This policy sets out Root Canal Dental Referral Centre’s rules and procedures for safe use of the internet, mobile communications, social media and other electronic communication and networking systems.
We recognise that the welfare of all children and vulnerable adults is paramount and that all children, young people and vulnerable adults, regardless of ability or culture, have equal rights to protection. We have a duty of care when children, young people and vulnerable adults are in our charge and we will do everything we can to provide a safe and caring environment whilst they attend our practice.
We promote the highest standard of safeguarding practice in all our activities with children, young people, vulnerable adults, their families and/or carers. We will adhere rigorously to this policy in all aspects of our work when anyone in our organisation accesses any form of digital or electronic communication including the internet, mobile ‘phones, games, photography or videos. This policy should be read in conjunction with our Policy on Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.
Lead for eSafety
Our lead is: Dr Nicolai Orsteen
His role is to oversee and ensure that our eSafety policy is fully implemented. This includes ensuring that they and all staff receive eSafety information and training on child protection and safeguarding vulnerable
adults, as appropriate. The deputy lead is available to cover for and support the lead person. He will also handle any complaints or allegations against the lead person.
Publicising This Policy
This policy will be made available to all adults, children, young people, vulnerable adults and parents/carers by publication on the practice website.
Why We Need an eSafety Policy
The internet, mobile ‘phones and other electronic technology have made access to information and communication increasingly easy for everyone. It is estimated that 98% of young people can access the internet away from school and, in addition to research for homework, the majority use social networking sites, along with playing games and downloading music and videos. Recent research by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) involving 6,000 young people aged 11 to 16 years demonstrated that 25% had actually met a new “friend” from the internet in person. 25% of these met this person alone. Only 2% had taken a trusted adult with them – the remainder had taken along a friend of their own age. Internet and mobile ‘phone technology is also important to those people who are unable to go out to socialise, shop, etc. Government guidance is clear that all organisations working with children, young people, vulnerable adults, families, parents and carers have responsibilities in this area: “All agencies providing services to children have a duty to understand eSafety issues, recognising their role in helping children to stay safe online while also supporting adults who care for children” – Safeguarding Children in a Digital World, Becta, 2008.
It is important to remember that children, young people and vulnerable adults can also abuse and that such incidents fall into the remit of this policy.
Our safety code of conduct
We expect everyone in our organisation to adhere to this code of conduct and that they will:
- Use the internet and other forms of communication in a sensible and polite way (whether this use is personal or in connection with work activities)
- Only access websites, send messages or access and use other resources that will not hurt or upset anybody
- Seek permission if they want to use personal information or take photographs of other people
- Report any concerns to the lead or deputy person for eSafety immediately
- Understand that they cannot maintain confidentiality if there is a concern about the welfare of a child, young person or vulnerable adult
There are many potential risks for children, young people and vulnerable adults, including:
- Accessing age inappropriate or illegal websites
- Receiving unwanted or upsetting text or email messages or images
- Being “groomed” by an adult with a view to meeting the child, young person or vulnerable adult for their own illegal purposes including sex, drugs or crime
- Viewing or receiving socially unacceptable material such as inciting hatred or violence
- Sending bullying messages or posting malicious details about others
- Ignoring copyright law by downloading music, video or even “homework cheat” material
- Overspending on shopping and gambling websites
- Being at risk of identity fraud for money transactions
Other things that might be a concern
A child, young person or vulnerable adult who:
- Is becoming secretive about where they are going or who they are meeting
- Will not let you see what they are accessing online
- Uses a webcam in a closed area, away from other people
- Accesses the web using a smartphone or other mobile device for long periods and at all hours
- Clears the computer history every time they use it
- Receives unexpected money or gifts from people you don’t knowA person who:
- Befriends a child, young person or vulnerable adult on the internet or by text messaging
- Has links to children, young people or vulnerable adults on their Facebook or other social networking site – especially if they work in a position of trust such as a sports coach or youth worker
- Is secretive about what they are doing and who they are meeting
What to do if you are concerned
If you have any concerns at all, speak to the lead (or deputy person if any) for eSafety immediately. They will take appropriate action based on the following guidelines.
Contacts for referring
If the concern is about:
- A child or vulnerable adult being in imminent danger: ALWAYS DIAL 999 FOR THE POLICE.
- The welfare of a child or vulnerable adult: call local social care services. For children call Richmond Local Safeguarding Children Board – 0208 831 6323 – and for vulnerable adults Richmond Adult Access Team – 020 8891 7971.
- A known person’s sexual behavior or intentions: ring local social care services.
- A person who has a duty of care toward children and/or vulnerable adults in the organisation: ring local social care services.
- An unknown person’s sexual behavior or intentions: IN RELATION TO CHILDREN – report this to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) at ceop.gov.uk. IN RELATION TO VULNERABLE ADULTS – report this to the police.
- Harmful content: (including child sexual abuse images or content that may incite racial hatred) contact iwf.org.uk.
- Viruses: get advice from getnetwise.org.
- Mobile ‘phones: contact the ‘phone service provider.REMEMBER:
- DO NOT DELAY
- DO NOT INVESTIGATE
- SEEK ADVICE FROM THE LEAD OR DEPUTY LEAD FOR eSAFETY
- MAKE CAREFUL RECORDS OF ANYTHING YOU OBSERVE OR ARE TOLD
Other useful contacts
NSPCC 0800 800 5000
Young people can get help and advice from Childline on 0800 1111 or their website childline.org.uk
For advice on bullying and hacking visit thinkuknow.co.uk (where concerns can also be reported)
For technical advice, you can also contact the retailer of a device or software or go online to research this
Minimising the risks
- Talk to children, young people and vulnerable adults about what they are accessing online
- Keep any computer or other device they might use in a general space where we can monitor what is going on
- Explain the risks of giving out personal details online
- Talk about how people can be anyone they want to be online – by using misleading emails, photographs of other people or telling lies about their age, school or hobbies – and the importance of never meeting new online “friends” for real
- Encourage children, young people and vulnerable adults to think carefully about what photographs or videos they use online: these can be used and tampered with by other people, or may simply be inappropriate
- Advise children and young people only to text, chat or video-conference with people they really know
- Talk about how to identify SPAM/junk mail and how to delete it – including messages from people they do not know – and not opening attachments with emails that aren’t from a trusted source
- Make sure that children, young people and vulnerable adults know they can always talk to us or their parents and/or carers about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable
- Talk about the fact that once information and images get onto the net they can never be erased
This policy will be reviewed annually or when there are substantial organisational changes.