I am not usually a fan of annual events as it seems that all the focus is placed on the one day and then we put the knowledge gained on that day away for another twelve months. Online safety for our young people is more than simply a one day event. I often worry when I go into schools to deliver online safety that the young people are attentive for that session and then the points made are ignored again until the “e-safety man” visits the school again. We know as teachers that we need to keep revisiting learning and make sure that our learning objectives are secure and over time we achieve this and the person moves on in their learning. The same should be done with online safety teaching. We should embed the message into our curriculum it should be mentioned each day and in each key stage and classroom. We should seek out opportunities to push home the message about being responsible on line and being able to inform a trusted adult what is happening. As teachers we should be vigilant but also aware of the dangers of young people “following the crowd” of young people “trying out ‘cool’ new sites”. Children have always been children and thankfully they explore their world and try things to see what happens we cannot stop this nor would we want to really. We do want them to be safe though but we can’t be there for them all the time. We need to give them as much information as we can about the what is out there and how to deal with it especially peer pressure. My youngest daughter recently pointed me to an article in the Daily Mail highlighting a new social media site aimed at 13 -17 year old. The Snapchat millennials the ‘Digital Natives’ ( don’t really like that term). You know the ones who understand the technology the ones we are relying on for the future of engineering and commerce. The social media site is called Yellow and the article paints a particularly disturbing picture of life on line for 13-17 year olds.
We are hopefully getting geared up for next week and hopefully going to ensure that our young people will take on board the messages we are sending. We will hopefully look at what we are doing and decide that the annual SID will be only the start of a year of giving our young people a constant message on how to ensure they remain safe online.