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4.6 E-Safety: Safeguarding Children and Young People using Digital and Interactive Technology


ACPO Briefing on Young People who post self-taken indecent images (added in December 2012).

Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media


This chapter was updated in November 2016 to add a link to Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media (see Relevant Guidance).


1. Policy Statement
  1.1 Introduction
  1.2 Purpose
  1.3 Aims
  1.4 Definition
  1.5 Categories of Risk
  1.6 Minimising Risk to Children and Young People
  1.7 Making Referrals for a Child about whom you are Concerned
2. E-Safety Policy
  2.1 Introduction
  2.2 Benefits of the Internet for Children and Young People
  2.3 Managing Internet Use in Organisational Settings
  2.4 Publishing Images and Work on the Internet
  2.5 Managing Other Technologies
  2.6 Assessing Risk
  2.7 Handling e-Safety Complaints
  2.8 Communicating the Contents of this Policy
  Appendix 1: E-Safety Quick Self-audit for Managers
  Appendix 2: Guidance for Children at KS1 and KS2
  Appendix 3: E-Safety Rules for Young People
  Appendix 4: Parental Consent Form Example
  Appendix 5: Information Systems Standards of Proficiency
  Appendix 6: Social Networking Policy Example
  Appendix 7: Assessing Risk and Identifying Problems for Children and Young People
  Appendix 8: Indicators of Risk of Sexual Exploitation via Digital and Interactive Technology
  Appendix 9: Offences related to Digital and Interactive Technology
  Appendix 10: How to Work Safely with Information and Communication Technology
  Appendix 11: Guidance for Professionals to Minimise the  Risk of Misconduct Allegations related to Digital and Interactive Technology

1. Policy Statement

1.1 Introduction

The development and now widespread use of the Internet, mobile phone and gaming technology has significantly enhanced our ability to communicate, entertain and learn. There are enormous benefits to using such digital and interactive technology, and as a result its use is widespread in schools, other educational settings including youth clubs, libraries, cafes, and hotels, as well as in the home. The Government's Home Access programme, which intends that every child aged between 5 and 18 will have home Internet access by 2013, highlights their belief in the importance of such a tool for education and development.

However, there are risks to all of us who use digital and interactive technology and we have a responsibility, therefore, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and help them develop the skills to look after themselves. We also have a responsibility to take action against those who harm children and young people via digital technology.

Much work has already been done in schools, with teachers, pupils, and to a lesser extent parents, to raise awareness of the risks associated with using digital technology. The challenge for us now is to roll this out to the wider community, whilst at the same time keeping abreast of new technological developments. This is particularly important when the majority of children and young people often have more experience and confidence in using such technologies than their parents or other responsible adults.

This protocol is about safeguarding children and young people in a digital world. However, due to the vulnerability of some adult professionals to being cyberbullied, Appendix 11: Guidance for Professionals to Minimise the  Risk of Misconduct Allegations related to Digital and Interactive Technology, provides guidance to professionals to better be able to safeguard themselves.

1.2 Purpose

The effects of abuse suffered by children and young people via digital technology are the same as that which occurs via personal contact. Indeed, some physical and Sexual Abuse may occur as a result of initiation via digital technology. However, the impact may be more severe in some cases as the abuse via digital technology can take place in the home, where a child or young person should feel safe. Therefore it is the responsibility of all professionals to ensure they know what to do if they suspect a child or young person is involved, or at risk of involvement, either as a victim or perpetrator, of abuse via digital technology. The purpose of this protocol is, therefore, to provide guidance to all those working with children, young people and their families in Wirral.

1.3 Aims

The aims of this protocol are as follows:

  • To define the different types of digital technology and the risks they present to children and young people;
  • To provide guidance to professionals regarding the safeguards that should be in place to protect children and young people using digital technology, whatever the setting;
  • To provide information about assessing a child or young person's level of risk, and some risk indicators, through their use of digital and interactive technology;
  • To provide guidance to professionals as to what action they should take if they are concerned about a child or young person related to digital and interactive technology, and provide information about what related offences may be committed;
  • To provide guidance to professionals about how to minimise risk for themselves, so that they do not inadvertently leave themselves open to allegations of professional misconduct from children and young people, or their parents / carers.

1.4 Definition

Children's, young peoples' and adults' use and expertise in digital and interactive technology vary considerably. For those professionals who may have less experience of electronic technology, the following definitions may be of help.

Digital and Interactive Technology

The term digital (data carrying signals carrying electronic or optical pulses) and interactive (a message relates to other previous message/s and the relationship between them) technology covers a range of electronic tools. These are constantly being upgraded and their use more widespread. But it currently includes:

  • The Internet which is a global system of inter-connected computers which can access the World Wide Web (often shortened to the Web), which is a system of inter-linked documents accessed via the Internet. Web pages can contain text, images, and videos and other media and can be linked to other websites or pages;
  • Mobile phones are used for voice or data communication. As well for sending and receiving voice and text communication, a mobile phone can be used for emails, accessing the Internet, gaming, Bluetooth (can send data via wireless technology), camera with video and sending and receiving photos and videos. Some new phones now have Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities and social networking sites are including location based software;
  • Online gaming (using networked computers) and video game consoles (using wireless technology) and the Internet. Online games include World of Warcraft, Runescape, Final Fantasy and Lineage. Wireless video game consoles include Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation;
  • Wireless technology (a form of telecommunication using electronic magnetic waves) which enables widespread portable access to the Internet via computers, particularly laptops. It is also used for phones and radios;
  • Broadband access which allows Internet access via computers, either desk tops or laptops. Broadband uses fibre optic cables to transmit data. Broadband penetration is now used as a key economic indicator, i.e. the number of households in a geographic area with broadband access;
  • Webcams are video capturing devices connected to computers or computer networks. They are well-known for their low manufacturing costs and flexible applications.


This is the generic term that refers to raising awareness about how children and young people can protect themselves whilst using digital and interactive technology, and also interventions that can reduce the level of risk for children and young people using such electronic forms of communication.


Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using digital or interactive technology. Research from the University of York shows that there is a difference in the profile of cyberbullies compared to other bullies, as noted below.

  • Due to the nature of digital technology not being based on personal contact, cyberbullying breaks down the imbalance of power;
  • Adults working with children and young people are vulnerable to being bullied;
  • Adults are more likely to be targets of cyberbullies than those under 18;
  • It may be used as a form of revenge;
  • Bystanders become accessories to the bullying, e.g. through laughing at the messages and / or texts, and through distribution;
  • There is less understanding of its consequences, it is often the result of thoughtlessness rather than intentional;
  • Mobile phones are the most common tool for cyberbullies. Chat rooms are the least common;
  • Cyberbullying is greater outside than inside school, but its origins and consequences may be in school;
  • Age and gender are not significant;
  • Cyberbullying via chat rooms, emails, and Instant Messaging Service (IMS) has less impact on victims than other forms.

1.5 Categories of Risk

Safer Children in a Digital World: The Report of the Byron Review (DCSF, 2008) highlighted the following categories of risk to children and young people.


This includes illegal or inappropriate content of Internet websites, games, e-mails, mobile phones or other communication. This may include inappropriately accessing material that is of a sexual or violent nature including child abuse or adult pornography, online gaming; extremist websites which include animal rights activists, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism or right wing extremism; websites promoting gangs and weapons; and health issues such as pro-suicide or eating disorder websites. Offences may be committed in accessing and distributing the material on such sites.


Issues related to conduct include anti-social or illegal behaviour. This includes cyberbullying that can take place via social networking sites, or other sites such as Rate my Teacher, emails, texts, and via online gaming. Cyberbullying may take the form of hate crime as an issue of race, disability and / or sexual orientation or gender identity. As stated earlier, cyberbullying can be particularly pervasive as the child or young person can receive the distressing messages or images in their own home where they should feel safe. It should be noted that those who laugh at the message / image, and / or who circulate it to others are also contributing to the cyberbullying and may be committing an offence (see Appendix 9: Offences related to Digital and Interactive Technology).

Other issues related to conduct include children or young people being coerced, enticed or threatened into performing sexual acts via web cams.

These images can then be used as a form of blackmail. Whilst some young people may think such images are solely for their 'boyfriend' for example, these can be circulated via the Internet or mobile phones to any number of others.

Any image of a child or young people could potentially be abused by posting on inappropriate websites, or by distorting through digital technology to be used in an inappropriate way. This may be of a sexual nature or of a more generic bullying nature.


The risk of Physical Abuse and/or Sexual Abuse, and resulting psychological trauma, suffered as a result of meeting someone through an online initiation is also a risk of digital technology. Adults posing as children or young people, both girls and boys, in order to groom them for the purposes of Sexual Exploitation, are one of the most serious concerns of the digital age. However, it is less common in comparison to cyberbullying for example. Grooming does take place via e-communication and a list of Risk Indicators is available in Appendix 8: Indicators of Risk of Sexual Exploitation via Digital and Interactive Technology.


The fourth category of risk to children and young people is through commercial exploitation. This may take place through online gambling, or financial scams, for example. Online gaming and sites such as Second Life (3-D Virtual world), encourage users to spend money through electronic transactions. Children and young people, particularly those with personal access to money, may be open to being financially exploited. Advertisers use information from IM directory of users to target SPIM (SPAM through Instant Messenger).

Currently, one of the most significant trends is that of convergence, both in terms of technology and behaviour. Types of on-line environments mentioned above, such as social networking, online gaming, instant messaging and photo sharing are merging to form larger social sites. This presents new kinds of risks to children as their information is available in one area and they will be more accessible as these environments increasingly incorporate instant messaging which facilitates one to one contact.

It should be noted that in all of the above categories, offences may be committed when accessing certain websites, and downloading the information contained within them. Further offences may be committed if such material is also distributed to others, whether harm was intended or otherwise.

1.6 Minimising Risk to Children and Young People

One of the most important messages that we should ensure children and young people understand in relation to using digital technology is that they should not give out personal information, particularly their name, address or school, to anyone they do not know or trust. This particularly includes social networking and online gaming sites. If they have been asked for such information, they should always check with their parent or other trusted adult before providing such details. It is also important that they understand why they must take a parent or trusted adult with them if they meet someone face to face who they have only previously met on-line

Educating children and young people to this effect is the responsibility of all those working with them when using computers, whether that be in schools, youth clubs, residential children's homes, home education service etc. Firewalls and filtering software alone will not protect them, we need to give advice and guidance to ensure they have a safe online experience.

Supporting parents to safeguard their children:

We need to ensure that those who care for children are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how to keep them safe and what to do if things go wrong.

Often parents do not use these environments and therefore lack confidence in supervising their children's online activities. It is important that we support parents by raising awareness of the benefits, risks and dangers to help them understand more about what their children are doing online. We need to offer practical advice and guidance on how to keep their family safe online.

Adhering to Acceptable Use Policies in all establishments:

There is a requirement to ensure that children, young people and staff use the internet and related technologies appropriately and safely. The implementation of an acceptable use policy should be built into existing policies and procedures and should provide a structure to safe e-safety practice. Acceptable use policies should clearly identify ways in which these technologies can and cannot be used and the procedures and support strategies for misuse.


Whilst there is no guaranteed method of protecting users when on line, there are some software solutions that can filter or block content. The majority of schools obtain their Internet feed from the Regional Broadband Consortium, e.g. Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning, which provides a level of filtering agreed with Local Authorities and schools. There is the facility for schools to choose their own filtering requirements from within the general provision.

In other settings, where the Internet feed is not filtered, then individual machines can have specific filtering software applied. This needs to be undertaken with the agreement of senior management.

1.7 Making Referrals for a Child about whom you are Concerned

If you are concerned that an offence has been committed, or a child or young person is at risk due to their, or another's, use of digital or interactive technology, the following steps should be taken.

If a professional has concerns about the safety of a child they should speak to their manager or designated safeguarding lead to discuss the case before contacting IFD for advice, information or to make a request for service, using a multi agency request for services (MARS) form (see Concerned about a Child). IFD can be contacted on 0151 666 2008, or the out of hours Emergency Duty Team on 0151 677 6557.

The local authority is under a duty to make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child's welfare, in cases where the local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, Significant Harm (s47(1)(b)).

If a referral is made to Children's Services, a check should be made as to whether any family member is known to the Department. If other workers are involved, they should be informed of the referral.

Where there is difficulty in accessing agency or professional support, discussion should take place with the relevant Locality Team Manager, Team Manager, or IFD.

Requests for services and provision of information should be followed up in writing within 48 hours, by using the MARS form. Where the request has been made to IFD they should respond to the referring agency within 24 hours (see the Contacts and Referrals Procedure).

All contacts are progressed by the IFD Manager who will take one of three options; no further action, identify a social work team that can provide further information, or launch to a social work team who will allocate the case for assessment. For further details on process and timescales, see the Referral Pathway Flowchart.

Children's Specialist Services practitioners should be aware of and follow the statutory guidance in the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families (2000), with respect to referrals and undertaking Social Work Assessment of Needs and Strengths.

Where a referral which has been made to IFD or Children's Services is not accepted, and the practitioner is dissatisfied with the decision, they should follow the Multi-Agency Escalation Procedure and refer to their own Line Manager or Safeguarding Lead.

What to do if you are concerned that children and the family need additional support:

Where professionals believe that there is the need for further support for the child and family, but that the concerns are not about:

  • Immediate risk to a child through abuse or Neglect;
  • Risk of family breakdown; or
  • Serious concerns about the parents' ability to safeguard and promote the child's welfare practitioners should instigate a CAF. The CAF is a standardised assessment tool for use by professionals who need to refer children on to other services. You can do a common assessment at any time you believe that a child will not progress towards the five Every Child Matters priority outcomes without additional services. Practitioners should contact their Area Team regarding instigating the CAF process. Practitioners will be expected to contribute to the CAF and to attend Team Around the Child (TAC) meetings.

The CAF consists of a pre-assessment checklist to help practitioners identify those children who may benefit from a common assessment, and a standard form and procedure for completing the assessment, including desired outcomes and action points. Where a CAF assessment has already been undertaken, you can update the CAF with new information and contribute to the support required for the child.

Any practitioner seeking to identify if a common assessment already exists or is underway should contact the Area Team within their Locality.

Parents and young people must consent to the CAF being carried out and any subsequent referrals being made, unless there are child protection concerns. They should be informed about the purpose of the assessment, how the information will be used and who it will be shared with.

For further information on the CAF, please refer to the Integrated Working Guide.

2. E-Safety Policy

2.1 Introduction

E-Safety encompasses Internet technologies and electronic communications such as mobile phones and wireless technology. It highlights the need to educate children and young people about the benefits and risks of using new technology - including computers, mobile phones and online games - and provides safeguards and awareness for users to enable them to control their online experiences.

All partner organisations of Wirral Safeguarding Children Board should assess the level of risk associated with the use of digital and interactive technology by children and young people in their care. Each agency needs to take appropriate steps to safeguard children, young people and staff, according to the level of risk identified. Because of the diverse nature of the work of our partner agencies, this will vary in each organisation. This Acceptable Use Policy provides overarching guidance to all agencies in Wirral to safeguard children and young people. It can be adapted and used accordingly within each setting. It should also operate in conjunction with other policies including those for Behaviour, Bullying, Curriculum, Data Protection and Security.

E-safety depends on effective practice at a number of levels:

  • Responsible ICT use by all staff, children and young people; encouraged by education and awareness raising and made explicit through published policies;
  • Support and guidance for parents, giving them the knowledge and confidence to be able to supervise their child's use of digital and interactive technology;
  • Sound implementation of e-safety policy in both administration and raising awareness, including secure network design and use;
  • Network standards and specifications.

This policy provides guidance for agencies in relation to these issues. It specifically relates to the use of computers in organisations; it does not cover the use of mobile phones by children and young people. Organisations should have separate guidance in relation to this issue.

Each organisation should appoint an e-safety coordinator to take responsibility for this issue within the setting, and liaise with WSCB as necessary. In many cases this will be the Designated Child Protection Lead / Officer, as the roles overlap.

Criminal Offence of Sexual Communication with a Child

As part of the Serious Crime Act (2015) an offence of sexual communication with a child was introduced. This applies to an adult who communicates with a child and the communication is sexual or if it is intended to elicit from the child a communication which is sexual and the adult reasonably believes the child to be under 16 years of age. The Act also amended the Sex Offences Act 2003 so it is now an offence for an adult to arrange to meet with someone under 16 having communicated with them on just one occasion (previously it was on at least two occasions).

2.2 Benefits of the Internet for Children and Young People

The purpose of Internet use in organisations is to raise educational standards, to promote achievement of children and young people, to support the professional work of staff and to enhance the organisation's management information and administration systems.

Internet use is an essential element in 21st century life for education, business and social interaction. It is also part of the statutory curriculum. In order to better equip children and young people for the future, the Government's Home Access Programme will soon allow broadband access in every family home in the country. Therefore our organisation has a duty to provide children and young people with quality Internet access and equip them with the skills to be safe whilst using digital and interactive technology.

Benefits of using the Internet include:

  • Access to world-wide educational resources including museums and art galleries;
  • Educational and cultural exchanges between children and young people world-wide;
  • Access to experts in many fields for children and young people and staff;
  • Professional development for staff through access to national developments, educational materials and effective professional practice;
  • Collaboration across support services and professional associations;
  • Improved access to technical support including remote management of Networks and automatic system updates;
  • Exchange of professional issues and administration data between local, regional and national organisations;
  • Access to learning and communication wherever and whenever convenient.

The organisation's Internet access will be designed expressly for children and young people's use and includes filtering appropriate to the age of children and young people.

Children and young people will be taught what Internet use is acceptable and what is not and given clear objectives for Internet use.

Internet access will be planned to enrich and extend learning and personal development activities.

Staff will guide children and young people in on-line activities that will support learning outcomes, which are planned according to their age and maturity.

Children and young people will be educated in the effective use of the Internet in research, including the skills of knowledge location, retrieval and evaluation.

2.3 Managing Internet Use in Organisational Settings

This section provides guidance about how to manage the use of the Internet in the organisation. Children and young people should be provided with guidance in computer rooms, such as that in Appendix 2: Guidance for Children at KS1 and KS2 and Appendix 3: E-Safety Rules for Young People.

Authorised Internet Access

The organisation will maintain a current record of all staff and children and young people who are granted Internet access.

All staff must read and sign the 'Information Systems Standards of Proficiency' or similar before using the organisation's ICT resource (see Appendix 5: Information Systems Standards of Proficiency for Staff).

Parents/carers will be informed that children and young people will be provided with supervised Internet access.

Parents / carers will be asked to sign and return a consent form for children and young people's access (see Appendix 4: Parental Consent Form Example).

World Wide Web

If staff or children and young people discover unsuitable sites, the URL (address), time, content must be reported to the designated manager or helpdesk within the organisation. via the e-safety coordinator or network manager.

The organisation will ensure that the use of Internet derived materials by children and young people and staff complies with copyright law.

Children and young people should be taught to be critically aware of the materials they are shown and how to validate information before accepting its accuracy.


Children and young people may only use approved e-mail accounts on the organisation system.

Children and young people must immediately tell a member of staff if they receive offensive e-mail.

Children and young people must not reveal personal details of themselves or others in e-mail communication, or arrange to meet anyone without specific permission.

Class or group e-mail addresses should be used where possible

Access to external personal e-mail accounts may be blocked.

E-mails sent to external organisations should be written carefully and authorised before sending, in the same way as a letter written on organisation headed paper.

The forwarding of chain letters is not permitted.

Children, young people and their families should only contact members of staff of organisations using business email addresses or telephone numbers. This includes staff who they knew before becoming service users of the organisation. Any exceptions to this should be discussed with managers within the organisation. This is to safeguard the children, young people, their families and the member of staff from allegations of misconduct.

Social Networking

Organisations should block/filter access to social networking sites and newsgroups unless a specific use is approved.

Children and young people and staff should be advised never to give out personal details of any kind which may identify them or their location.

Children and young people and staff should be advised not to place personal photos on any social network space.

Children and young people should be advised on security and encouraged to set passwords, deny access to unknown individuals and instructed how to block unwanted communications. They should be encouraged to invite known friends only and deny access to others.

Children, young people and their families should not contact members of staff via social networking sites. Staff should not accept them as friends on social networking sites and should be encouraged to review information posted about them on such sites. For further information please see Appendix 6: Social Networking Policy Example.


The organisation will work in partnership with the Local Authority, and their Internet Service Provider to ensure filtering systems are as effective as possible.

Video Conferencing

If the organisation uses video-conferencing the following issues should be considered:

  • IP video-conferencing should use the relevant broadband network to ensure quality of service and security rather than the Internet;
  • Children and young people should ask permission from the supervising member of staff before making or answering a video-conference call;
  • Children and young people using video-conferencing will be appropriately supervised.

Information System Security

The organisation's ICT systems capacity and security will be reviewed regularly, by the ICT department or agreed contractor.

Virus protection will be installed and updated regularly.

Security strategies should be discussed with the organisation's senior management team.

Protecting Personal Data

Personal data will be recorded, processed, transferred and made available according to the Data Protection Act 1998 which states that personal data must be:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed;
  • Processed for limited purposes;
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • Accurate;
  • Kept no longer than is necessary;
  • Processed in accordance with the data subject's rights;
  • Secure;
  • Only transferred to others with adequate protection.

Staff and organisations must ensure that they (schools may wish to include more detail about their own data/password/encryption/secure transfer processes):

  • At all times take care to ensure the safe keeping of personal data, minimising the risk of its loss or misuse;
  • Use personal data only on secure password protected computers and other devices, ensuring that they are properly "logged-off" at the end of any session in which they are using personal data;
  • Transfer data using encryption and secure password protected devices.

When personal data is stored on any portable computer system, USB stick or any other removable media:

  • The data must be encrypted and password protected;
  • The device must be password protected (many memory sticks/cards and other mobile devices cannot be password protected);
  • The device must offer approved virus and malware checking software;
  • The data must be securely deleted from the device, in line with school policy (below) once it has been transferred or its use is complete.

2.4 Publishing Images and Work on the Internet

Photographs that include children and young people will be selected carefully and will not enable individuals to be clearly identified.

Children and young people's full names will not be used anywhere on the organisation's Web site or Blog, particularly in association with photographs.

Written permission from parents or carers will be obtained before photographs of their children are published on the organisation's Web site.

Work can only be published with the permission of the children, young people and their parents or carers (see Appendix 4: Parental Consent Form Example).

Published Content and the Organisation Web Site

The contact details on the organisation's web site should be the address, e-mail and telephone number. Personal information about staff, including volunteers, children, young people or their families should not be published.

Management should have overall editorial responsibility and ensure that content is accurate and appropriate.

2.5 Managing Other Technologies

Emerging technologies will be examined for educational and developmental benefit and a risk assessment will be carried out before use in the organisation is allowed.

Children and young people should not use mobile phones during time spent with staff from the organisation, without prior agreement from a relevant member of staff, e.g. teacher or key worker.

If children or young people send abusive or inappropriate text messages, this will be dealt with by a relevant member of staff, e.g. a teacher or key worker and may result in action being taken.

Staff will be issued with an organisation phone where contact with children and young people is required. They should not use their personal mobile phone to contact children, young people or their families.

Every organisation should provide their staff with access to an organisational camera and memory card for specific activities. Staff should not use their own personal equipment to take photographs of pupils or their work.

The camera and memory card should be kept in a central and secure location and the member of staff responsible for it should monitor its use and content.

2.6 Assessing Risk

The organisation will take all reasonable precautions to prevent access to inappropriate material. However, due to the international access available via the Internet, it is not possible to guarantee that unsuitable material will never appear on an organisation's computer. Neither the organisation nor Wirral Safeguarding Children Board can accept liability for the material accessed, or any consequences of Internet access.

Any child, young person or member of staff who inadvertently accesses inappropriate sites or materials should immediately report the incident to the designated e-safety lead officer and ICT department in the organisation.

The organisation should audit ICT use to establish if the e-safety policy is adequate and that the implementation of the e-safety policy is appropriate.

Computers within the organisation should not be available to anyone outside of normal working hours, e.g. if a school or youth club is used in the evenings or at weekends. The computer room should be locked in such circumstances. It should also not be available to those who do not normally require to use such equipment e.g. caretakers, maintenance personal etc.

2.7 Handling e-Safety Complaints

Complaints of Internet misuse will be dealt with by the line manager as per the organisation's standards of proficiency.

Any complaint about staff misuse must be referred to a manager. This may either be the complainant's line manager, or the manager of the member of staff about who the complaint is being made. This may invoke the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board Allegations against Staff, Volunteers or Carers Protocol (see Managing Allegations Against Staff, Volunteers, Foster and Potential Adoptive Carers who Work with Children Procedure)

Complaints of a child protection nature must be dealt with in accordance with the Contacts and Referrals Procedures.

Children and young people and parents/carers will be informed of the complaints procedure.

2.8 Communicating the Contents of this Policy

Children and young people

Rules for Internet access will be posted in all networked rooms.

Children and young people will be informed that Internet use will be monitored.


All staff will be given a copy of this policy, its importance explained and asked to sign the standards of proficiency.

Staff should be made aware that Internet traffic can be monitored and traced to the individual user. Discretion and professional conduct is essential.

Parents / carers

Parents'/carers' attention will be drawn to this e-Safety Policy in newsletters, the organisation brochure and on the organisation's web site.

Appendix 1: E-Safety Quick Self-audit for Managers

Click here to view Appendix 1: E-Safety Quick Self-audit for Managers.

Appendix 2: Guidance for Children at KS1 and KS2

Click here to view Appendix 2: Guidance for Children at KS1 and KS2.

Appendix 3: E-Safety Rules for Young People

Click here to view Appendix 3: E-Safety Rules for Young People.

Appendix 4: Parental Consent Form Example

Click here to view Appendix 4: Parental Consent Form Example.

Appendix 5: Information Systems Standards of Proficiency for Staff

Click here to view Appendix 5: Information Systems Standards of Proficiency for Staff.

Appendix 6: Social Networking Policy Example

Click here to view Appendix 6: Social Networking Policy Example.

Appendix 7: Assessing Risk and Identifying Problems for Children and Young People

Click here to view Appendix 7: Assessing Risk and Identifying Problems for Children and Young People.

Appendix 8: Indicators of Risk of Sexual Exploitation via Digital and Interactive Technology

At Risk

  • Spending increasing amount of time on social networking sites (e.g. Bebo, MSN, My Space, Facebook);
  • Accessing dating agencies via mobile phone (e.g. 02 flirt line);
  • Unexplained increased mobile phone/gaming credits;
  • New contacts with people out of city;
  • Spending increasing amounts of time with on line friends and less time with friends from school or neighbourhood;
  • Going on line during the night;
  • Being secretive. Using mobile phone for accessing Bebo etc more than computers;
  • Unwilling to share /show on line contacts;
  • Concern that a young person's online friendship has developed into an off line relationship;
  • Concern that inappropriate images of a young person are being circulated via the internet.


  • Arranging to meet people they have met on line;
  • Exchanging inappropriate images in exchange for gaming knowledge/phone and gaming credits;
  • Receiving gifts through the post from someone the young person does not know;
  • Concern that a young person is having an online relationship;
  • Concern that a young person is being coerced to provide images;
  • Sharing of inappropriate images amongst friends.


  • Concerned that a young person is being bribed by someone for their inappropriate on line activity;
  • Concern that a young person is selling images via the internet for money;
  • Concern that a young person is being drawn into providing increasingly provocative/sexualised images in exchange for payment;
  • Negotiating a price for sexual activity/images;
  • Concern that a young person is selling sexual services via the internet.

Appendix 9: Offences related to Digital and Interactive Technology

Click here to view Appendix 9: Offences related to Digital and Interactive Technology.

Appendix 10: How to Work Safely with Information and Communication Technology

(adapted from Becta guidance)

ICT offers a range of benefits for teaching, learning and social networking, but all computers and devices need to be used with care. This material looks at the health and safety issues involved in using computers in general, in classrooms and other venues where children use computers.

Computers and peripherals such as printers are electrical equipment, so there are some general points to consider:

  • Ensure that all electrical installations are carried out by a qualified electrician;
  • All equipment must be of a reliable standard and should be checked annually by qualified electricians;
  • Ensure that no cabling is trailing on the floor;
  • Ensure that seating is suitable for the size of children using it;
  • Ensure that benching is sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the hardware and additional equipment stored on it;
  • Follow health and safety guidance regarding the height, position and distance of monitors and keyboards from children when working;
  • If you are using a data projector, make sure that all leads are safely located, and that children don't walk around the back of working areas which have cables;
  • If you are using an interactive whiteboard, ensure that all children can reach it without standing on anything;
  • If using data projectors or interactive whiteboards, ensure that children never look directly into the beam of the projector. If presenting to a class or other setting and entering the beam, children should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds, and ideally should keep their backs to the beam at all times;
  • Children should be supervised at all times during the operation of data projectors or interactive whiteboards. Ensure that they never look directly into the beam of the projector, and if presenting to a class or other setting entering the beam, children should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds. Ideally they should keep their backs to the beam at all times;
  • If you are working with programmable toys such as floor turtles, create a clearly defined working area; use markers or seating to define the work space to ensure that children do not accidentally fall over equipment.

Working safely in the ICT suite

Children should be aware of rules for using computers. Ideally, they will be involved in devising these rules and may make posters explaining why the rules are necessary:

  • Fire exits must be kept clear at all times; do not allow them to be blocked by equipment or pupils' bags;
  • If children are going to be seated for extended periods, ensure that good-quality seating is provided which supports the back;
  • Seating should be height-adjustable so that monitors and keyboards are correctly positioned and children do not have to look up or down at the monitor for prolonged periods;
  • Check to see if there is too much reflected light on monitor screens, making it difficult for children to see;
  • Ensure that children can see displays adequately;
  • Make sure that children have room to make notes or use textbooks alongside the computer;
  • Ensure that the room temperature does not get too warm because computers are kept switched on for prolonged periods;
  • Ensure that there is enough fresh air circulating; installing a fan simply moves the warm, stale air about without renewing it.

Working safely in classrooms and other settings

There are some issues that are more relevant to working on computers in classrooms and other settings:

  • Locate the computers in areas where children can sit and work without distracting or disrupting others in the class;
  • Ensure that procedures for connecting peripherals (scanners, digital cameras, webcams, control technology equipment and monitoring equipment), adhere to school and local authority health and safety guidelines;
  • Ensure that additional equipment is situated where it will not cause a hazard such as trailing cables;
  • If you are using laptops, ensure that they are located on firm desks or tables;
  • Ensure that all electrical equipment is located away from water supplies, and that children have a sound knowledge of electrical safety;
  • Ensure that children don't take drinks to tables if they are working with electrical equipment such as cameras, videos, laptops, computers or data logging equipment.
If you have a number of portable computers in the classroom or other setting, you may want to set up a procedure to be followed when they are to be moved. For example, you could stipulate that only a small group of children should move at a time, or designate specific children to be responsible for laptops.

Appendix 11: Guidance for Professionals to Minimise the  Risk of Misconduct Allegations related to Digital and Interactive Technology

Guidance for all Professionals working with Children and Young People or their Families, in Wirral

All agencies will have their own professional codes of conduct, which this guidance does not intend to replace. It is guidance that relates specifically to helping professionals put safeguards in place to minimise the risk of any allegations of professional misconduct related to the use of digital or interactive technology.

This guidance relates to all children up to the age of 18, whether or not they, or their families, are current or former service users. It is appreciated that you may have personal friends or the children of friends who are under the age of 18. But at all times you should ensure that you treat all those under the age of 18 with the respect they deserve, whoever the child or young person is.

You should always be mindful not to put yourself in a situation that may comprise you or be misinterpreted either by the child or young person, their friend, parent or carer, or any other person. This includes both personal and professional situations. It should be remembered that careless and inappropriate action in a personal setting, whether intended or not, could have significant implications for your professional life.

There are few professionals who have allegations of professional misconduct related to digital and interactive technology made against them, or who are the victims of cyberbullying from children, young people, their friends or families. However, the impact of either an allegation or cyberbullying can be significant, both personally and professionally. Taking a few steps to be pro-active in minimising any risk to yourself, whilst you may think it unnecessary, is worth taking to avoid future complications.

Remember: as a professional working with children and young people, or their families, you may be vulnerable to have an allegation made against you or being the victim of cyberbullying. Sometimes this is a result of communication or a situation being misconstrued. Other times this may be an act of revenge taken against you for an incident that has resulted through your professional practice. It may also be that someone, through having complex needs of their own, may develop an unhealthy interest in you as a person.

Therefore the following steps are recommended to all professionals, and trainees who are or will be working with children, young people or their families.

Ten Steps to Minimise Professional Risk

  1. As a professional you should fully appreciate that the onus is upon you and not the child or young person to distance yourself from any potentially inappropriate situation;
  2. Review all content about yourself on social networking sites, such as Face Book, My Space etc. Particularly consider removing any personal information or photographs. These could be manipulated and used against you;
  3. Do not give personal information such as email addresses or mobile telephone numbers to anyone who is, or has been, a service user or is a member of their family;
  4. If you wish to keep in contact with any child or young person under the age of 18, or their family, who has been a user of your service, ensure that you only use work emails or telephone numbers to communicate with them;
  5. If there is any incident, related to this guidance, which involves a child, young person or their family, that causes you concern, report it immediately to your line manager. Document it as soon as possible, according to your workplace procedures;
  6. Ensure you adhere rigidly to the Acceptable Use Policy of your workplace. If you breach any part of the AUP, report it immediately as per your workplace procedures;
  7. Do not access any illegal or inappropriate websites on your personal computer or mobile phone. This includes illegal or inappropriate images of children, certain other types of pornography or extremist websites. It is illegal to access or download material that promotes or depicts criminal behaviour;
  8. Be very careful when liaising with others in contact / web cam internet sites (for example chat rooms, message boards, social networking sites and newsgroups). Avoid inappropriate communication with individuals under 18, or with who you may be in a position of trust. Avoid inappropriate communication with those who you do not know. Adults can pose as children using interactive technology; likewise some children can pose as adults;
  9. Use your common sense and professional judgement and expertise at all times to avoid circumstances which are, or could be, perceived to be of an inappropriate nature. This relates particularly to social networking sites and mobile phone technology;
  10. Remember, digital and interactive technology may be the virtual world, but it has an impact on our real world. Do not treat people any differently through electronic communication than you would on a personal basis;
Below are examples from the media of digital and interactive technology issues for professionals.