What's the Risk?

The breadth of issues classified within e-safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:

  • content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material
  • contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users
  • conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm
Content Contact Conduct
  • Illegal
  • Inappropriate
  • Unsuitable
  • Obsession
  • Addiction
  • Expense
  • Bullying
  • Grooming
  • Abuse
  • Identity theft
  • Privacy issues
  • Digital footprint
  • Health and well-being
  • Sexting
  • Copyright

Watching and following the trends in children’s use of technology and the kind of environment they are immersed in is key to giving them the right advice and guidance in a timely and age-appropriate way.

The following are known risks for children and young people:

BLOGGING Blogs or ‘web logs’ are journals that are created and viewed on the web.
The activity of updating a blog is called ‘blogging’. Children need to know that

embarrassing or compromising words or photos of themselves or their family or friends, once online, could stay there forever and be used against them in the future. They need to learn how to present themselves in the online world.

Copyright is the right to prevent others copying or reproducing someone's work.
Young people must understand that not respecting copyright  can have serious moral, legal and financial consequences – For more information go to the Copyright Licencing Agency http://www.cla.co.uk/

New technologies provide anonymous ways by which bullies can torment their victims at any time of day or night; this is known as cyberbullying. While the victims may not be in physical danger, they may receive email, chat or text messages or be the target of unfavourable websites or social networking profiles that make them feel embarrassed, upset, depressed or afraid.

E-Commerce presents a risk that young people may give out financial details, for example the credit card details of a parent, while online. In App purchases are an additional risk and can result in unexpected consequences and charges.

Gaming Online has become hugely popular with children and young people.
For young people, safety considerations may need to be addressed to deal with  age ratings and inappropriate material available online, unwanted contact from others online who may wish to bully or abuse, risks caused by a child's own behaviour or the behaviour of others, and advertising or financial risks.

Chat rooms, gaming and social networking sites are used to make contact with young people. The intention of some people who use these sites is to establish and develop relationships with young people with the sole purpose of persuading them into sexual activity.

Inappropriate Content
There is a risk for  young people using the internet for them to be exposed to inappropriate content. This may be material that is pornographic, hateful or violent.

A more recent worry is activities that encourage dangerous/ illegal, or is just age-inappropriate or biased.

One of the key benefits of the web is that it is open to all, but unfortunately, this also means that those with extreme political, racist or sexist views also have a free voice on the internet.

Personal Privacy
Many sites and online services request personal information and data about a user. Protecting privacy online is an important issue, because personal information is sometimes misused. Pupils need to be taught how to protect their privacy when using the internet.

Sexting is when someone sends or receives a sexually explicit text, image or video on their mobile phone, usually in a text message. If someone has sent a picture of you on to their friends, remember this is not your fault.

Spam is unwanted emails or text messages containing offers that sound too good to be missed. These can often contain links to content that is inappropriate for children.  Phishing and similar scams may trick young people (and their parents) into revealing personal or financial information which could be used for identity theft.