E-Safety at Michael Hall

Click here to download Alan Mackenzie's e-safety magazine.

Click here to sign-up for National Online Safety resources

Thank you to all the parents who attended our Introduction to National Online Safety.
We hope you found it useful and would like to remind you that all the resources that were demonstrated are available to you both Online and as hard copies from Reception.

We would like to encourage all parents to make use of these resources so we can work together to take an active role in teaching children about the online dangers and how to act safely on the internet.
National Online Safety also deliver an interactive online workshop for all of our parents & carers which can be taken at your own convenience

Please find above a link to register your account. You will need to complete your details and select “I am a: Parent/Carer” from the dropdown:

Update 03/10/2018)

Dear Parents and Carers,

"Children at risk' on Kik app, senior police officer warns as child abuse reports from messaging service quadruple."

There is growing concern over the use of the Kik app, which allows users to message each-other without registering. Please see the report at this link.

Update 25/09/2018)

Dear Parents and Carers,

Online gaming is hugely popular with children and young people.

From sport related games, to mission based games and quests inspiring users to complete challenges, online games cater for a wide range of interests, and can enable users to link up and play together. Online games and apps can provide a fun and social form of entertainment, often encouraging teamwork and cooperation when played with others. There are many ways for users to play games online. This includes free games found on the internet, games or apps on mobile phones and handheld consoles, as well as downloadable and boxed games on PCs and consoles such as the PlayStation, Nintendo Switch or Xbox.

Online safety advice is directly applicable to the gaming environment because of the risks that are present. It is essential that children are aware of these issues and are given the skills and knowledge to help manage and reduce these risks, with the help of those around them.

For older children, other safety considerations may need to be addressed in more detail, including content, contact, conduct and commercial risks.These discussions may cover age ratings and inappropriate material available online, unwanted contact from others online who may wish to bully or abuse them, risks caused by a child's own behaviour or the behaviour of others, and advertising or financial risks.

Please see the guide below:


Update 20/02/2018)

Dear Parents and Carers,

Safer Internet Day 2018 was celebrated globally on Tuesday 6th February 2018 with the slogan “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you” and it provided a fantastic opportunity to engage with children about their digital lives.

To help you stay involved, they have a pack for parents and carers, including conversation starters, a factsheet, family pledge card and more! Please click on this link to visit the Safer Internet Day site.

Looking at other aspects of esafety and the use of devices, please click on this link to download a report by Dr Aric Sigman on the growing evidence of excess screen use and its potentially serious negative effects on young people’s mental health.

For more specific information, the page below has some very useful guides on the major social media applications:


Update (14/12/2017)

Dear Parents/Carers,

You may have seen or heard on the news an item about the dangers of Live Streaming (definition) for young people. Indeed, police have warned that Live Streaming is an ‘urgent threat’ to the exploitation of children (click here for details).

We know it can be difficult to keep up to date with the ever-changing nature of the ‘digital world’  in which our children are growing up, and the inherent dangers that are present. For this reason, can we ask you to read the booklet by clicking this link as it gives excellent, practical advice to help safeguard our children when they are online. Please also note the minimum age limit guidelines for the various apps or websites.

There is also a good resource #Liveskills on the "Thinkuknow" website. #Liveskills is a package of resources focusing on live streaming. Live streaming is increasingly becoming one of the most popular online activities for children and young people. Apps such as Musical.ly, Live.me, Periscope and YouNow are all soaring in popularity, which has seen other well-established apps such as Facebook adding live streaming functions.

#LiveSkills explores the nuanced features of live streaming and the specific risks children and young people can face.


Update (26/06/2017)

Last week SnapChat, used regularly by many children and young people, launched a new feature. SnapMaps allows users to see the location of their contacts. This feature allows others to accurately pinpoint where you are. There are three possible privacy settings:

    • Ghost mode, where only you can see your position.
    • My Friends mode, where any contact can see your location.
    • Select Friends mode, just those who you choose can see you.

ChildNet have posted a thorough explanation of SnapMaps and how to ensure users stay safe. Well worth a read to share with anyone you know who uses the app.

Although I know many safeguarding staff don't use these apps on a regular basis, if we are to protect children, we need to have at least a working knowledge of the risks and uses of such apps.

Further reading: Introducing SnapMaps (ChildNet)

Click here to see a news report (USA) on SnapMaps

Update (18/01/2017)

This term at Michael Hall we are renewing our in-school e-safety work with plans for another visit by the excellent Chris Whitelaw (the chap with the dog!) and a renewal of our student-led e-safety group. More details on both to follow.

Research tells us that having a supportive parent or carer can make all the difference in helping a young person learn to stay safe, but talking to your child about sex, relationships and the Internet can be daunting. Some things, like young love, never change. Don't forget that Thinkuknow have produced a video giving the story of Romeo and Juliet a modern twist (see the last update below), showing how the lives of these young lovers might play out online today.

Click here to visit the Thinkuknow Romeo & Juliet page!

Update (04/07/2016)

New Thinkuknow parents and carers campaign launches today! Today we are launching a brand new public awareness campaign. Through social media, articles, blogs, films and more, we want to get parents and carers thinking and talking about the importance of discussing sex, relationships and the internet with their children.   Today is Day 1 of this three month campaign, and we are excited to introduce our first new resource entitled “The world changes. Children don’t”.   This short film that tells the age-old story of Romeo and Juliet… with a modern twist. It shows how the lives of these young lovers might play out online today, including the Lark ‘tweeting’ and Romeo ‘friending’ Juliet.

Behind this contemporary remake is the message that, although technology and social media can seem overwhelming and forever evolving, children and young people don’t change. We try to remind parents that (just as when they were young), their children are still exploring and creating their identities, keeping up with their friends and dealing with adolescent pressures. Although much of this now happens online, we remind them that the kind of parental support and advice which keeps their children safe 'in real life' will keep them safer online too. And our Thinkuknow resources can be a useful place to start in thinking about how they might frame these discussions.

Your support for this campaign will make a real difference. There are three simple things you can do to help us reach as many parents and carers as possible:

1. Share the film: ‘The world changes. Children don’t’

2. Support the campaign on social media

If you have not done so already, you can ‘like’ CEOP on Facebook at ‘ClickCEOP’ and follow us on Twitter ‘@CEOPUK’ for live updates and shareable content.

3. Promote the Thinkuknow website

The parents section of the Thinkuknow website provides information to support parents and carers to understand and respond to the risks their children may face as they grow. It covers a broad range of online safety issues from nude selfies to what to do if you think your child is being groomed online. Find it at: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents.

Research tells us that having a supportive parent or carer can make all the difference in helping a young person learn to stay safe. We hope this campaign will raise awareness of the breadth of advice and support Thinkuknow offers, and its accessibility to anyone whether they would like more information about keeping their child safe, or is worried about a young person in their care.

Thank you, as always, for all of your support for Thinkuknow.

Update: Could you chat to your children about the risks of sharing revealing selfies?

With the rise of the selfie has come growing concern about young people taking and sharing revealing photos or videos – you’ve probably seen this referred to in the media as ‘sexting’. This is risky behaviour for anyone, but especially for young people.

Update: As a parent, there’s plenty you can do.

Take the time to watch the new Thinkuknow short film: Nude Selfies: What Parents and Carers Need to Know (below). They’re packed with information and advice on helping your child avoid taking risks online, how to know what’s safe and what’s not, and where to get help if anything goes wrong.

Remember, if you have any concerns about a child being sexually abused or exploited you can report them using the ClickCEOP button on the CEOP webpage (click here).

For more specific information for parents and carers please see this page from Childnet and this page from the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Please click here for a clear and concise guide on ‘Supporting young people online’ from Childnet.

What is E-safety?

E-Safety (Electronic Safety) simply means protecting all users of the Internet, both young and old, and providing guidance to allow them to protect themselves when using technology such as the World Wide Web and mobile phones.

Very often when people talk about E-Safety they are referring to the various dangers that can be encountered online, especially on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

What are the main risks at this time?

The fundamental risks can be broken down into three primary areas:

  1. Inappropriate contact from people on the Internet.
  2. Inappropriate content found or displayed on the Internet.
  3. Excessive commercialism by organizations targeting unwary users.

Perhaps the biggest danger children are facing at the moment has been brought about by users not protecting themselves adequately on social networking sites. A recent (2014) survey found that 60% of Key Stage 3 (equivalent to classes six to eight at Michael Hall) pupils were not protecting their personal information (photos, contact details, etc.) on Facebook. This means that anyone who searches for the pupils’ Facebook profile can view this information.

What are some basic precautions that I can take right now to help protect myself and others online?

  • Check that your family are using the security settings on social networking websites in order to set each section of their profile page to ‘private’ so it can only be viewed by their friends. See the list of sites further down this page.
  • Ensure that they are only friends with people who they know in real life.
  • Make sure that secure personal details such as mobile phone numbers and contact email addresses are not displayed.
  • Consider using a cloud based filtering service such as OpenDNS (see the section on OpenDNS below).


Without getting too technical, DNS (the Domain Name System) is what's used to turn text addresses that humans understand (like www.bbc.co.uk) into the system of numbers (IP Addresses) that the Internet works on (like This has a convenient by-product in that if we know what the "bad" websites are from the IP Addresses in the global and public DNS register, we can filter and block them before they reach the end user's computer.

An American company, OpenDNS has taken this idea and made a business of supplying web filtering to corporations and large organisations. They provide the same service free of charge to personal users. Click here for the OpenDNS page on Parental Controls. To use the service you'll need to create an account (free) with OpenDNS which you can do by clicking here and a moment's work with a search engine will give you any number of tutorials and explanations of the system. Click here for a good one to start with and here for the official page on setting up devices.

What about our mobile telephones?

Modern telephones are really just handheld computers and every precaution that we take with a desktop or laptop computer applies just as much to a telephone or indeed any other connected device (Smart TV, Games console, etc.). OFCOM provide an excellent page with up to date links to the various mobile network providers. You can find it by clicking here.

A note on relying on filtering software

There are a number of software applications available via a quick Google search (click here) but no amount of technology can ever replace observation, consideration and education on the part of both children and parents. We must be aware and knowledgeable about the Internet, its good and bad points, its strengths and weaknesses, and its up to us as guardians of these children to make the effort to understand. If we don't understand a technology or application we must all make time to learn. Open accounts in the popular social networking platforms (see the list below) and play with them, look at and understand the security settings, read what other people are saying and, most importantly, talk to other parents and talk to your children.

A list of (currently (not exhaustive)) popular social networking platforms and their security/privacy pages:

Talking about the issues

As you'll know, if you tell your child never to do something most children will ask themselves "why not?", then just try to find out for themselves. Discussing the potential dangers with your children therefore needs care and sensitivity and involves helping them to see for themselves how they might get into difficulty. Most children will respond more positively if you encourage them to be switched on or cool on the Internet rather than giving them a list of "do's and don'ts" Childnet provide a lot of useful and accessible information, including how to discuss these issues. You can find a useful starter page by clicking here.

What policies does Michael Hall have in place to safeguard our children when using networked devices at school?

The school's current E-Safety and Data Protection policies can be found with all other published policies on the school website. Click here to view the policies and procedures page.

I'd like more in-depth information. Where should I start?

The question of e-safety and its application is a moving target and as such it's a better idea to understand the overarching concepts rather than trying to get to grips with every eventuality or collection of technologies. When one is aware of the benefits or possible pitfalls surrounding any connected device or online situation it makes it much easier to define and understand new situations as they arise.

A useful starting place for this is the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) webpage and its accompanying media portal, Thinkuknow.

Another excellent resource is Alan Mackenzie's advice service page which can be found at www.esafety-adviser.com.

Alan Mackenzie releases a periodical magazine outlining and expanding on current and interesting issues. The latest issue can be found by clicking here.

I have a concern or an issue that I'd like to discuss with the school regarding e-safety. Who should I contact?

Please email esafety@michaelhall.co.uk or any of member of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Team to discuss issues of online welfare. The child protection officers are Davina Skinner ( Designated Safeguarding Lead Whole School), Simon Grimshaw (Upper School), Virginia Westlake ( Lower School) and Mark Fielding (Early Years).  If you would like to discuss any issues in confidence please let Reception know and we will contact you direct.