Mr Burton’s top 5 tips for mobile phone and online safety

Head teacher Matthew Burton gives students advice on how to stay safe online.

You can watch his tips below, with written suggestions for how you can help as a parent or carer.

1. Be open and communicate about their mobile phone use

Smartphones are amazing machines. They help us stay in touch with each other all of the time, but this can have its downsides. Cyber-bullying through social media can be a big problem for people of all ages.

Be aware of what apps and websites your children are using, and spend some time understanding any that you aren’t already aware of.

2. Keep phones out of bed

It’s always important to get a good night’s sleep, and children need more sleep than adults. A decent rest is needed to help maintain our mood, memory and other key brain functions. Using a mobile phone when trying to drift off can delay or interrupt sleep, having a negative impact on mood and memory. This may make the school day a lot more difficult.

If they’re feeling restless, encourage them to read a book instead of going on their phone. Keeping their phone out of reach may also help reduce the temptation to use it.

3. Explore the real world

Our phones can make it seem like we’ve got the world at our fingertips, but it’s important to remember that there’s still a real world out there to be explored.

Going on trips, experiencing new places and meeting new people is plenty of fun in itself. This can also give children life skills which could be invaluable when they eventually leave school.

4. Encourage children to speak up if they’re feeling down

While the internet can cheer us up and make us laugh, it can also make us upset, anxious and worried. If you ever think your child is feeling these emotions because of their mobile phone or online activity, encourage them to talk about it.

Let them know that there’s nothing wrong with feeling those emotions, the important thing is to not keep them to themselves.

5. Play by the school’s rules

Does your child’s school confiscate mobile phones for improper use? Maybe their school doesn’t permit them. Some of these measures might seem harsh, but they are there for a reason.

Just as phones can interrupt our sleep, they can also distract from learning. While it may be frustrating for your child, these rules are there to ensure they make the most of the learning opportunities available to them.

Preparing your child practically
Net Aware - NSPCC
Starting Secondary School homepage