23rd Jul 2019
Is online safety taught and talked about in schools and other educational establishments? Is it discussed openly and honestly? Do our responsible adults have enough personal knowledge and confidence to cascade to young people?
Young people operate in a digital world; this is something we cannot escape from and is to be encouraged as an excellent resource for their learning and development. Yet are we sure that young people know how to keep themselves safe online? Do they dabble in privacy settings but then move onto the more exciting side of technology, blissfully unaware of the dangers they are potentially exposed to or their potential vulnerability online?
Educators need to take hold of this and include it as a vital part of their curricular work with young people. After all, our young people can and will continue to use technology in their day to day life – including their educational life – which poses a deep responsibility to educational establishments to promote and champion the online safety of young people.
Use this as an opportunity to enhance your learning environment with young people. You will be speaking to them about something that interests and excites them so they will engage. Learn with them and from them so that together we become a more digitally literate society, but one which recognises that there are still boundaries in the online world and that appropriate action needs to be taken when these boundaries are crossed.
Teach them to recognise the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour; to recognise cyber bullying in all its forms and to have the courage and self-belief to ensure that all incidents are reported so that they can be dealt with. Talk openly and honestly about your policy in dealing with cyber bullying, which in turn, will encourage reporting with the knowledge of good practice in addressing all bullying issues.
Safeguarding and protection must be paramount in all that we do with young people – which includes teaching them about the digital world. Ask the young people what they need help and support with digitally and ensure that it can be provided for them.
Our anti-bullying week partners @PrometheanUK1 also have some great information on Online Safety in the classroom https://resourced.classflow.co.uk/importance-online-safety-schools/