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Online Safety for the Summer

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Online safety tips for the summer - Safeguarding Guidance

As we prepare for the summer holidays where children have more freedoms and independence, it’s important to ensure that key safeguarding messages are promoted and shared to support students to make appropriate decisions and to help them increase their resilience to online harms.

Children with SEND, students experiencing neglect, looked after children and LGBT students may be particularly vulnerable to online risk.


What are the risks online?

The 4Cs of online safety are Content, Contact, Conduct and Commerce. Generally speaking, no matter the app or game a child is using, the same risks pervade across the majority. The primary areas of risk within these 4Cs are as follows:

 Online Grooming

The Internet Watch Foundation continues to report that children aged 11-13 are most at risk from online grooming, with a 129% increase in children aged 7-10 being victimised in recent years.

Primary and secondary schools should consider reminding students how to identify risks online and provide guidance to parents to speak about these risks with their children and monitor their online habits.

Internet Matters have produced a helpful guide for parents Parents guide to grooming



There has been a worrying rise in sextortion cases over the last few years, with a 40% increase in concerns year-on-year reported from some counties.

The most important advice to provide to students and families is don’t pay, don’t engage and contact the police. You should consider utilising the guidance provided by the NCA and send letters home to parents to provide information, guidance and support for managing any incidents over the holidays.



Students will have more access to devices over the holidays and are likely to spend additional time online. More time online means the algorithms powering social media platforms have more opportunities to learn children’s habits and interests and potentially promote untrue or dangerous content.

Parents should be encouraged to look out for signs of radicalisation such as:

  • accessing extremist content online or downloading propagandist material
  • justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues
  • altering their style of dress or appearance to accord with an extremist group
  • being unwilling to engage with people who they see as different
  • using certain symbols associated with terrorist organisations

Consider promoting ACT early as a means of support.


Online gambling

We don’t often think about students actively gambling online but online gaming provides opportunities for students to bet on loot boxes and partake in skin gambling, betting again and again in the hope of winning better weapons and outfits to utilise during gameplay.

The NSPCC has a helpful guide for parents on how to restrict in-app and game purchases and advice for how to speak with their children about the risks.


Sending nudes

During the holidays, students are more likely to spend time with their peers and are likely to navigate new or growing friendships and relationships. Students should be reminded about healthy relationships and the risks of sending nudes in addition to the support they can access should things ‘go wrong’.

For leaked nudes, students should use Report Remove, a tool from Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation, to remove images that have been shared or might be shared or the Take It Down, a tool from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, to remove or stop the online sharing of images or videos.

The South West Grid for Learning (SWGFL) has also created a guide for students, ‘So you got naked online’. Consider sharing a copy of this with your students to support them through challenging situations.

Parents should be advised to contact the police if they have concerns about a child’s nude sharing.


Involving parents

During the holidays, students may not have access to trusted adults from school to share online safety concerns. Student may be embarrassed or scared to tell their parents and majority of students will either keep concerns to themselves or tell a friend.

CEOP’s Asking The Awkward campaign helps parents to prepare for conversations with their child about online relationships and related topics. It also offers advice on how to keep conversations positive and what to do if their child tells them something concerning.

Internet Matters has also produced several age rated guides for parents to support their children with online safety.