What Is E-Safety?

The geeky details of tech are only a part of E-Safety. We should all be more concerned about the human holding the device—especially if they're young, old, or vulnerable for some other reason. We want the people we care about (or care for) to benefit from technology, but we also want to spare them the bad effects.

"The child is the father of the man": online experiences can have an effect on how a child develops.

Growing Up

Sleep

The best way for parents to set rules on children's online activities is still a matter of discussion, but if they're online when they should be asleep it's going to affect their schooling.

Friends and Relationships

Family

If a child has their best moments online, any activities that cut into that online time are likely to be resented. Real-life activities may not bring them closer to their family, as they should.

Game-playing or social media may cut deeply into the time they spend with other children (chatting online isn't quite the same). This could limit the number of friends they have and the depth of their friendships.

Bullying others or being bullied

Before the Internet, school bullying used to happen mainly in school hours. Holidays were a rest from it. Now bullying can carry on 24 hours a day, and all year round.

Bullying is easier online

it's easier to be rude to someone online conversation than when you're in the same room. You have a poor understanding of what's said (see "communication" below), so misunderstandings can get out of hand. What is said can easily be stored and shared around. Real bullies can exploit this, but others be tempted into bullying, or just lose control of a situation that started with a misunderstanding.

Pornography/Violence/Bad Attitudes towards Women

Many are willing to spend considerable time and money viewing pornography, so it's no surprise there's a lot of it on the Internet. Violent material is in a similar category, and sadly some develop an appetite for viewing sexual violence.

There is so much of this kind of material that children are almost bound to come across it, and if curiosity leads them to seek it out, it's not going to promote healthy relationships.

Over-Sharing

There is no delete button on the Internet, so you don't know how long personal information is going to stay up. Can you predict all the ways that someone could misuse that information? Of course not; so be cautious about sharing your child's information, and encourage them to do the same.

Gambling

Software companies have a commercial interest in making their apps as attractive as possible to users, and may not care about the effect their products have. Some apps excite emotions very similar to gambling. This may make it easier for children to fall into gambling addiction later on.

Safeguarding

Grooming

Whether the grooming is for criminal or sexual purposes, it may escape the notice of parents and carers if they're not observant. The child may not understand what's going on, or they may have been coerced into keeping it secret.

Scams

Scamming is like an arms race: as everyone gets used to the old attacks they come up with new ones. Scammers can now hit the whole world all at once to maintain the element of surprise. Online and phone scams can be more effective than old-fashioned trickery because you get less information, so suspicious details are harder to spot.

Well-Being

The issues below can affect people of any age:

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Looking at heavily-edited versions of other lives can lead to FOMO. Children may be able to reason that they're not seeing the whole story, but on the emotional level it's easy to end up feeling that you have the worst life of everyone you know.

Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, Radicalisation

It's getting harder to know what's really going on. Technology is making it easier to create pictures that look like geniune photos, or put words in the mouth of people to create false information.

Fake Information

Celebrities, eccentrics and politicians speak on subjects they don't understand. In today's culture, people may believe what they hear, and lose money or harm their own health.

Safer Use of Devices

This covers the technical understanding that you need to avoid problems. Lots of unnecessary apps on your phone, allowing them permissions they shouldn't be asking for, is a recipe for problems. "Good habits" help you keep out of trouble.

Communication

A online conversation is not as good as being in the same room:

In a voice conversation, you have even less information and if you're communicating by text you've lost everything except "cold print". You can say things that sound fine when you're with someone but look absolutely terrible if you read them without hearing the tone of voice, you could mistake what the other person is trying to say.