Digital Well-being continues to be an important issue for schools, pupils and parents. At Bridgewater we are committed to ensuring that this is addressed to pupils routinely and regularly throughout the school year. Pupils receive a CEOP course in Year 7 and attend repeated assemblies/PSHE lessons to increase their awareness. Y8 pupils take part in a whole day devoted to safe internet use every February. We also run Parents’ Information Evenings as appropriate and update this part of the website with advice for parents/carers to ensure that you are better equipped to support your sons and daughters.
We have recently amended our e-safety policy (along with a full “360” review of our provision in collaboration with the governing body) and will continue to revise this as appropriate throughout the year. This can be found in the Safeguarding section of this page (entitled Online Safety Policy).
Bridgewater parents/carers also have access to the National Online Safety online resources including a training course for parents/carers. Click here for details and click here to read about our success in receiving NOS accreditation.
NEW ADDITION – w/c 20th September – Parental Controls
Most smartphones allow parents and carers to choose which apps and features appear on their child’s device and which ones don’t – also preventing young people from buying and downloading anything that’s unsuitable for their age. These guides to parental controls for managing apps on will help you to reduce the chance of your child using a game or app that might not be appropriate for their age. In the guides, you’ll find tips on a number of tips such as how to block app downloads, how to stop auto-updates and how to restrict apps.
Parental Controls for Apps – iPhone
Parental Controls for Apps – Android
NEW ADDITION – w/c 13th September – 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 this guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as phishing scams, untrustworthy URLs and ‘payment first’ scams.
Social Media Scams
NEW ADDITION – w/c 6th September – Back to School
As pupils return to school after the summer break, here are some useful online safety tips:
Back to School Online Safety Tips
NEW ADDITION – w/c 23rd August – Hoop Guide
Many tech journalists have dubbed Hoop ‘Tinder for teens’: a nickname that’s guaranteed to set alarm bells ringing for online-savvy parents, carers and teachers. Add in the fact that Hoop doesn’t require proof of age (meaning that a predatory adult could potentially pose as a teen with ease), and that warning klaxon sounds even louder still. See this guide for more information:
NEW ADDITION – w/c 9th August – EdTech Summer Holiday Guide
It can be challenging to find holiday activities for digitally savvy young ones. There are plenty of edtech (educational technology) avenues to explore this summer, however, and National Online Safety have complied a list of their favourites:
EdTech Summer Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 14th July – Valorant
Valorant is one of the hottest first-person shooters on the market. Players choose a character and face off in teams of five against five opponents. Between dealing with these other players, navigating the online store and avoiding possible addiction, there’s plenty for parents and carers to consider before allowing children to play. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, violence and in-game purchases.
NEW ADDITION – w/c 28th June – TikTok
TikTok is a video-sharing social media app available on iOS and Android which lets users create, share, and view user created videos in a similar manner to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Its main draw, however, is that users can record and upload bite-sized looping videos of themselves lip-syncing and dancing to popular music or soundbites, often for comedic effect, which can then be further enhanced with filers, emojis and stickers. TikTok has been designed with the young user in mind and has a very addictive appeal. At the beginning of 2019 it skyrocketed in popularity and has featured near the top of download charts ever since. Estimates suggest that it now has anything between 500 million and over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. In this guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as online predators, the addictive nature of TikTok and age-inappropriate content.
NEW ADDITION – w/c 21st June – Online Gambling
Online sports gambling is much faster and easier than using a traditional bookmaker and provides more markets to wager on – including in-play betting, enabling bets to be placed on an event after it has started. Alongside the convenience of being able to place a bet (in seconds) from a mobile phone or tablet at any time, online deals have helped online sports betting in the UK to grow year on year. In this guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as underage gambling, addiction and a negative impact on mental health.
Online Sports Betting
NEW ADDITION – w/c 7th June – Fifa 21
You don’t need to be a football fan to have heard of the FIFA series of games (named after the Federation Internationale de Football Association: the worldwide governing body for the sport). Part of the franchise’s massive appeal is that official licensing gives users the opportunity to play games as their favourite teams, controlling their favourite footballers. They either compete online against other players or work through a solo-player career mode. With updated editions launched annually, FIFA is playable on a range of consoles, with mobile versions available for smartphones and tablets. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as addiction, scams and in-game chat.
Fifa 21 Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 31st May – Parental Controls for Privacy
The privacy settings on your child’s smartphone give you control over how the information stored on it can be used. You can turn off location services, for example, to keep their whereabouts private or stop apps from accessing functions of the phone like the camera or microphone. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of tips such as managing app permissions, managing location settings and controlling access for third-party apps and sites.
Privacy Controls – iPhone
Privacy Controls – Android
NEW ADDITION – w/c 14th May – TextMe
TextMe is a free texting and calling service. Users can send texts, voice messages, pictures and videos to any phone number in more than 40 countries. The app is free and available to install on any Apple or Android device. On registration, it assigns a ‘new’ mobile number to each user, effectively making them anonymous. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as predators, visible location and in-app purchases.
NEW ADDITION – w/c 17th May – Scam Emails
From dummy websites resembling the real thing, to concealed malware, to messages alerting you of a ‘problem’ with your account, online fraudsters continue to invent plausible ways to access your personal information. This guide turns the spotlight on email scams: how to spot them and how to react safely to them.
Scam Emails Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 3rd May – Ofcom Report
Ofcom’s annual ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes’ report aims to provide a comprehensive picture of how young people use and experience the internet in any given year. The 2021 edition differs from its predecessors, of course, because it covers three periods of national lockdown. With remote learning affecting children’s digital behaviours, studies like this are more important than ever to recognise digital dangers, understand media experiences and identify who is being left behind in the online world.
In the guide you’ll find information on areas including children’s online activities, popular apps and parental concerns.
Media Use and Attitudes
NEW ADDITION – w/c 26th April – Roblox
With more than 150 million users worldwide, Roblox is one of the most popular video games of recent times. Roblox allows users to create their own gaming experiences using Roblox Studio: building levels and games then allowing other people to play them. Similarly, players can play each other’s creations, either on their own or with other people online. While it’s a tool that can help foster creative thinking, Roblox is also intermittently in the news amid concerns over young users’ safety. In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as in-app purchases, online dating and chat functionality.
Roblox – Parent & Carer Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 19th April – Parental Controls
The parental controls on smartphones allow you to block or restrict certain apps, features, content, downloads or purchases that might not be suitable for young people. Setting limitations around age ratings, Siri and web searches enables you to filter out age-inappropriate content and vastly reduce the likelihood of your children being exposed to potentially upsetting material and information.
Parental Controls – iPhone
Parental Controls – Android
NEW ADDITION – w/c 12th April – Snapchat
In addition to – but not altogether separate from – concerns over fuelling possible body-image issues, Snapchat has also garnered a reputation as a vehicle for sexting. The fact that messages can be set to auto-delete after 10 seconds can encourage (seemingly) evidence-free sharing of explicit selfies, particularly among teenagers.
But just because a picture digitally ‘evaporates’, it doesn’t mean the risk does too. Even if the image is shared with someone they actually know (as opposed to a stranger who’s befriended them online), sexting between under-18s is against the law – and it’s still possible for a picture to be saved and shared elsewhere.
Snapchat – Parent & Carer Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 8th March – WhatsApp
A chance to check out some new features WhatsApp has introduced. Why should parents and carers be aware of the ‘disappearing messages’ option? What has the app done to arrest the spread of fake news? And how does it help young people to start thinking more critically about things they might read online?
WhatsApp – Parent & Carer Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 1st Feb – Supporting children to express themselves safely online
Mental Health Week 2021 has adopted the theme of “express yourself”. Here is a guide for how pupils should do this safely online.
Expressing Safely – Parent & Carer Guide
NEW ADDITION – w/c 25th Jan – We Chat
WeChat is an all-in-one communications app for free text messaging, voice and video calls, photo sharing and games. Additionally, through “mini-programs” (apps integrated into the main WeChat platform), it becomes a one-stop shop by allowing users to do things like send payments, make purchases or book taxis, flights and hotels. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, WeChat is one of the world’s most popular social media downloads, with around 980 million active users.
In the guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as adult content, strangers and drug dealing:
We Chat – Parent & Carer Guide
12 Christmas Online Safety Tips – New Devices
The Playstation 5 Parent Guide
The National Online Safety App
The New Xbox Series Parent Guide
Amazon Alexa Parent Guide
Overwatch Parent Guide
Omegle Parent Guide
Triller Parent Guide
Microsoft Teams Parent Guide
Instagram Parent Guide
Facebook Messenger Parent Guide
14 Ways to be Kind Online
PS4 Parent Guide
Disney Plus Parent Guide
Online Grooming Parent Guide
Netflix Parent Guide
Home Activity Packs
Zoom Parent Guide
Houseparty Parent Guide
Minecraft Parent Guide
12 Social Media Tips for Christmas
FaceApp NOS Guide
Nintendo Switch NOS Guide
Virtual Reality NOS Guide
SAFER INTERNET DAY 2020 – parent/carer materials:
Parents and Carers – Conversation starters
Parents and Carers – Family internet safety plan
Parents and Carers – Fun things to do
Parents and Carers – Get involved
Parents and Carers – Pack overview
Parents and Carers – Quick activities
Parents and Carers – Resource sheet
Parents and Carers – Understanding Safer Internet Day 2020
* Our Esafety Ambassadors help keep us all up to date with the latest apps and social media crazes which may be positive experiences for many but can have dangers of negative usage. The latest to be mentioned is called “Yolo”. See this very recent news piece for further information:
* Our Y7 students were shown this PowerPoint in assembly today regarding the use of social media. It also contains this useful link containing guidance for pupils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrln8nyVBLU&feature=youtu.be
* Parents/carers should be aware of this new disturbing online challenge, “Momo”, directed at children:
* Some parents may have read stories in the press relating to a game called Doki Doki or Doki Doki Literature Club. At the moment, police have warned:
We believe this game is a risk to children and young people especially those that are emotionally vulnerable and anyone with existing mental health concerns.
I would ask parents to check the sites their children are using on a regular basis, as websites like this aren’t flagged up by normal firewall settings.
It’s also really important to discuss with your children which games and apps are suitable, and ensure they understand why others aren’t appropriate to use.
If you see your child using content online that you don’t feel is suitable, please make sure you report this…so that the relevant agencies are informed and can assess the risk posed by that game or app.
Developed by the American-based Team Salvato, Doki Doki Literature Club was released last year and is free to download and play.
No proof of age required to play and the game comes with the warning: “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.”
* A new platform has come to our attention called YUBO which is being dubbed “Tinder for Teens”.
Here is some information regarding this from National Online Safety:
* Here is a list of websites for parents as recommended by Cheshire Police in their recent e-safety presentation at Bridgewater. The first is particularly useful in providing key summaries, including what the potential dangers are, of each new app/game that emerges.