eSafety is beginning to affect all of our lives. With children being given ever greater access to the internet and online resources, it is a big priority for us at Darlinghurst.

DB Primary offers advice for parents here and for children here.

The children use a heavily filtered version of the internet in school but are not as safe when using the internet at home. The Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP) offers advice for parents and children on staying safe online. There are also free programs available to help parents protect their children on the internet. One of these is the free Family Safety from Norton. If you are still unsure, your child's class teacher will be happy to talk to you.

5 things parents should know about screen time

1. Remember that not all screen time is the same

Not all online activities are equal: doing something creative or learning new skills are very different from playing online games. Perhaps using DB Primary is allowing them to socialise with their peers in a positive way - or they're just doing something that they really enjoy. If there are real benefits, then the amount of time they spend doing it is less important.

2. How long should children spend online per day?

Most parents will want to set some kind of limit. The 'Goldilocks theory' put forward by academics from Oxford and Cardiff universities suggests that a certain level of screen time can be beneficial, helping children develop their creativity and communication skills. Younger children, aged 4-7 years old, should probably spend no more than an hour a day online doing something academically constructive e.g. Rockstars Times Tables - this can go up to around an hour and a half as they get older.

3. Boundaries really do work if you stick to them

The important thing is to get your child involved in the process so that they understand why you're setting limits. Be very clear about your reasons. Remember that children might need to spend longer online to complete their homework. Once you've agreed the limits, stick to them! It can be tempting to give up in the face of pester power, but it will get easier every time you stick to your guns.

4. Look out for signs that screen time is having a negative effect

Keep an eye on how your child's screen time may be affecting other areas of their life. If they're spending time with friends and getting enough sleep and exercise, then they may already have a healthy balance. Talk to your child about what they're doing online and get them to think about how it makes them feel when they spend time doing these things.

5. Use it as an opportunity to have quality family time

Although it is good to set aside time when the family is not using screens - outdoor activities, chats at meal times, day trips at the weekend - this doesn't mean that you can't also get involved in using screens together. If you know that your child enjoys playing games online, organise a family gaming night or give them ownership to plan something for the whole family. If you take a real interest in what they like to do online, they're more likely to come to you if something goes wrong, or they make a mistake along the way.


Get up to speed on the apps, games and sites that children use online

Other useful links for parents

Pan European Game Information

Like films, many computer games have age restrictions known as PEGI ratings. Read what is permissible at each age below:

  • pegi3

    PEGI 3
    The content of games given this rating is considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical context (typically Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoon-like forms of violence) is acceptable. The child should not be able to associate the character on the screen with real life characters, they should be totally fantasy. The game should not contain any sounds or pictures that are likely to scare or frighten young children. No bad language should be heard.

  • pegi7

    PEGI 7
    Any game that would normally be rated at 3 but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category.

  • pegi12

    PEGI 12
    Videogames that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as videogames that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

  • pegi16

    PEGI 16
    This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language, the concept of the use of tobacco and drugs and the depiction of criminal activities can be content of games that are rated 16.

  • pegi18

    PEGI 18
    The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is the most difficult to define since it can be very subjective in many cases, but in general terms it can be classed as the depictions of violence that would make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.

Find out more at the PEGI website.

The net-aware website is to a superb guide to the 48 most commonly used social websites. Simply typing in in the website name e.g. Club Penguin, Minecraft etc. will enable you to see how to access privacy settings, safety advice, reporting and signing up.

Links For children

Communicating and social networking at Darlinghurst - DB Primary

We teach the children a host of age-appropriate eSafety skills and knowledge. They have their own account for our secure learning environment - DB Primary - so they can safely write emails, maintain a blog (electronic diary) and contribute to forums both in school and at home. DB Primary is password protected and through it, your child can only communicate with other DB Primary accounts in our school - it is not possible to communicate with external email or social media sites like Hotmail, Youtube, Club Penguin etc.

Within DB Primary there is a whistle button in the corner of every screen where it is possible for your child to communicate with anyone else, which automatically reports the communication on screen to school staff. These are investigated on a case by case basis. Mindful that other commercial social networking sites and online games do not have such features, we teach the children not to delete upsetting communications, online or by text, but instead show you or an adult at school.

Occasionally, children might write or send things they won't be proud of, though thankfully since establishing DB Primary, these events have been rare at Darlinghurst. A child's DB Primary account is an important tool but it is also a priviledge and misuse will lead to temporary or even permanent bans. However, when mistakes are made, we invest time so the children and their peers learn: victims are supported and reasurred and everyone in the class, the perpetrator especially, learn that everything written or sent online, even anonymously and even if quickly deleted, is recorded and can have serious consequences.