHS, Local Government, and community based service and the third sector and are equipped to make life-saving changes direct where it is most required. • Whoops! train other front line professionals to identify and address child safety to prevent brain damage, disability and death. • Whoops! are evaluated as non-threatening and are welcomed by all service users no matter what their social standing as “there to help”. • Whoops! targets disadvantage – making a difference where there is no positive role models in a young mothers/fathers and a child life – to set a precedent to recognise, promote and motivate mothers and fathers to ensure their children are safe.
Why are we doing this?
• Over the next 12 months 250 children will die from an accident – a further 2 million will visit A&E as a result of an accident. • “Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem. • Around 1 in 12 children and young people deliberately self harm.
if this is not a good enough reason, then I’m not sure what is!
6 // ABOUT WHOOPS!
Be a Child Safety Officer FF FF FF FF
Is your place of work a “centre of excellence” for children? Do you have a child safety officer in your centre? Do all your staff know what to do in every emergency situation? Do your staff conduct dynamic risk assessment every day?
If you have answered no to any of the above then you need to complete our 1 day child safety officer training. An absolute must if children are visiting or staying in your venue for any length of time. All too often we hear of child deaths, serious life threatening incidents and many more near misses to children while they go about their daily lives – it is now the time we “made it our business” to put an end to the pain and suffering and long term consequences of injury. Protecting your organisation from future closure, litigation and guilt is paramount in today’s society. The Child Safety Officer course is designed to instil child safety awareness and practices into every business/organisation working with or having children coming through their doors. – Examples could include children’s centres, early years and nursery provision, shops, café’s bars and restaurants, holiday and travel companies, children’s leisure and play organisations, merchant associations and similar, bus - rail and aero companies, voluntary sector, banks, theme parks, stadiums – sport, facility management and so on and so on – the list is endless. Within your business, who is responsible for assessing risks and hazards for visiting or working children? • Is your business fully protected? • How do you protect your staff, premises and practices from fault or blame? • Could your business withstand a lengthy court case, costly fines and litigation payments? As a responsible business you can create a safer environment. This child safety officer’s course is designed to equip key people in your organisation to take responsibility for risk assessing from a child’s point of view. Creating a child safety policy, will add value to your existing policies and communicate with the right people, ensuring your business can be a safe environment for young people. To contact us and book please call 0191 4777366, or email information@ whoopschildsafety.co.uk
Are you worried about a child? If you have concerns about the safety of a child then you should talk to someone immediately. You can phone the council (in confidence) on: 0191 433 2410 (oďŹƒce hours) 0191 477 0844 (out of hours) In an emergency phone the police: 999 Young people with concerns can also phone: Childline: 0800 1111 For more information on safeguarding and protecting children in Gateshead visit the Local Safeguarding Children Board website at: www.gateshead.gov.uk/lscb
8 // CHOKING
CHOKING Young children and babies are prone to choking. The most common cause of choking in this age group are food and small objects like buttons, beads and coins and small toys left lying about by older siblings. When an object is stuck in the throat it can block the airway, making breathing difficult, or the throat can go into a muscular spasm. If the airway is only partially blocked the casualty should be able to clear the blockage; if it is fully blocked, then the casualty will not be able to breathe, speak or cough and this will fast lead to unconsciousness so action must be prompt.
Your first aim is to try to encourage the child to cough as this could allow them to remove the obstruction themselves. However, if the child becomes weak or shows signs of difficulty in breathing, then we need to deliver one or all of the following techniques:
2. Chest Thrusts
3. Abdominal Thrusts
Bend the child forward and using the heel of your hand, aim to deliver 5 sharp backslaps in the middle of the shoulder blades. Check the mouth to see if the obstruction is cleared and if you can see something in the mouth use a one-finger sweeping action to remove it. Never go into the mouth blindly in case you push the obstruction further down the throat. If backslaps fail then try chest thrusts.
Stand or kneel behind the child, placing your fist against the lower part of the breastbone. Take hold of your fist with the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards. Give up to 5 chest thrusts, checking the mouth again using the sweeping finger to remove any obstruction. If this fails try the abdominal thrusts.
Place the thumb side of your fist between the naval and the ribcage. Roll your fist sharply in an â€œinwards and upwardsâ€? movement into the abdomen. Repeat this rolling technique 5 times. Check the mouth to see if the obstruction has cleared using the finger sweep action.
If the obstruction is not cleared, carry out the backslaps and chest thrusts a further 3 times. Never perform abdominal thrusts on a baby. Dial 999 for an ambulance and continue the backslaps/ chest thrusts until help arrives or the choke is removed. Check the level of response and be prepared to resuscitate if necessary.
CHOKING // 9
Choking Baby 1. Backslaps
2. Chest Thrusts
Lay the baby face down along your forearm, supporting the head, with the head lower than the legs, and give up to 5 firm back slaps. Check the mouth and remove any obstruction with your fingertips.
If the backslaps fail, turn the baby onto their back and give up to 5 chest thrusts. Using 2 fingers, one finger’s breadth below the nipple line, push inwards and upwards on the breastbone. Perform the chest thrusts at a rate of one thrust every 3 seconds. Check the mouth.
How safe is your home?
Did you know, every year 1000s of children go to hospital after suffering an accidental injury at home. Help stop your child being one of them by following our safety tips check list: FF The stairs and landing are kept clear of clutter that could cause a fall. FF Toys for older children are kept away from babies and toddlers, in case they choke on small parts. FF Medicines and chemicals are kept high up and out of reach, to prevent a child from drinking something harmful. FF The highchair has a 5-point harness to stop babies climbing or falling out. FF Baby nappies are always changed on the floor, to help prevent falls. FF Babies and toddlers are always supervised in the bath, to prevent drowning. FF A smoke alarm is fitted and working to give the family extra time to escape in the event of a fire. FF Hot drinks are never left where young children can reach them, to prevent scalds, as a cup of tea is still hot enough to scald after 15 minutes.
FF There are safety gates fitted to stop babies and toddlers climbing and falling. FF Plastic bags are knotted and put away safely to avoid suffocation. FF Cigarettes, matches and lighters are kept out of reach to prevent burns. FF Use back rings on the cooker or turn handles away from the edge to avoid scalds. FF Have a family fire escape plan worked out and discuss it with your children – don’t wait until it is too late. FF Always replace dead batteries in your smoke alarm – you cannot replace your children. FF Have someone in the family take a first aid course to help cope if an accident happens. FF Ensure hair straighteners are NEVER left
If you require more information on keeping safe,contact the Whoops! Child Safety Project on (0191) 477 7366.
BABIES CAN SUFFOCATE ON NAPPY SACKS ALWAYS KEEP NAPPY SACKS OUT OF REACH. Babies naturally grasp anything and put it in their mouths - nappy sacks can kill.
ÂŠ Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust 2011
HOME SAFETY // 11
HOME SAFETY What are the most common types of Accidents? Falls account for over 40% of all home accidental injuries to children. They are by far the most common single cause of home accidental injury. Collisions with a person or object are the second most common type of accidental home injury and the only one where the injury rates are approximately the same for children of all ages. Typically these accidents happen when children run in to objects, run in to each other or are struck by a falling object. The need to remove a foreign body that has been swallowed, inhaled or is stuck elsewhere was the second most common cause of hospital attendance for accidental home injury in 2002 with over 50,000 attendances, almost 40% being aged between 5 and 14 years. Burns and scalds are another common type of home injury. In 2002 there were almost 37,000 hospital attendance. Burns and scalds particularly affect babies and very young children with scalds from hot drinks being the most common cause. The fourth most common reason for children being taken to hospital is suspected poisonings. These happen when parents or carers think that children have consumed medicines, household cleaners, DIY or gardening chemicals. Nine out of ten suspected poisonings involve children under five years old.
The following safety tips can help prevent injuries to children by making the home a safer place for them: Falls
Striking & Collisions
• Fit corner guards to sharp edges of furniture Burns and Scalds
• Fit safety gates to prevent children accessing stairs • Check banister or balcony railings to make sure children cannot climb on them or fall through gaps • Fit safety catches on upstairs windows • Keep furniture away from windows • Never leave babies unattended on furniture or changing tables; they can easily roll off • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to avoid slips • Encourage children to put their toys away after use • Fix loose carpets and mats and do not have trailing flexes
• Fit smoke alarms and check regularly that they are working • Close doors at night to stop fire spreading • If possible install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of small children
12 // HOME SAFETY
• Use fireguards on all heaters and fires and do not use them to dry clothes • Keep children away from ovens, hobs and hotplates • Turn pan handles towards the back of the stove and use back rings for cooking when possible
• Remember that perfumes, essential oils and alcohol can also be poisonous to children and keep them out of reach • Keep all dangerous substances in original containers Cutting & Piercing
• Never fill a chip pan more than one third full and never leave a hot chip pan unattended • Use short or curly flexes with kettles and keep them out of the reach of children • Do not hold a child when you have a hot drink and keep mugs and cups of hot drinks well out of the reach of young children • Turn irons off immediately after use and never leave the flex dangling • Fit a thermostatic mixing valve to your hot bath tap Suffocation, Strangling & Choking
• Do not use pillows, duvets and bean bags for babies under a year old • Never use strings, ribbons and ties on very young children’s clothes • Strings on toys over cots or playpens should be shorter than 20 cm • Don’t take your baby to sleep with you in your bed or on the sofa. You may accidentally suffocate him or her while you sleep. • Never string toys across a cot or pram • Stay with young children when they are eating or drinking and get them to sit still • Supervise small children if they are eating small pieces of fruit or vegetables. Do not give peanuts to children under six • Keep small objects like coins and parts of toys away from young children • Always keep plastic bags and plastic film away from children Poisoning
• Keep dangerous substances out of reach of children – these include household chemicals such as cleaners, detergents and bleach, as well as DIY materials such as paints, thinners, strippers, varnishes, glues and other adhesives • Keep all medicines out of sight and reach of children – preferably in a locked cupboard
• Mark large areas of glass with stickers. • Fit safety glass in low level glass in doors and windows • Use safety film on glass in furniture, or re-fit with safety glass • Fit safety catches on drawers containing sharp cutlery and knives • Keep kitchen gadgets and sewing materials out of reach Drowning
• Always supervise children in or near water • Never leave a child under five alone in a bath even for a moment – do not use bath seats as they do not prevent drowning • Drain or securely cover garden ponds. • Empty the bath immediately after use • Do not leave anything in the garden that could collect rainwater–turn buckets, wheelbarrows etc over or put them away after use.
Blind Cord Danger Looped blind and window cords are dangerous as they can strangle a child. Ensure all cords are kept securely out of reach and never put a child in a cot, high chair or playpen within reach of a curtain or blind cord
For safety advice please contact City of Newcastle Upon Tyne Trading Standards Service firstname.lastname@example.org 0191 2116121
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Newcastle Hospitals Community Health
SAFETY HERO and prevent children suffering from burns and scalds
Burns and scalds • Most accidents to children 0-4 years happen in the home in the presence of an adult and are usually PREVENTABLE. • A high number of children suffer from a burn or scald. • Most burns and scalds happen in the kitchen from cups of tea, cookers, irons. • High numbers of children suffer burns from hair straightners. • Children are particularly at risk from burns/scalds as their skin is 20-30% thinner than adults.
Tips ALWAYS place hot drinks out of reach of children. A drink can stay hot enough to scald for up to 15 minutes ALWAYS run the cold water first when running a bath and check temperature using your elbow ALWAYS keep kettles, irons their wires and handles out of reach. They can be pulled over very easily NEVER leave hair straightners where a child can reach them
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Newcastle Hospitals Community Health
SAFETY HERO and prevent children suffering from burns and scalds
First aid for burns and scalds Place under cold water for at least 10 minutes to cool burn • If burn severe call 999 • Remove clothing that is not sticking to the burn • Cover with clingfilm loosely to reduce infection • Keep the child warm at all times
16 // SEXUAL ABUSE
SEXUAL ABUSE Together we can prevent child sexual abuse Child sexual abuse is something adults would rather not think about or talk about – but the best way of protecting children from harm is for adults to do just that! By not being afraid to talk about the issues, with each other and with our children, we become much better able to understand the steps we can take to keep our children as safe as possible. There are no hard and fast rules, but here are a few suggestions on things to think about and how to start these important conversations with your family and friends.
SMART rules for parents & carers Secrecy
Sexual abuse thrives in secrecy. Children find it very difficult to tell anyone that they are being abused by an adult or another child. Talking to and listening to your child is the best prevention.
Monitor your child for signs that they are not happy. Be alert to the warning signs that they may be being abused.
Be aware of who is paying attention to your children and who their friends are. Don’t ignore any unease you feel about people showing interest in your child.
Respect your child’s wishes if they don’t want to be with someone or to stay somewhere. Discuss with them why they feel this way.
Talk openly to your children about keeping safe. If your child does confide in you, listen calmly and be re-assuring.
TEEN ABUSE Abuse in a relationship can happen to anyone. It’s never ok. It can destroy your self-confidence, have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing and leave you feeling isolated and lonely. Abuse doesn’t have to be physical and violent. It can also be mental abuse - this means that you are threatened and your partner degrades you by putting you down. Other examples include being forced into situations you don’t want to be in, feeling pressurised into spending time with your partner when you ‘d rather be doing something else, or made to feel guilty about having your own friends and interests. It can be very difficult to talk about your feelings and what’s happening in your life. Some problems won’t go away even if you try to sort them out. Sometimes people try and ignore the problems but this can just make things worse. So if you have been affected by an abusive relationship and need advice or just want to talk to someone, please visit one of the websites or call one of the numbers listed in this book.
What price would you put on your child’s safety? ½ million children under 5 sustain a serious injury in the home each year. Approx. 300 of these children will die as a result of their injuries. For the price of a night out at the cinema you can help ensure your home is safe for your child! For only £25 (redeemable against the price of our cost price safety pack) Whoops! Child Safety Project Safety Proof Scheme can offer you a full home safety risk assessment. Including:A visit from one of our fully trained home safety advisors. Advice and guidance on how to keep your child safe. A £25 voucher towards a home safety equipment pack supplied by Whoops! at cost price.
Don’t let your child become another statistic! For more information on Safety Proof call Whoops! on
(0191) 477 7366
What’s Included in the Home Safety Pack? 2 Safety Gates Fire Guard 2 Cupboard Locks Extra Long Non Slip Bathmat 2 Packs Corner Cushions 2 Cord Winders Extra items can be purchased separately from us at cost price.
We can provide you with names of qualified fitters in your area if you would like to arrange professional fitting of the equipment to British Safety standards. If you would like to book a safety visit you can either phone the Whoops! office or complete and return this form to the address below. NAME………………………………………………………………………………. ADDRESS…………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………POSTCODE……………….. TELEPHONE…………………………………….…………………………………. NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN HOME………….………………………………… AGES OF THE CHILDREN………………………………………………………
When you are booking your home safety check why don’t you book a check for Granny & Granddad’s house too. Whoops! Child Safety Project
12 Gladstone Terrace, Gateshead, NE8 4DY Tel:- (0191) 477 7366 Email:- email@example.com www.whoopschildsafety.co.uk
20 // WATER SAFETY
DROWNING & WATER SAFETY It is important to be aware that a baby can drown in as little as 5cm of water. This means that anywhere that water can collect can become a hazard.
What can be done to reduce the number of drownings? • Fit a strong cover, such as a heavy metal grid, over the garden pond or fill it in. Ponds can make excellent sandpits for young children
• Be sure that toddlers cannot get into neighbours gardens – they may have a pond, pool or other hazard
• Have fencing around pools with self-locking gates that children cannot open or climb
• Always supervise children closely when playing in or near water such as paddling pools, at the beach, in parks and gardens
• Empty paddling pools after us and either cover or turn them over • Check regularly in the garden for anything that could collect water – put buckets, wheelbarrows or any other containers away or turn them upside down.
• When on holiday with children check out the environment for any water hazards, such as unfenced ponds or pools, rivers or canals • Never leave a baby or child under 6 years old in the bath without an adult to supervise them.
How to help children to learn about water safety as they develop?
• Encourage safe water play with young children • Make sure children learn to swim – all schools should be teaching swimming to children between five and fifteen years old • Encourage children to swim in safe places such as public pools where there are trained lifeguards • Teach children the meaning or warning flags or signs at beaches and other bodies of water • Explain to children why they should never swim in areas such as canals, weirs or quarries. • Learn basic first aid techniques and encourage older children to do the same.
WATER SAFETY // 21
How many unintentional drownings happen each year? (Britain, 2002) • 35 children under fourteen years old were drowned • 21 of these children were under five, 7 were between five and nine and 7 were ten to fourteen years old.
The places where these accidents happen reflect children’s developmental stages and where they spend their time.
• In the younger age group the most common place where children are drowned is in the home or garden. Of the children under five who drowned, 14 of them did so in the bath. • Older children are more likely to drown while playing outside the home.
As well as these fatalities many near drownings occur each year. In 2002 in England and Wales about 200 children were taken to hospital after nearly drowning. Not surprisingly most unintentional drownings happen in the summer months. Near drowning can have long-term consequences, resulting in permanent disability and serious health problems. The longer a child is immersed in water with loss of consciousness and breathing the more likely is it that such long-term consequences will arise.
simple Hold hands
Shut up SLOW DOWN PROTECT THE ONES YOU Road Safety Week.org
Brake the road safety charity Registerd charity No. 1093244
Road Safety Week is kindly sponsored by
CYBER BULLYING // 23
CYBER BULLYING What Every Parent Needs to Know About Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is an act of one child, preteen, teen or young adult which is intended to harass, embarrass, or humiliate another child, preteen, teen or young adult using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technology. Cyberbullying usually has at its root a desire to (1) balance or establish perceived power, (2) inflict harm on the other person, and (3) repetition of the bullying action to achieve the bully’s end.
Forms of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can take many forms. A recent study indicated that 63% of cyberbullying attacks come via social media, 25% come by email and 19% by phone. Posting photos online with a victim’s head atop a body that is not theirs, hacking into a victim’s Facebook page, posting embarrassing videos on YouTube, sending photos taken with a camera phone to many people, creating websites that tell lies or share embarrassing details have all been techniques used in recent years to harass unwitting victims.
Statistics from government reports and research estimates that 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying. Statistics also suggest that girls are much more likely to be victims than boys.
How Cyberbullying Differs from Other Forms of Bullying
Bullying usually takes place in person and in front of a relatively small number of people. In contrast, cyberbullies harass their victims either anonymously or at least in a setting where the victim’s reaction is not immediately seen. This can result in the bully having no immediate feedback on their bullying, which may cause the attacks to intensify quickly. In addition, cyberbullies’ attacks often encompass large groups of people through mass texts, Facebook posts, emails or posted videos that can at times go viral.
What Parents Should Do If Their Child is a Victim?
Talk with your child to learn the extent of the attack(s). Help them think through options for dealing with this attack and to prevent future attacks. If the attacks turn vicious or threatening, report the actions to local police and school officials. Block the harasser from sending text messages or instant messages. Change all passwords for your child’s email and other online accounts and have him or her keep them confidential. Check her online presence regularly to monitor for further problems.
24 // CYBER BULLYING
If your child has been on the receiving end of a cyberbully’s attack, there are some specific steps you should take to discuss the issue with your child and to prevent further attacks from having an impact on his or her life.
1. Watch for warning signs Cyberbullying can be quite embarrassing and often our children are reluctant to talk about it when it happens. Experts suggest that some of the warning signs of cyberbullying include: • Dropping grades • Avoiding going to school or social activities • Lower self-esteem • Stress-related health issues
2. Open the communication channels Often, fathers will find out through the back door or by seeing warning signs that their children have been victims of cyberbullying. Sit down with your child and talk about the experience. How did he or she feel? What do they think might have caused the attack? Do they know who did it?
3. Show empathy
At this stage, it is important to let your child know that you feel bad about the situation, but that it was not his or her fault. Helping them feel a connection to you now and later will help you stay on top of the issue and give her good advice.
4. Generate ideas for your child to address the issue
At this stage, it is important to let your child know that you feel bad about the situation, but that it was not his or her fault. Helping them feel a connection to you now and later will help you stay on top of the issue and give her good advice.
5. Document the attacks
Print off the social networking pages, emails or text messages when they come. As you work through all of the issues, having consistent and accurate documentation is critical. Sometimes cyberbullying raises to a legal issue (assault, harassment, terroristic threats, etc.) and having good documentation will be helpful to the authorities.
6. Block the bully
If the bully has been sending harassing text messages, block him or her from your child’s phone list. Block the bully’s access to your child’s email or social networking pages. Children are notorious at sharing their passwords with friends, so change all of your child’s passwords for email, social networking, instant messaging and more. Taking some of these precautions will help prevent further attacks.
7. Communicate with the school
If the cyberbullying involves people at school, notify the school officials of the problem. They can often block Internet access at school, which will often slow down the frequency of the attacks. They can also watch for other instances of violations using school resources and take appropriate action. Most schools have strict policies about cyberbullying.
8. Stay on top of your kids’ online presence Make sure you have your children’s passwords for their email, social networking and instant messaging. Your family cell phone provider may also have parental tools available where you can track your child’s text messages as well. Check these accounts frequently to stay on top of issues before they become unmanageable.
CYBER BULLYING // 25
Cyberbullying Statistics 1. Call your mobile phone provider to see what tools might be available to regulate your childâ€™s use of their phone. You may be able to block text messages by specific senders or even read copies of text message traffic. 2. Remember that one of the reasons that cyberbullying is a problem is that the bully does not get immediate feedback as he or she would in a real life bullying experience. So sometimes the attacks can escalate quickly and get out of hand almost within a few hours. Vigilance is very important. 3. Remember that cyberbullying can occur in many venues. Text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, gaming sites and other websites can all be tools for cyberbullying. Parents need to be aware of all ways in which their children communicate online.
KEEPING SAFE ONLINE
Latest Ofcom research has shown that 91% of 5-15 year olds live in a household with internet access and over a third of all 3-4 year olds are now accessing the internet in their homes. We know that children need support in these environments, to get the best out of using the internet, and there are real advantages in making sure that children are supported in their internet use right from the start.
The best way to keep your family safe online, and to understand your children’s internet use, is to use the internet together. Active engagement and conversations with your children are key. Be positive and embrace the technologies that young children enjoy and look for family activities or games. Take time to explore the games and services that your children are using, or want to use, and look out for any safety features that may be available. This will give you a better understanding of the different ways that children are engaging with technology and help you to feel more confident.
In the same way that you set rules for most areas of your children’s lives, establish your expectations regarding online activities. Creating a family agreement is a useful step, which might include time spent online, sites that can be visited, and behaviour expected; remember, what’s right and wrong offline is also right and wrong online. It’s a great idea to agree these rules from the outset, so that you and your children are aware of their boundaries.
Placing your computer or laptop in a busy part of the house e.g. the living room or kitchen can be helpful. This can make it easier for you to be involved in their technology use. But remember, the internet can be accessed from a number of portable devices, for example smartphones, iPod Touch, games consoles and tablets. Portable devices may allow you to ensure your children are using them where you can see them and your children can still be supervised. To find out more about the internet capabilities of smartphones, gaming consoles and other devices, check out our Parents’ Guide to Technology.
Children can be enthusiastic users of technology. The challenge can be to harness this enthusiasm and ensure a balance, so that the use of technology does not negatively impact on other important areas of young children’s lives. There are some strategies that can be used to help manage the time online issue, such as agreeing time limits or using time limiting tools, designating weekly times to use the internet together, or removing portable devices from your child’s bedroom at night to avoid tiredness.
There are free parental controls and filters available, to help you set safer boundaries for your children, but you will usually be required to set them up. Your internet service provider (such as BT or TalkTalk) will provide free filters to help block age inappropriate content for children, and on the UK Safer Internet Centre website you can watch video tutorials that show you how to find and set these up. All mobile phone operators (such as O2 or Vodafone) also provide such parental controls for free. The websites of device manufacturers (such as games consoles) should also outline the controls to which you have access. Filtering options can be found within websites and services themselves, for example on YouTube or 'safe search' settings can be applied to search engines such as Google or Bing. There are even some search services designed for children (such as Yahoo! Kids). Parental controls can be password protected, so it’s advisable to choose a strong password and not share it. Parental controls and filters are a good starting point but it is important to recognise that they are not 100% effective. They are a great help, but not a solution, and work best in combination with parental supervision and engagement, to help your children understand how to stay safe online. As children grow and develop, so do their online needs, therefore you may want to periodically review your parental controls to accommodate this.
Education is the best tool that a child can have, so discuss with your child the importance of telling an adult immediately if someone, or something, upsets them online. Make sure that your children know that they can come and talk to you (without necessarily getting into trouble) if they see anything that worries them on the internet, and encourage them to feel confident enough to do so. Other immediate strategies to deal with unwanted content or contact could include; switch the screen off, close the laptop, exit the website, or turn the iPad or phone over and put it down. Younger users may be distracted by advertising and pop ups and with just a couple of clicks, or a spelling mistake, may find themselves on a different website. Children are naturally curious and will innately push boundaries. Bookmarking sites or creating a 'favourites' list is a simple way to help your children find the content they want without having to search the internet for it. It is also important whilst beginning to explore the internet that your child realises that other internet users may not be who they say they are and that 'friends' made online are still strangers, so personal information should be kept safe, including their name, address, phone numbers and passwords etc. Encourage the use of screen names and nicknames where possible. This is where a family agreement can be incredibly useful, to establish rules and good online behaviour in advance.
There are many different online games and playing experiences currently available to children e.g. via computers, consoles, internet games and apps. Gaming may be the very first way that your child encounters life online. Some games however are for adults or older audiences and contain images and language that are not suitable for children. Therefore it is important that the games your children play are the correct age rating. Like film classifications, these ratings are determined by the game’s content, and all video games sold in the UK are clearly marked with age ratings set by PEGI (Pan European Games Information). Some online games may also be age rated or be classified ‘PEGI OK.’ Many games allow children to play with other internet users and may have chat features enabled. Some games provide a “safe chat mode” where simple predetermined phrases can be used. Playing these games yourself can be fun and will also enable you to identify the safety features provided, such as reporting to a moderator. Reading online reviews of games can be a really useful way to hear other parents’ experiences and feedback, and highlight potential safety issues like whether ‘in-app’ adverts are present, and whether the adverts displayed are suitable for the audience for which the app is intended. There have been news stories of young children running up large bills by inadvertently making ‘in-app’ purchases whilst playing, so do look out for whether you can spend real money during the game; it should be in the app description in the app store. You can also disable ‘in-app’ purchasing on a number of devices within the settings.
Reports can be made to websites through safety/help centres and moderation services. If you are suspicious about the behaviour of others online, reports can be made to CEOP and inappropriate media content, online and offline can be reported via Parentport. Criminal content online can also be reported to the IWF. For more information regarding reporting, visit our Need Help? section on the Childnet website.
This guide has been written and produced by children's charity Childnet International as part of the UK Safer Internet Centre. Copyright © 2013. Registered Charity no. 1080173.
Co-funded by the European Union
28 // FRAMEWORK
PROVIDING A SAFE ONLINE FRAMEWORK FOR OUR CHILDREN We face threats online everyday: malware, phishing, junk-mail… But there’s an extra dimension when children are involved. They’re less worldly-wise, and less wary about sharing private information, answering fraudulent messages or clicking through to websites. Children face not only undesirable content like pornography, violence and drugs, but also sites about self-harm or suicide. Sadly, inappropriate material can be just a few clicks away, appearing in search results for terms like ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Fireman Sam’. Children are also exposed to legitimate marketing. Often using their parents’ credit cards, they become a prime target for marketers pushing products like computer games, films and apps. Social networks encourage children to treat their Facebook page like the family notice-board - and they do, posting where they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing… with pictures! But while the kitchen notice-board is only accessible to friends and family, what’s posted on social sites is shared worldwide. Personal information can be used by a predator to profile a child, gain their trust and arrange a real world meeting. Shared pictures could be used by peers to bully or coerce them. Adults are more likely to see the catch in a ‘share everything’ culture - children won’t. Until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, we face a technology generationgap. Parents are worldly-wise, but often less tech-savvy, not always understanding what’s possible. Children have no trouble with the technology, but are often blindly unaware of the real-world dangers. That’s why parents need to get involved at a very young age, ‘mentoring’ their children, shaping their experiences. Of course, the message needs to be tailored to the age of a child. We
can’t expect a young child to understand about online threats. But they do need to know what’s good and bad. When a child is old enough to walk around town, we introduce them to road safety and the importance of staying close to us. Similar with the Internet. We should explain the online safety equivalent of a pedestrian crossing – Internet security software - to block harmful code. We should explain how to passwordprotect things, and not disclose personal information. These messages need to be reinforced and developed as a child gets older. If they’re taught early enough, they’re less likely to think you’re being unfair.
Tips: 1. Talk to them about the dangers and about their experiences - what makes them uncomfortable or threatened? 2. Set clear ground-rules about what they can and can’t do. Explain why. Review the rules as your child gets older. 3. Use parental control software to support your rules. Configure different controls for different children. How much time can they spend online? When? What content should be blocked? And what types of activity? 4. Protect the computer using Internet security software. 5. Protect their smartphone. Mobile security solutions can often filter out inappropriate people or content.
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