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.
Please read this article and use the comments to discuss how organisations working with children and especially schools are working to help young people. Schools have safeguards on their networks to prevent access to unsuitable sites but once a child is ‘let loose” with their tech they can access anything. Schools work with parents but in my experience parents tend not to attend online sessions specifically aimed at them and often feedback from schools shows those who do attend are the parents who are, or will, take control of their child’s Internet use. Those parents who do not attend are the ones who are often oblivious to the challenges of Internet use.
This article can be an excellent talking point in a Computing lesson. It could be a way to illicit from young people how they would like the Internet technology to evolve and would also be an excellent starter to look both at online safety and cyber security
The whole world is seems will be taking part in this event on the 5th February 2013. Which is great as it raises awareness of the possible dangers for young people when using the internet and sharing information and personal details especially through social networking sites, personal blogs and online gaming.
However I have to worry that for some young people this day will be remembered because they will be doing something different and they will be possibly “off timetable” and having fun. The worry is that at the end of the day the message about keeping oneself safe is then forgotten and they are back to the same lessons as always and they then do not apply the rules they have been espousing through the day and they put themselves in situations online which they are unable to control control. Young people sometimes are able to give all the right answers and behave in the “expected” way as is true with having special days to highlight,in this case potential dangers on line. It seems then that after the event the young people revert to type and ignore all the good practice they have been taught or indeed said they do when online. In the UK the ICT curriculum has been suspended and there is a review into a new curriculum to begin in 2014. Thankfully there are moves to have e-Safety and Safeguarding issues underpinning the work which will be done so that rather than focusing on one particular day, the message will be embedded into the curriculum. Hopefully this will create a generation of young people who are fully aware of the potential issues surrounding online engagement but who are also aware of what strategies to use to stay in control of the situation and report inappropriate behaviour to the authorities.
For more information about this global event Click Here
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