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E-Safety & Supporting Young People with SEND Online

For many young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND), the Internet can be a place where they feel safe, calm and in control.

Somewhere you can make friends without having to communicate face-to-face, and build a community which you may not have in their offline life. Whilst recognising the Internet is a great resource which young people enjoy using, life online for anyone with SEND may pose additional challenges that require careful management and support.

We aim to support you in understanding the risks of online activity, ensure that you know what to look out for, and provide practical ways in which you can help everyone to enjoy their time online.

What opportunities can the Internet offer?

There are so many positive opportunities for young people online, such as communicating with friends, watching videos or playing games. The Internet is an amazing resource for many reasons, and it’s important to recognise how much young people love using it.

How do I start the conversation and what do I need to know?

Click below to find out...

When should we talk about online safety? 

Whether they are verbal or non-verbal, the moment anyone express an interest in the Internet, is the time to talk about, discuss or look at ways in which they can stay safe online.

Allow enough time and choose a quiet space to avoid interruption. Everyone has the right to feel safe and enjoy their time online, so it’s important to understand boundaries and behaviour, both your own and that of other people. The earlier you start this communication, the easier it will be to talk about further online safety concerns in the future.

Join in and find out what they enjoy online. 

Show an interest and find out what they enjoy doing online, and ask to be shown the things they like to play, look at, or watch. If possible, ask to join in as this will show you exactly what they see when they are online. For example, if they want to join a social media site, try creating an account for yourself to get to know how it works and where the settings are. That way, you can be confident in showing them what they need to do. 

Common Sense Media has some really helpful information and website suggestions.

Learn how to use Parental Controls.

Setting up parental controls and filters on your home Internet can help to avoid inappropriate images, videos and websites being accessed whilst using the Wi-fi. Many devices like phones, tablets and games consoles have parental controls settings to restrict this content, as well as restricting additional costs online, such as in-app purchasing and turning off location functions. 

Internet Matters provide some helpful information about these settings and how to use them.

Set up a family agreement together. 

Family Agreement is a great way of talking about online safety and how to use the Internet positively.

Establishing an agreement together can help us understand how to communicate safely and appropriately online and learn what to do if you find yourself in a challenging or unpleasant situation. It will also provide an opportunity to decide who you should go and tell if something confusing or unpleasant happens online. We refer to this person as a trusted adult. These are people you already know, and could be another relative, teacher, a youth leader or key support worker. If clearly displayed with whatever communication method works best for you, be it written form or symbol aids, a family agreement can really help to reinforce and remind you of the important things you need to know.

Get to know the tools which can help to keep you safe. 

It’s important to understand and get to know the tools and safety features on the things you like to use. Once you've got to know your favourite games, apps and services, ensure that you explore and understand the safety features they have on them. For example, find out what privacy settings they have, where these are and how to apply them. These will enable you to choose who can see your account and what information online visitors can see. The UK Safer Internet website has advice about social media settings to help you understand these. Always make sure that you carefully read these as there may be additional levels of privacy available for children and young people, compared to adults.

Other important features to know are where to get help, how to block someone and how to make a report.


Based on

Below are links to more useful information about e-safety.

*Creating Tomorrow College is not responsible for the content of the links.

Telephone helplines for children

To report to police

  • CEOP — Child Exploitation and Online Protection — to report suspicious behaviour online towards a child directly to the police, Click 'Make A Report'.
  • The Virtual Global Taskforce — click the ‘Report Abuse’ option on the home page and follow the instructions.
  • UK Government Advice - Avoid and report Internet scams and phishing.

E-Safety websites

Anti-Bullying websites