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The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School

The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School

Online Safety Newsletter - lockdown edition

As we approach our third week of online learning, the initial feedback from students is that they are enjoying the structure that our remote learning package provides them with.

However, one aspect we must be cautious of is the increased time that our children will be spending on line during the lockdown period and the potential risks they face as a result. Figures released by the NSPCC this time last year, estimated that between April 2019 and January 2020, an online abuse offence against a child was committed every 16 minutes in England and Wales. Considering the increased time that children will be spending on laptops, PCs and mobile devices over the next few weeks, we can only wonder how much those figures will rise to this year. The picture locally is also a concern with Ealing and Hillingdon children’s services both experiencing a significant spike in incidents of online Child Sexual Exploitation and abuse over recent weeks. This is an issue which impacts on all school communities and we were recently contacted by external agencies in relation to potential online criminal activity towards a small number of our students which took place over Snapchat during the Christmas Holidays.

The article below, taken from the BBC news website, gives us a stark warning of how sexual abuse of children can take place online.

‘Snapchat blackmailer from Essex is jailed’

 

Snapchat

 

‘An "extremely manipulative" man who hacked girls' Snapchat accounts and blackmailed them into sending him intimate images has been jailed. Akash Sondhi, 27, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, admitted to 65 offences between December 2016 and March 2020.

Essex Police said Sondhi targeted 574 victims across the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Romania and other countries by hacking into their accounts on the picture-sharing service. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.’

To read the article in full please click here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-55549628

With this in mind it is more important than ever to discuss online behaviours with your children and regularly assess internet security settings, particularly on their social media accounts. Attached is a special lockdown edition of our online safety newsletter which features several articles and links to resources, designed to help parents to keep their children safe online during this lockdown period.

As always, if you have any concerns about the safety of a child at The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, please do not hesitate contact a member of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Team.

Mr Paul Walton

Director of Inclusion & DSL

0208 575 8222 Ext 475