E-safety guidance

Online safety is not just an IT issue; it is about safeguarding children and young people whenever they are online.

The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues, often providing a platform which can be exploited intentionally or unintentionally. An effective approach to online safety provides an organisation, school or college with a framework with which to protect and educate their staff and the children and young people who they work with, and respond to any concerns.

The focus should be on building children and young people's resilience to online risk, so they can be safe and confident online, in conjunction with your organisation’s responsibilities to ensure safe and appropriate access. This often requires practitioners, parents and carers to acknowledge that the online world is constantly evolving, to understand the risks and how to mitigate against them.

The following are the areas of risk identified with online usage:

  • Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example pornography, fake news, racist or radical and extremist views;
  • Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example commercial advertising, as well as adults posing as children or young adults; and
  • Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying.

These are the minimum standards that an organisation should have in place and should be reflected within your own policies and procedures.

 

Policies and procedures

Your organisation should ensure that it considers:

  • IT settings/ security and access
  • Appropriate use (staff and children and young people)
  • Use of social media (staff and children and young people) eg; use of personal social media
  • A response to misuse (staff and children and young people) with regards to both organisational and personal devices.

 

Training

All staff (paid or voluntary) should receive regular training and development opportunities to ensure that they are able to recognise and respond to any online safeguarding concerns.
Staff should be aware of and understand an organisation’s policies in relation to online safety.

 

Informing and educating children and young people and their parents/ carers

Making children and young people and their parents / carers aware:

  • of the risks
  • your organisation’s approach to online safety
  • of ways to keep themselves safe
  • how to raise concerns.

 

What to do if you are concerned about a child

If you suspect that a child or young person is being, or is at risk of being significantly harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, you must report this immediately.See our concerned about a child page for further information.