Safeguarding Team, Colchester Hospital, Tel: 01206 742267 

Safeguarding Team, Ipswich Hospital Tel: 01473 702381


East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is committed to promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and adults at risk of abuse. This digital leaflet has been developed to provide guidance to parents, carers, young people and adults to raise awareness of e-Safety.

More information

e-Safety is defined as being safe from risks to personal safety and wellbeing when using all fixed and mobile devices that allow access to the internet as well as those that are used to communicate electronically. This includes personal computers, laptops, mobile phones and gaming consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation and Wii.

The internet is an essential element in 21st century life and information communications technology (ICT) knowledge – now seen as an important life skill – is vital to access life-long learning and employment. It is also important to recognise that the internet provides many benefits, not just to children, young people and adults, but also to the professional work of staff.

While acknowledging the benefits, it is also important to recognise that risk to safety and wellbeing of users is ever changing as technologies develop.

Safeguarding against risks associated with the internet is everyone’s responsibility and needs to be considered as part of the overall arrangements in place that safeguard and promote the welfare of all patients, staff and volunteers accessing ESNEFT.

  • Children, young people and adults at risk of abuse may be groomed by adults often pretending to be those who care, with the ultimate aim of exploiting them sexually.
  • Children, young people and adults at risk of abuse may be bullied by other people via social networking sites, websites, instant messages, emails and text messages.
  • Inappropriate images of children, young people and adults at risk may be taken, uploaded and circulated via social network websites, mobile telephones and video broadcasting websites such as YouTube. This is a criminal offence under Section 45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Dangers associated with gang culture can rapidly accelerate online as many gangs promote themselves via websites or social networking sites. Threats of violence or to an individual’s life may be posted online.
  • Unsuitable websites and images can be accessed easily online.
  • Images of physical abuse, crime, racism, self-harm, terrorism or sexual content can be easily accessible online. (ESCB 2015) It is important to remember that images uploaded to the internet cannot be removed and leave a footprint. This means that even seemingly innocent photos of children, young people and adults can be viewed long after the photo was uploaded and can be viewed by people not known to you, particularly if privacy settings on social media are not set.

While in hospital it is advisable that photos are not published on social media sites as this may compromise confidentiality of the patient, other patients and/ or staff and may lead to images being published that are considered not to be in the best interests of the child, young person or adult.

Privacy controls can limit who can see your details, like name, age and where you live. When you connect to someone as a ‘friend’, that person will have access to your personal information.

Some ‘free’ games might ask you to fill out lots of details before you can play and then illegally rent or sell this data on to others.

Lots of apps and social networking sites use software to locate where the user is. Your location can be revealed by tagging photos, such as on Instagram, or checking in on Facebook or Foursquare. This means that people can find out where you live, socialise, work or study.

Some websites show illegal content. Others that are legal might have unregulated advice or images. You or your child may come across this content by mistake, or they may look for it because they’re curious. Promises of special offers or prizes can also draw young people in.

It’s difficult to know how much content is unsuitable on the internet but recent figures suggest that there’s a lot out there: • 9,500 web pages were removed by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) worldwide in 2013.

  • 70,000 indecent images of children were reported to CEOP in 2012.
  • 100s of pro-eating disorder websites are estimated to exist.

(NSPCC 2015) The e-Safety leads at our Trust are: Rachel Holman, Head of Safeguarding Children Team Julie Sadler, Head of Safeguarding Adults Team


  • Thinkuknow – online safety for young people and their parents The CEOP Thinkuknow website provides a range of information on online safety for young people, with key topics including mobiles, gaming, social networking, chatting, podcasts, blogs, and peer-to-peer TV.

The content of the site is based around three key messages: 

  • how to have fun online 
  • how to stay in control online 
  • how to report online.

A section of the website is aimed specifically at parents and fakers to try to help them understand more about what their child may be doing online.

The site also provides a prominent link to the COP report abuse service for reporting suspicious behaviour online with or towards a child.


NSPCC and related services


  • A free and confidential helpline for children in danger and distress. Children and young people in the UK can call 0800 1111 to talk about any problem, 24 hours a day.

In 2018 the NSPCC teamed up with O2 to help keep children safe when using the internet, social networks, apps, games and more. The NSPCC website now has a number of resources for both parents and children to access.

For example: – Your quide to the social networks your children are using.

To talk to someone about online safety call the free NSPCC and 02 helpline: 0808 800 5002



To find out how to give us feedback on your visit or healthcare experience, please visit and search for ‘PALS’, or speak to a member of staff on the ward or department you are in.