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5.29 Online Safeguarding

RELATED NATIONAL GUIDANCE

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

Chapter 1: Assessing need and providing help, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

Pan-Lancashire

Pan-Lancashire LSCB Online Safeguarding Strategy 2017 - 2019

RELATED CHAPTERS

Bullying Procedure

AMENDMENT

In November 2017, this chapter was extensively updated and should be read throughout.


Contents

  Impact of the Online Environment for Information Communication Technology (ICT) on Children and Young People
  Working Practices
  Policy Decisions
  Communications Policy


Impact of the Online Environment for Information Communication Technology (ICT) on Children and Young People

  1. Communication technologies have become a significant tool in the distribution of indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of children. Internet chat rooms, social networking sites, gaming sites, virtual worlds, instant messaging, discussion forums and bulletin boards are used as a means of contacting children with a view to grooming them for inappropriate or abusive relationships, which may include requests to make and transmit indecent images of themselves, or to perform sexual acts live in front of a camera via live streaming services or other such platforms. Contacts made initially in a group environments such as a chat rooms or online forums are likely to be carried on and further developed through (typically encrypted) social media platforms as part of the grooming process.
  2. There is also cause for concern about the exposure of children to inappropriate material such as adult pornography and/or extreme forms of obscene material, including access to extremist content and it is important to recognise that extremist radicalisation of young people is itself a form of grooming. Allowing or encouraging a child to view such material over an appreciable period of time may warrant further enquiry. Children themselves may engage in online bullying (Cyberbullying), deliberately send explicit images/video of themselves (Sexting) or use mobile phone cameras to capture violent assaults of other children for circulation;
  3. Where there is evidence of a child using ICT technology (including gaming devices) excessively, this may be a cause for concern more generally, in the sense that it may inhibit the development of real-world social relationships, become a factor contributing to physical health and wellbeing, mental health concerns or negatively impact on their educational attainment. It may also indicate either a contemporary problem, or a deeper underlying issue that ought to be addressed, such as addictive behaviour and behaviour relating to the obsessive use of technologies, particularly around online gaming environments;
  4. There is evidence that people found in possession of indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of children are likely to be involved directly in child abuse. Thus when somebody is discovered to have placed or accessed such material online, the Police should normally consider the likelihood that the individual is involved in the active abuse of children. In particular, the individual's access to children should be established, within the family, employment contexts, and in other settings (e.g. work with children as a volunteer or in other positions of trust);
  5. If there are particular concerns about one or more specific children, procedures should be followed for Referrals, Single Assessments and, when appropriate, Strategy Discussions/Meetings. As part of their role in preventing abuse and neglect, Pan Lancs LSCBs are key partners in the development and delivery of training and education programmes, with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). This includes building on the work of HM Government departments and organisations such as the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), BECTA, the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) and IT-industry partners in raising awareness about the safe use of technology by our children and young people.


Working Practices

  1. LSCB Organisations will:
    • Ensure that they have an appropriately trained person nominated as the lead Online Safeguarding Champion who receives regular updates on emerging trends / technologies and potential risks;
    • Promote that the use of Internet derived materials by service providers and children and young people complies with copyright law;
    • Provide guidance on using Social Networking platforms and other associated technologies safely and responsibly;
    • Provide guidance on managing inappropriate use of technology by children, young people and staff;
    • Encourage children and young people to be critically aware of online content including becoming critical consumers of information and promoting the development of broader digital resilience;
    • Encourage and support parents and carers to become more aware of online issue affecting children and young people and how to address them;
    • Ensure that they use digital images and video of children and young people responsibly and safely and encourage children, young people, their parents and carers to do the same;
    • Provide guidance on using online platforms positively, safely and responsibly;
    • Encourage the safe and responsible use of mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets by children and young people;
    Where agencies use social media, software and broader communication technologies to monitor if a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, the agency must have in place robust and effective policies and procedures compliant with local information sharing protocols and safeguarding policies.


Policy Decisions

  1. Authorising Access to ICT
    • All organisations must have robust and effective Acceptable Use/Behaviour Policies in place which users must read (and sign where applicable) before using any ICT resources;
    • The organisation should keep a record of all users (including staff and pupils) who are granted Internet access. The record will be kept up-to-date, for instance a member of staff may leave or a pupil's access be withdrawn;
    • Those with parental responsibility will be asked to sign and return a consent form.
  2. Assessing Risks
    • The organisation will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that users access only appropriate material. Any inappropriate access, whether intentional or unintentional, will escalated in line with the organisation's Online Safety Policy and procedures;
    • The organisation will regularly audit Online Safety provision to establish if their policies and procedures are adequate, up to date and implemented effectively.
  3. Handling Online Safety-related Complaints
    • Complaints of Internet misuse will be dealt with by the person supervising internet use in the first instance in line with established safeguarding procedures;
    • Any complaint about staff misuse must be referred to the management within the organisation in line with established safeguarding procedures;
    • Complaints of a child protection nature must be dealt with in a timely and effective manner in accordance with the organisation's child protection procedures;
    • Children and young people and those with parental responsibility will be informed of the complaints procedure on request.


Communications Policy

  1. Introducing the Online Safety Policy to Children and Young People
    • Online Safety rules should be posted in all rooms with computer access and discussed with the Children and Young People at least annually;
    • Children, Young People and their Parents/Carers should be informed that network and Internet use can be monitored;
    • The importance of Online Safety will be explained by school staff to Children and Young People including the standards expected both inside and outside of the school environment, particularly in relation to the use of Social Media platforms.
  2. Staff and the Online Safety Policy
    • All staff will be given the organisation's Online Safety Policy (or its equivalent) and its importance explained, including the requirement to maintain appropriate professional standards both inside and outside of the work environment (e.g. Social Networking Sites);
    • All staff must read and understand Part 1 of the DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’
    • Staff should be made aware that internet traffic may be monitored and traced to the individual device or login. Discretion and professional conduct is essential;
    • The organisation may use monitoring systems and/or software where this is available to ensure that inappropriate materials are not being stored or used on the organisation's equipment.
  3. Enlisting Parents' Support

End