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The "Momo Challenge" is hitting the headlines, social media feeds and school playgrounds. As concerning as this may be, it is a similar game to the Blue Whale challenge a few years ago and an example of the minefield of online games and videos our children can be exposed to without supervision.
These games tend to hit the news and social media newfeeds because of the sinister/extreme challenges involved and Momo also has the "creepy girl avatar" which was originally a Japanese sculpture and has no connection to or involvement in the game. Children at primary school age are more likely to be affected mentally through rumours about the game and YouTube videos using the avatar than actually being at risk of taking part in such a game.
Children may find that they have trouble sleeping or have nightmares after talking about or seeing videos of the game.
It is recommended that parents are open with their children about their online activity, talk regularly with them about the apps and games they play and the potential risks they could be exposed to.
- Ensure they know what their children can access online
- Ensure children understand the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know
- Tell their children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do
- Use parental controls to keep children safe We would also recommend that pupils use age-appropriate apps for communicating with friends and for watching videos.
The NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing online safety with their children: Among the most common signs to watch out for include children who:
- Become very secretive, especially about what they are doing online
- Are spending a lot of time on the internet and social media
- Are switching screens on their device when approached
- Are withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages
- Have lots of new phone numbers or email addresses on their devices
If adults are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with their children, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ Also see Net Aware, https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ - the UK's only parental guide to social media and gaming apps.
Camp Hill Primary School receives award for Online Safety
Sarah Fitzgerald, an Assessor from Warwickshire Local Authority recently visited Camp Hill Primary School to review the school’s Online Safety provision. She met with the online safety lead teacher, Helen Cartwright, as well as school staff, parents and carers, Governors and pupils and was pleased to find that the school provides a high level of protection for users of the new technologies.
Warwickshire LA provides the internet connection and a range of other services to schools across the county and is in the forefront of national developments in Online Safety. To enhance these services, they have supported the use of the South West Grid for Learning online tool to help schools address online safety issues, not least the recent changes to Ofsted inspections, which include a stronger focus on safeguarding. The online tool allows schools to evaluate their Online Safety policy and practice and then suggests how the school might do more to protect young people and staff.
To apply for the 360°safe Online Safety Mark, schools have to reach a series of benchmark levels when they complete the online self review. The evidence is then verified by a visit from experienced Assessors.
The prime benefit of using the review and applying for the 360 Mark is that it does not focus on the individual aspects of Online Safety such as technological solutions, but instead it integrates Online Safety into school policy and the curriculum, challenging teachers and managers in the school to think about their provision and its continual evolution.
Schools are expected to show that they have provided a high standard of Online Safety education and awareness for all staff, pupils and also for parents and carers, to ensure that these users of the new technologies can be safe online – whether they are in school, in their homes or out and about using mobile phones or other handheld devices.
Following their visit, Sarah reported that the school are extremely proactive in making sure they are up to date with the latest technology and trends and as such make full use of parent and pupil surveys and quizzes. This enables the school to effectively deliver training and Online Safety sessions with timely, relevant content.
Sarah Fitzgerald, Assessor for the 360°safe Online Safety Mark congratulated the school on its success and commented that it was re-assuring to know that the school had put a lot of thought and effort into improving the online safety of the staff and young people, by addressing these important safeguarding issues.
E SAFETY WEBINAR FOR PARENTS/CARERS
We all know how hard it is to keep up to date with what our children are doing online. If you would like practical and valuable advice on how to protect yourself and your family online, then please join our popular E-safety webinar workshop, hosted by Stella James, CEO and founder of Gooseberry Planet. This webinar is tailored for parents and is FREE OF CHARGE! Please do share the information below with parents at your school.
Stella has become a well-known speaker on the subject of Online Safeguarding and regularly speaks at schools and educational events across the UK. She is passionate about raising the profile of E-Safety in schools and about engaging and educating the whole school community. Parents and teachers have a combined responsibility to protect and prepare children for a life online. But are we doing enough?
Our informative webinar will cover ALL aspects of online safety, with particular focus on: