Staying Safe Online
Much of this advice applies to all forms of electronic communication – mobile phone text messaging, email, instant messaging and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).
- In any message you send – be polite and do not use abusive language towards others. You can’t complain about what other people do, if you do it too.
- Beware of instant messages and immediate replies to text messages or e-mails where you don’t have time to think about what you say – often things that you later regret. It’s always a good idea to let some time pass before replying.
- Never reveal the address, phone number or other personal details of yourself or other users.
- Never arrange to meet up with anybody that you have met on-line without taking an adult with you. If they are genuine they won’t ask you to keep it secret and will want to bring an adult too.
- Be aware that you know nothing about people that you meet online and they may not be who they say they are.
- Think about the possible problems before passing on or placing personal photos on any social network web-sites. Once sent you lose control of them – anybody can copy them, possibly change them and post them on other sites. Beware of sending photos which contain background details which could be used to identify you or the area in which you live e.g. house number, street name or school.
- Keep all passwords secret – even from your closest friends. If someone else sees them typing it in – it’s your password that they know. In this situation you can lose control of your own Facebook page or Twitter account.
- Don’t publish personal and detailed private thoughts on web-sites – you don’t know who might be reading them or what they might do with them after copying them. Be careful of what you say in all electronic messages – don’t forget how easy it is for them to be forwarded to other people intentionally or by accident.
- Never open attachments to emails from anyone that you don’t know or are not expecting. E-mail attachments like these could easily be viruses.
- Be aware that when you type your e-mail address into some web-sites you may well start to receive lots of unwanted ‘junk’ email (spam). Consider setting up a separate email address for typing into web-sites that ask you for one so that you can protect your main e-mail address.
Unfortunately, electronic communication methods make it possible for bullying to continue beyond the end of the school day. If you are upset about any messages you receive or anything that is posted on a web-site this is what you should do:
- Don’t delete the evidence. Save messages and, if possible, print out copies of them to bring into school. During on-line chat sessions you can copy and paste or use the ‘PrtScr’ or ‘Print Screen’ key to keep a record of what was said – press this key and then ‘paste’ the screen onto a blank page in something like MS Paint, Word or Publisher so that you can print it.
- Immediately tell somebody about the problem – your parents and/or somebody at school – form tutor, head of house, ICT teacher, prefect… anybody that you feel that you can talk to. Alternatively, you can use the following e-mail address to report any incident of bullying: email@example.com
Like all other instances of bullying, Claverham takes this sort of incident very seriously. Any pupil using any form of electronic communication to cause distress to another member of the school community will be dealt with severely. Any illegal activities will be referred to the relevant authorities.