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Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website

3.7.5 Looked After Children and Computer and Internet Access


Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media


This chapter was updated in November 2016 to add a link to Child Safety Online: A practical guide or parents and carers who children are using social media. (See Relevant Guidance above.)

Today millions of people regularly use the Internet and e-mail to communicate. Their usage is predicted to continue to rise, as global communications become part of our daily social and economic life. Already there is a huge wealth of educational resources available on the Internet and this too will continue to grow. In Salford we believe that Looked After Children should have the opportunity to use these resources to support their learning and leisure.

The Internet provides access to a greater library of resources than could ever be provided in the home. However, where as the resources in the home are carefully selected to be consistent with national and local policies those on the Internet are not. Staff will therefore need to be on hand to help young people choose appropriate Internet resources and to monitor other usage of the computer.

Salford MBC has commissioned SAFENET CONNECTIONS LIMITED to secure the PC with a filtering service. This prevents and logs all Internet access via the PC. SAFENET will monitor all Internet access from the PC and reserve the right to report upon access of a concerning nature either by Young people or by Staff.

If you would like to raise a concern about content reached on the PC or would like to allow a young person access to email or other internet sites, you can contact SAFENET direct on 0870 129 8522 to arrange this directly with them, however you should be aware that this request may have to be checked with the Council prior to being processed.

Important Note

As part of the Serious Crime Act (2015) an offence of sexual communication with a child was introduced. This applies to an adult who communicates with a child and the communication is sexual or if it is intended to elicit from the child a communication which is sexual and the adult reasonably believes the child to be under 16 years of age. The Act also amended the Sex Offences Act 2003 so it is now an offence for an adult to arrange to meet with someone under 16 having communicated with them on just one occasion (previously it was on at least two occasions).

In addition radical and extremist groups may use social networking to attract children and young people into rigid and narrow ideologies that are intolerant of diversity: this is similar to the grooming process and exploits the same vulnerabilities.  The groups concerned include those linked to extreme Islamist, or Far Right/Neo Nazi ideologies, Irish Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups, extremist Animal Rights groups and others who seek to justify political, religious, sexist or racist violence.

Young People will need to have understood the Homes rules concerning their use of the Internet and electronic mail. Staff will regularly remind young people of the rules governing Internet and electronic mail use.

Each Home will appoint a designated ICT co-ordinator.

The ICT co-ordinator will liaise with the Service Providers and other appropriate people to ensure that this policy is implemented. The ICT co-ordinator will also regularly review the effectiveness of measures to restrict access to undesirable materials on the Internet.

The ICT co-ordinator will provide guidance to staff and young people on their use of the Internet and electronic mail. The ICT co-ordinator will work towards the development of home pages and resource listings liaising with other ICT co-ordinators, Education staff and the Home’s Service Provider. This should help to guide young people towards resources, which are appropriate for their age range and ability. Where young people are given freedom to search the Internet for information they should be given clear guidance by staff.

The ICT Co-ordinator will review this policy in consultation with the Senior Management Team on an annual basis.

All access to the computer must be by means of the approved log on procedure and all users must use their personal password and log on details. Passwords must not be shared and under no circumstances must young people have access to staff log on details. Staff and young people must log off the computer whenever they leave it.

Young People may only access the Computer, Internet and electronic mail, with the knowledge of a member of staff.

Young People are responsible for good behaviour on the computer just as they are in the home.

Staff may only access the computer with the consent of the Head of Home. Staff access must be for legitimate purposes and they must observe the same conditions as they would on other Local Authority systems. Failure to observe this guidance may result in disciplinary action.

Only licensed software that is age appropriate may be installed on the computer. Staff need to be aware that software installed for older children may be accessible to those much younger and take action to avoid this. The system will be configured so that only Staff have the ability to install software and young people must not be given access to this facility.

Staff may access any file held on any computer storage system or media that is part of or connected to the Home’s Computer. The Local Authority reserves the right to access any floppy disk or other media brought into the Home and to monitor all communications. Staff and Young people should thus be aware that their files will not always be private.

The following are not permitted:

  1. Sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures;
  2. Using obscene language;
  3. Using electronic mail to harass, insult or otherwise annoy others;
  4. Using other people's passwords;
  5. Accessing any other person's work or files without permission;
  6. Malicious damage to computers, software and other hardware;
  7. Violating copyright laws. This includes downloading or installing unlicensed software and the downloading of music or other material in breach of copyright law.