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Communicating with parents about staying safe online is challenging but really important, so we thought you might like to see a letter that Greenvale Primary in Croydon (thanks for letting us share it!) sent home to parents about safe search engines, the challenges of YouTube, YouTube Kids and parental settings. This school had just decided to make YouTube available more widely than before – whether or not that applies to you, the rest may give you useful ideas.
Please use, adapt and send, and let us know if it helps. You can download the text as a Word file to edit and adapt alongside other useful such documents from safepolicies.lgfl.net as a word document if you want to adapt and use the text . Otherwise read on here just to see the text:
Online Safety at XXX
Dear Parent / Carer,
I write with regards to children’s access to media through the use of YouTube.
At XXX, we have a number of internet filters in place which means that inappropriate websites are blocked so that children are unable to access these whilst at school. These filters are also able to block sites as requested by the school. In recent years, we have blocked YouTube for children as it can sometimes be difficult to monitor the content within videos. After discussion with our Internet Service Provider, we have now decided to reinstate access to YouTube at XXX.
We took this decision, as our view around applications such as YouTube is that children will more than likely be accessing these websites whilst at home and that by simply blocking websites which may show inappropriate content, we are unable to demonstrate how to be vigilant and act if and when we were to come across inappropriate content. We would also like to make clear that we would be applying a ‘strict, restricted’ level of security on YouTube which will block out videos that are deemed inappropriate for primary aged children.
At school, we will also speak with the children to make them aware that they are only to go on YouTube when asked to do so by a teacher for specific work reasons. This way, we can ensure that their use is monitored and that children have a specific reason for viewing media. This rule will apply throughout the school day, including for children who attend breakfast and after-school club.
As a school, we would like to encourage the use of ‘YouTube Kids’ (as opposed to the main YouTube version) which is more suitable for children. Please note that this can only be accessed via an app and is not web-based. There are also search engines which are far more user friendly and suitable for children of primary school age, such as ‘Swiggle’ which can help ensure that children do not accidently come across content which is inappropriate. Through downloading ‘Google Family Link’, or ‘Apple Screen Time’ (both free apps) you are also able to block or allow different apps on your children’s devices.
Finally, in assembly today, we have shared a song from CEOP with the children and asked them to show you this at home over the weekend. We hope that this will help open up some helpful dialogue between families about online safety. Please click here to access a copy of this video. The video that we have watched is video 1, however you will see a number of other videos which will help initiate discussions around staying safe online.
For information about how you are able to review or update parental controls for apps and devices, please click here. This website provides parents with simple to follow instructions for how to keep your children safe at home.
The internet can be a wonderful place and we believe can be of great benefit to our pupils. Our highest priority is ensuring that children remain safe whilst online and ensuring they know what action to take should they come across anything that is inappropriate or causes them distress.
[ END ] Now over to you… If you have one that’s much more helpful in your opinion, why not share for the benefit of others? Get in touch