E-safety is dominating the curriculum this week as it is Safer Internet Day on the Tuesday 7th February! The tagline for this year’s day is “Be the change: Unite for a better internet”
Rather than focus all our efforts on a single day, the children will be participating in various activities across the week. Having said that, we believe that it is important to keep this message in the forefront of everyone’s minds all the time. We always display our ‘be safe’ messages wherever there is technology in the school (posters designed by the children themselves) and I hope you have seen the first of our videos in the e-safety series about Snapchat – Remember to “Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel” – Click below to watch:
We have also introduced an ‘E-safety squad’; a group of experienced and enthusiastic children whose job it is to be there if anyone needs help or advice!
E-safety is taken very seriously at Ermine Primary. We understand that the children love to use the technology that for many of them is freely available and something they have grown up with. Like so many things though, there are risks that everyone needs to be aware of, not to mention the responsibility we all have to ensure we keep ourselves and others safe from harm.
In assemblies this week, we have discussed the fact that if you met a stranger in the street, you wouldn’t go up to them and strike up a conversation that ended up you handing over personal information, such as your
name or email address. In fact, you wouldn’t even talk to them at all! Yet, when people of all ages are online, quite often this happens. Children especially, strike up a conversation over an online game, which quickly turns into what might feel like a friendship but ultimately this person on the other end of a headset or message is someone they have never met and certainly never seen before – someone who could even be lying about who they are. It is so important that we make our children aware of the potential dangers of strangers online and how they can feel like they have struck up a brand new friendship that might feel comfortable. We as adults, also have a duty to ensure we monitor our children’s internet use and messaging and put parental controls in place.
We also discuss the age-appropriateness of using things like facebook and playing games designed for older children.
As well as all that, we also discuss cyber-bullying. The terrible way in which some people, from behind a computer screen, feel as if they can say anything they like about someone else without consequence. This can happen over text or via a messaging app. I’m sure we are all aware of how damaging this can be for a young person, particularly when this can happen at school and at home. Part of the message to the children is about how these comments can be saved and printed out if needs be to act as evidence – if anything like this has happened to anyone, we would recommend you do this as well as speaking to a trusted adult.
Finally, we discuss how posting pictures of yourself and others online can pose a problem. How much information can a total stranger get from a photo? After all, we can’t control who else shares and sees this once it is ‘out there’. Future employers may also find it at a later date – this may affect any potential employment. The message there is just consider the impact of posting something online, be it message or image, as it could create a negative reaction.
Ultimately though, we want our young people to grow up using technology and feeling comfortable and confident around it. We want our young people to BE AWARE of the potential risks. We want everyone to take responsibility for making the internet a safer place, so keep talking to your children about their use of and experiences of the internet – for the most part it will be a positive conversation but we all need to be vigilant and support each other if our children need it!