We hope that Bishop’s Stortford College pupils will make the most of the wonderful opportunities offered online to better understand the wider world, engage with issues that affect them and access a wealth of learning resources. However, we believe that staying safe online and protecting personal online reputations should be a priority for all.

We aim to equip College pupils with the resilience, skills, knowledge and support they need to navigate any online risks they may come across through ICT/Computing lessons and regular information sharing within the PSHE programme and assemblies. 

We encourage parents and carers to maintain an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues. Parents can help to respond to the negative by staying engaged with their child’s online activity (as appropriate to their age), by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and also by reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.

The links and resources below aim to support our community in using technology safely, responsibly and positively. These include our Digital Parenting guide written by Dr. Neelam Palmer; please feel free to download a copy for your family. E-Safety bulletins are also regularly included in the school newsletter to keep pupils, parents and staff up to date on latest online trends, awareness campaigns and safeguarding issues.

E-Safety Guidance for Parents and Carers

CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency and is dedicated to tackling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people. CEOP helps children and young people under the age of 18 who have been forced or manipulated into taking part, or are being pressured to take part, in sexual activity of any kind. This can be both online and offline. The CEOP Safety Centre offers information and advice for children and young people, parents and carers and professionals. You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre and make a report directly to CEOP by clicking the Click CEOP button below.

Click CEOP

Please note: Online bullying or other online concerns should not be reported to CEOP and children and young people should be directed to speak to an adult they trust, and/or referred to Childline, if they would like to speak to someone about how they are feeling.

Thinkuknow is an education programme from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command and aims to keep children and young people safe by providing education about sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. It is underpinned by the latest intelligence about child sex offending from CEOP Command. It gives practical advice should you need to report concerns about online grooming and sexual abuse.

Parent Info is a collaboration between CEOP and Parent Zone. In recent years, Parent Zone's work has focused on the impact of digital technologies on families. In line with CEOP’s Thinkuknow programme, some of the content covers internet safety, but it all starts from the assumption that young people make little distinction between their online and offline lives and the issues for parents are often the same. The aim is to help parents help their children be discriminating, web-literate and resilient.

This website contains a lot of information and advice on internet safety issues together with news and advice from industry experts. There is guidance on setting parental controls and filters plus reviews on the latest technology and apps.

Common Sense helps families make smart media choices. They offer a huge library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.  Their Parent Concerns and Parent Blog help families understand and navigate the problems and possibilities of raising children in the digital age.

Digital Parenting Magazine
This online safety guide for families is a partnership between Parent Zone and Vodafone. The annual magazine combines practical information with the latest research and expert views.

A partnership between Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning, the UK Safer Internet Centre has one mission - to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people. Their Awareness Centre provides advice and support to parents and co-ordinates Safer Internet Day across UK.

The Internet Watch Foundation provides an anonymous and safe place to report and remove online child sexual abuse imagery and videos, wherever they are found in the world. It can also be used to report obscene adult content (hosted in the UK only).

A Parents’ Guide to Online Safety

Parentsguideonlinesafety activities 1

It may not be easy to talk to children and young people about technology and the internet - especially if you are not confident with these yourself. This guide includes a collection of activities to help families to talk about the sometimes tricky topic of online safety.

E-Safety Guidance for Young People

CEOP helps any child or young person under the age of 18 who is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity of any kind. This can be something that has taken place either online or in ‘the real world’, or both. The CEOP Safety Centre has clear information and advice on what can be reported to CEOP, the reporting process and what will happen if you do decide to make a report. You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre and make a report directly to CEOP by clicking the Click CEOP button.

Click CEOP

If you are experiencing online bullying or something else online has worried you please speak to an adult you trust, or visit one of the websites below.

Having a mobile phone and going online is great for lots of reasons. But it's important to be aware of the dangers too. Learn how to stay safe online by reading Childline's practical guides or visiting their awesome YouTube channel. You can talk to Childline about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Call them free on 0800 1111 or get in touch online. However you choose to contact them, you're in control. It’s confidential and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to.

This website gives loads of information on how to have fun, how to stay in control and how to report any problems when online. Simply choose your age group for relevant advice on keeping you and your friends safe.

Find the latest information on the sites and services that you like to use, plus information about mobiles, gaming, downloading, social networking and much more.

Senior School Bulletin #6

The Momo Challenge

While scrolling through the news or social media, you may have glanced an image depicting a stretched, disfigured face with bulging eyes and large smile, attached to a bird’s body. This freakish creature has become the mascot for an obscure urban myth called the Momo Challenge, a game which allegedly encourages young people to perform acts of self-harm. There is currently a lot of misleading information swirling around the web about the challenge and it can be difficult to separate fact from myth.

What is the Momo Challenge?

The Momo Challenge is a game played over WhatsApp where participants contact the character Momo and are then told to do a series of challenges, with the final challenge allegedly being suicide.

How do young people get to know about it?

Despite people having to use WhatsApp to partake in the challenge, that is not how most people find out about it. Some find the phone number hidden in YouTube videos or in video games such as Minecraft and Roblox. Many prominent YouTubers create videos of themselves trying to reach out to Momo which get many views through, for example, sharing on social media.


Why would young people be drawn to it?

Young people who see their favourite YouTuber doing the challenge might be drawn to trying it themselves in order to follow their example. It should be noted that a lot of the people making videos about this are capitalising on the mysticism surrounding the challenge and might be deliberately trying to blow it out of proportion to add drama.

Do parents need to worry about it?

Although a lot of the information about the Momo Challenge is rather concerning, the number of reported cases of children harming themselves because of the game is extremely low. The challenge has alleged ties to three cases of teens killing themselves in Asia and South America, but there is nothing that proves that it was the direct cause.

How can you keep safe from it?

Remember it is never a good idea to contact strangers via social media platforms or instant messaging apps. You don’t want to unintentionally give away personal information like your phone number and location or fall victim to scams. Checking that your privacy settings are set-up properly will help prevent contact from people you don’t know whilst disabling location sharing prevents people from being able to track your whereabouts. Some of the images and content from ‘games’ such as the Momo Challenge may also be scary and distressing. If you have seen something online which makes you feel uncomfortable, report it and talk to a family member or friend about it.

Parent or pupil, if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch.

Miss M Brook

Digital Learning Support Advisor

Information taken from ParentZone - Three-Minute Briefing: The Momo Challenge

Further information for parents can be found here.

Senior School Bulletin #5

Safer Internet Day 2019

Tuesday 5th February is Safer Internet Day, a day celebrated across the world to help keep young people safe online. This year Safer Internet Day focuses on the themes of internet ownership and consent online. It highlights that we should all be thinking about how we take control of what we share online, who has access to this information and what that could mean for us.

SID2019 banner

How much control do we really have over our online lives?

Much of what we do online is all about choices. For example, choosing whether or not to share content, or choosing to sign up to a new service. It’s great to have choices but we must consider how these can impact on ourselves and others. One consideration is whether or not we truly have consent, or have given our consent to others. Consent is specific permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something. Think about these examples…

If you gave someone a photo of you and then saw it on a billboard in the centre of town, would you be happy? People often take photos or videos of friends and then post them online for all to see, without asking permission first. In addition a lot of the terms and conditions of the apps we use mean that they have the right to access and use your content so your photo could be on a t-shirt, advert or leaflet, without you even knowing.

Would you put your friend into a room with some strangers and then leave them there? We don’t do this offline but online people often add their friends to group chats without asking or thinking first. This could mean that people you don’t know suddenly can access private information such as your phone number, profile picture and status.

What is the big deal about big data?

You might have seen some of the recent news stories about data breaches and how companies are storing our data – like the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. Data is information about us and we are creating it all the time online and offline. It can include what we do, where we go, sites we visit, comments we make, photos we take, accounts we create.

Every minute online…

  • Twitter users send 456,000 tweets
  • Google conducts 3,607,080 searches for us
  • Wikipedia users publish 600 new page edits
  • Instagram users post 46,740 photos
  • Snapchat users share 527,760 photos

In fact we have collectively created more data about ourselves in the last two years than in our entire history of civilisation!

Big data is extremely large sets of data collected by organisations in order to be analysed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.

Whose data is it anyway?

Historian Professor Yuval Noah Harari said “There is a saying that if you get something for free, you should know that you’re the product. You get free social-media services, and you get free funny cat videos. In exchange, you give up the most valuable asset you have, which is your personal data.”

Think about how much data Google collects about us when using their services – all for free. Searching for things, using their Chrome browser, using their email, using their Maps, watching YouTube and the masses of information stored on Android devices. In fact Google has bought over 200 companies and invested in over 400 since they began. Consider how much information they have about our habits, like and movements! You maybe more than happy for big organisations to have this information, but if not it’s important you know to take control of your data and make conscious choices about what you share.

What can you do to keep control of your data?

  1. If you would not give your consent in person then don’t give it online either.
  2. Discuss with your friends and family what you can and can’t share about them and your expectations of them e.g. Adding you to a group chat is fine as long as you know everyone. If you don’t, they should ask you first.
  3. Think carefully about the companies, sites and apps that you give your data to. Is it worth giving away your personal information to enter a competition or if you are buying something from a company that you are unlikely to buy from again?
  4. Check how a service will use your information before agreeing to terms and conditions and/or privacy policy.
  5. Take control of your data. Use privacy settings. Take the time to look at the privacy options of websites and apps, and consider not using them if it won’t let you opt out of sharing your data with third parties.
  6. Find out more about the sites and apps you use. Who owns them? Do they own any other companies? For example did you know that Facebook also owns Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram?
  7. Go through your accounts on social media or games sites. Take out any information you no longer want to share and use these lessons when you set up accounts in the future. Delete accounts you don’t use any more.

Miss Brook

Digital Learning Support Advisor

Information adapted from Our internet, our choice - Understanding consent in a digital world Assembly Script, UK Safer Internet Centre, 2019

Senior School Bulletin #4


There has been a lot of talk about TikTok in the Senior School this week. TikTok is a free, social networking app that allows users to create their own videos where they lip-sync along to pop songs and audio clips. Once their video is created, users can then share it with their followers or all other users on the app. It has lots of fun features including filters, augmented reality, live-streaming and chat.











TikTok puts some focus on themed challenges such as the Little Mix #womanlikemechallenge or #spookychallenge challenging users to video themselves doing dancing moves or using different filters to creative effect. There are also TikTok ‘celebrities’ who regularly get over 100,000 views on their videos. These ‘celebrities’ can start new challenges or trends on the app.

Previously called Musical.ly, the app was typically popular with younger children (although the minimum user age is 13). However with the merge and rebrand to TikTok, the app has seen a resurgence amongst all age groups, quickly becoming the most downloaded app in the world, over the last 3 months. This is understandable given that the app gives anyone the opportunity to become a content creator and design their own videos to the songs that they love. Nevertheless like all social media, there are things to consider to make sure that you are using it safely and responsibly.

  1. Check your privacy settings – when signing up to TikTok, your account is public by default. Make sure your account is private so that only people you chose to be followers can view your videos. You can also set-up more advanced privacy features including control over who can comment on your videos, who can duet with you and who can direct message you. Find out more about privacy settings>
  2. Be careful about the information you share – even with a private account your profile information including profile photo, username and bio, can see be seen by everyone. Make sure you are not giving away any personal details such as your location, birthday or school which could put you at risk. This also includes information you might be giving away in your videos; think about what can be seen in the background in your bedroom etc. and don’t wear your school uniform.
  3. Be aware of the content you might see – because you don’t have control over what other users share, you may come across content which is inappropriate, negative or makes you feel uncomfortable. If you come across abuse, spam or anything else that doesn’t follow the TikTok Community Guidelines you can report it. Find out how to report inappropriate content>
  4. Manage the time you spend on the app – remember the Headmaster’s assembly last week? Technology is great and apps like TikTok are really fun but too much time on social media can affect our wellbeing. To help find that balance, enable the Digital Wellbeing feature to control your spent time on TikTok and limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Find out how to use the Digital Wellbeing feature>


Miss Brook
Digital Learning Support Advisor

Senior School Bulletin #3

Stop Speak Support Day - Thursday 15th November 2018

Monday sees the start of Anti-Bullying Week, with the 4th Form and Ms Daly busy undertaking activities to work towards a bully free school. However as part of Anti-Bullying Week, this year sees the first ever Stop Speak Support Day to tackle cyberbullying. Launched by The Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, the Stop Speak Support campaign is in response to young people asking for more guidance on how to behave online and how to deal with cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying continues to be a significant issue for young people today with 1 in 5 teenagers in England having experienced it in the last two months. It is also important to recognise that children who have been cyberbullied are more likely to be depressed, anxious and lonely. However nastiness, harassment and trolling can be experienced by an internet user of any age, and the fine line between ‘banter’ and bullying often gets blurred. So this is a good opportunity for all of us to reflect on how we interact online.

The Stop Speak Support code of conduct below has been developed with young people and aims to empower internet users to stop cyberbullying, by speaking out and seeking support;


If any of our young people feel they may need to talk to someone about cyberbullying, email talk@bishopsstortfordcollege.org or speak to any member of staff. Alternatively you can visit the Childline or Stop Speak Support websites for more information and support.

Here’s hoping that if we all think twice about how we respond to negativity online, we really can make a better internet for everyone.

Miss Brook

Digital Learning Support Advisor

Senior School Bulletin #2

Cyber Security Month

Given that since the beginning of term both British Airways and Facebook have been on the wrong side of some serious hackers (affecting a mere 380,000 and 29 million users respectively), it seems particularly timely that October is European Cyber Security Month. Even more so given that cyberattacks have been identified as the third most likely global risk of 2018 by the World Economic Form and in its annual review, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) revealed it is currently repelling around 10 critical cyber-attacks in the UK every week.

As part of Cyber Security Month, the ‘Get Cyber Skilled’ campaign has been launched to support the advancement of cybersecurity education & skills. There are four key areas that it identifies as necessary to keep yourself safe online;

  1. Password management
  2. Backing up data
  3. Privacy settings
  4. Protecting against social engineering

To find out more about any of these, visit the European Cyber Security Month website and read their short learning modules. The worksheets are designed for use in class but they contain really concise information and useful tips on how to protect your data online. There is also a Network and Information Security Quiz that you can take to help update your knowledge of online privacy and security risks.

Coincidently, as a school we have just gone through the process of asking all pupils to update their IT password to meet new complex criteria. This is not only to reduce the risk of pupils incurring any personal risk but to also help combat any threat to our school systems - which as you can imagine store lots of very important data relating to all members of our community. So a plea to pupils;

  • Keep your password safe and do not reveal to anyone.
  • Use your College email account for school purposes only – not for online shopping, gaming, entertainment etc.
  • Do not click on any suspicious links or forward on suspicious emails – if you are unsure talk to myself or a member of the IT team first.

Have a great half term.

Miss Brook

Digital Learning Support Advisor


Senior School Bulletin #1

A Numbers Game 

GooglelogoThis week is a big week for birthdays. Not only has the College been busy commemorating its 150th year but the 27th September saw Google celebrating 20 years since its creation in a garage by then PhD students Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The name Google is a reference to googol (or the number one followed by 100 zeros) and it is now offered in more than 150 languages and in over 190 countries. The search engine processes over 40,000 search queries every second, that’s over 3.5 billion searches per day. It has also mapped 40 million miles in driving directions (or more than 142 trips to the moon and back!). Google Translate translates 143 billion words each day. Eye watering statistics which demonstrate just how amazing the internet is but also how reliant we are on using it in today’s society.

Here are some further statistics that were shared with parents at the 4th Form Parents Information Session last week;

  • 83% of UK 12-15 year olds have their own smartphone and 55% have their own tablet.
  • 74% of UK 12-15 year olds have at least one social media profile.
  • 56% of UK 12-15 year olds that are interested in news access it through social media.
  • Over a third of UK 15 year olds can be classed as ‘extreme internet users’ (6+ hours of use a day).
  • 1 in 8 UK secondary school children have been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image by another young person.
  • 1 in 20 secondary school children have been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image by an adult.
  • Young people who spend more than 2 hours per day using social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress.

These figures suggest that our young people in particular, are very reliant on using the internet. Yet they also highlight the very real risks that they may encounter when online including grooming, sexting, tech addiction, fake news and issues with mental health and wellbeing. Therefore it’s really important that whilst we enjoy every opportunity technology offers us, we understand how to do so responsibly, safely and with an awareness with which we can minimise risks. And of course, know what do to if things do go wrong. 4th Form pupils cover e-safety and digital awareness in their ICT lessons and Digital Resilience activity, however all members of the Senior School have access to lots of information here on Firefly. Or feel free to email talk@bishopsstortfordcollege.org or speak to any member of staff, should you have any worries or questions.

If you are a parent, there are lots of useful links as well as a copy of our Digital Parenting guide on the E-Safety page of the College website. In addition, we plan to host our annual Parent E-Safety Information Session on 21st November before 4th Form Parents’ Evening (although parents from all age groups are welcome). Details about the session will be sent out closer to the event.

Miss Brook

Digital Learning Support Advisor


Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report, Ofcom 2017
Children sending and receiving sexual messages report, NSPCC 2018
#StatusOfMind Report, Royal Society for Public Health 2017
Social media and children’s mental health: a review of evidence, Education Policy Institute 2017

Prep School Summer Term Bulletin

Towards the end of this term I will be giving an e-safety talk to the Lower 3rd and Upper Third with the focus on my hopes for the future of technology as well as my concerns. It will be the last e-safety talk for this  academic year and I feel that it is important to discuss with the next generation how technology will shape the world we live in. When asked for my own personal opinion about the best ways to embrace technology the only answer I can give is to model good habits for the benefit of those around me. For instance to not  stare at my phone whilst talking to others or not to browse Facebook/Instagram for lengthy feeds before I get out of bed on the weekend and to stop watching Netflix while having dinner each night! It is too easy to just fall into these habits and not nearly so easy to break them.

Below are some key pieces of information to help guard against children spending too long playing the latest, addictive, online gaming phenomenon ‘Fortnite’. These tips may also be applicable to Social Media use too.

Useful guides for how to set time limits for device usage

  1. Windows 10 devices & XBox. This guide shows you how to set particular times children can use their Windows Device
  2. iPhone or iPad. This guide allows you to set time limits on apps/games pupils are using
  3. PS4. This guide goes through the parental setting and setting time limits


FortnitePrep School E Safety image continues to grow in popularity. Its impact has been discussed in a wide range of news media. At the College we have a number of parents who are concerned about this highly addictive game; this can lead to children experiencing high anxiety over not being included or feeling like they are missing out.

Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12. Although there is no ‘gore’ it is still a game with the aim of killing other on screen characters. Children playing the game may be exposed to swearing and offensive language from strangers or peers through the audio or on-screen text chat. It starts as a free game but there are paid-for expansion-packs which give the player access to extensions, bonuses and weapons. There are also in-game purchases. There have also been news reports of children “skin gambling” (https://parentzone.org.uk/article/what-skin-gambling) using external sites.

It is worth having an open discussion with your child about who they are talking to online. There have been reported accounts of children being groomed using Fortnite (as well as other gaming platforms). The interaction children have with strangers/or peers could also affect their language and social interactions. In the game children may mock other players without being able to see the reaction their words are having and may continue this behaviour  outside of the virtual world. Children online can also be very impulsive and may do/say something that they would not otherwise say or do in the real world. 

In my last e-safety presentation I stated that ‘game addiction’ has now been recognised in the UK as a medical condition. Last month was the first time a British child was diagnosed with game addiction on the NHS (https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boy-15-becomes-first-internet-12684718). Some of the telling signs of potential game addition are:

  1. Talking about the game non-stop.
  2. Playing for hours and getting defensive or angry when made to stop.
  3. Disruption to sleeping and eating patterns.
  4. Poor personal hygiene.
  5. Physical symptoms such as red eyes, soreness in fingers, back or neck, and headaches.
  6. The sufferer appears preoccupied, depressed or isolated.
  7. Lying to friends or family members regarding amount of time spent playing.

Below are some links for further information and advice:

  1. ParentZone on Fortnite
  2. ParentZone on Game Addiction
  3. Safer Internet on Fortnite

Social Media

Children are being introduced to social media through one platform or another at very young ages. Although social media is widely enjoyed, it is also capable of causing a lot of distress and upset. It is easy for anyone to act in a way online that would be unimaginable in real life. The reason for this change in behaviour can be for a range of reasons such as peer pressure, or just a quick decision made with no thought at all. It is different for each individual.  Some children simply are not mature enough to recognise and distinguish positive external influences and/or interactions from the negative.  This is why monitoring and open conversations with your child are so important. The number of external influences on your child’s development (through what they read/watch and listen to) greatly increases with the introduction of social media into their lives.

Other factors that are problematic are that children can easily get access to strangers online and can over-share their personal information.

Many children want social media at a young age and it feels like everyone else around them has it. There is a strong pressure on parents and children to get onto social media; this can cause a lot of social anxiety. It is important to remember that the age restriction for social media is 13.

Below are some links for advice/help:

The most important advice I can give is to:

  1. Set boundaries early as it is harder to put them in place after a problem has arisen.
  2. Take an interest and have an open conversation about the use of the internet and the apps they are using. Start this early so that it is a normal topic of conversation.
  3. Demonstrate good practice and discuss how you keep yourself safe online.
  4. Discuss the YouTubers they watch & watch them with them.
  5. Ask their views on celebrities and find out who they admire online and what images these people portray of themselves. Remember that many children follow these people using social networking.
  6. Discuss relationships and social media and how to talk to friends. For instance, discuss what is acceptable not/acceptable to send/discuss via social media rather than in person. What is personal information and why we keep it safe.
  7. Talk about Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) and look at www.thinkuknow.co.uk. It is important that they know how to report suspicious activity.

Parent Zone

As a school we invested in the Parent Zone’s Digital Schools Membership programme, recognising our commitment to making our pupils safer online, and making sure we work with you to achieve this.

Our Digital Schools membership gives you free access to Parent Zone’s Parent Lounge with:

  • Online training
  • Expert advice and information on all things digital
  • Access to a free help service for all your tech questions

To get started, go to https://parentzone.org.uk/parents/discover-parent-lounge   


2. Click on the pink ADD TO CART button

3. On the next page click checkout. You’ll then be asked to enter your email address. 

4. On the next page, you will need to enter the coupon code DSP16 to ensure you have free access.  The code gives you a 100% discount.

Once you’ve completed the short registration you’ll receive two emails - one confirming your order and one with login instructions. After clicking the link in the email press the login button to set a password, then you’ll be directed to the Parent Lounge.

Once you have logged in the Parent Lounge will always be accessible via this link.

Have a wonderful, safe, summer!

Mrs F Sharpsmith