At school, we always acknowledge and celebrate the various key days and events that are relevant to our setting and pupils, and this week has seen two very notable and interlinked ones: Internet Safety Day and Children's Mental Health Week.
The dangers and issues for children using the internet are well documented, and the school provides regular information to parents about the need for vigilance and tight controls over what your children are accessing and how often.
Alongside that, the children are very well educated in all matters relating to safe internet use to help them to remain safe online and recognise potential risks. The main risks for children online include cyberbullying, identity theft, being exposed to inappropriate images or messages, and even being groomed.
Any experience of the above can have a significant impact on a child's mental health which can be difficult to remedy and the risks are very real. Young children are extremely vulnerable if exposed to harmful content - from cyber predators to social media posts that can come back to haunt them later in life, online hazards can have severe, costly, even tragic consequences. Allowing children unrestricted and unsupervised internet access is like inviting a stranger into their bedroom, something no responsible, loving parent would permit.
While the internet is the gateway to vast amounts of valuable information and positive experiences, it also has a very dark side and it is imperative that we work together to protect our children in all regards.