- Having a computer with internet access should be seen as equally essential as having a school bag, uniform or pen and paper….It is unacceptable that the digital divide is growing with 35% of families having no access to the internet and around a million children having no computer at home.
Jim Knight School’s Minister Sept 2008
The internet is now an indispensable part of modern life (both economic, educational, and social), - and indeed seen by many as essential as electricity or running water. This means that the protection argument has to move on from one of restricting and “bolting down the risks” to educating and empowering users to equip themselves with online life skills so they can manage risks – just as we do in every other part of our lives. Schools have such an important role in this regard and schools have a unique role to talk about the ethical and moral aspects of technology through ICT, PSHE, Citizenship, and SEAL areas of the curriculum.
We must always remember that one of the key roles of schools is to prepare children for life outside of the school gate, a world which now includes a growing digital space which children love and call their own.
But how can schools support children and integrate the subject of e-safety within the formal curriculum - both within primary and secondary schools ? How can local authorities and schools train their staff and ensure this issue is included in continual professional development programmes and within teacher training?
Ultimately schools need to be helping children acquire three new Rs for media literacy:
REPUTATION Helping children to recognise that what goes online, stays online. It's vital that we help children appreicate the ramifications of inappropriate postings or uploading inappropriate photos of themselves (or others). We also need to help them actively question the reliability of content and assess messages and offers.
RESILIENCE; We need to help children build resilience; to be strong and confident, know how to respond to risky online situations, (including how to report abuse) and how to use the technology to help others.
I can offer the following services:
- Coming into your school to talk about cyberbullying incidents and help the school develop strategies for prevention.
- Running training for school staff on Web2 applications and understanding the appeal of these environments, the opportunities but also the way children can be at risk as well as how they can respond to, and prevent cyberbullying – including preventing teachers from being the victims of cyberbullying.
- Helping schools and Local Authorities develop effective whole school e-safety policies and their own e-safety education resources.
- Provide resources for inclusion within the curriculum and assemblies.
- Running an assembly or in-depth session with year groups looking at mobiles.
- Write e-safety content for school websites or virtual learning environments.
- Help the school with its communication to parents about e-safety and ensuring that AUP policies are not just in place but are effective and make a difference.
Over the last few years I have written and overseen the production of education resources for teachers and trainee teachers including
This video aimed at the secondary school workforce helps explain the need to engage with this issue and includes advice on where to get help, handling disclosure, embedding the subject into the curriculum, and further resources.
This set of resources includes 5 video tutorials presented by serving primary school teaching staff. The video tutorials cover a range of e-safety issues including:
- E-safety as a whole school issue
- Protecting myself as a professional
- Helping Parents protect their children online
- E-safety and Children with Special Education Needs (SEN)
- Handling disclosures