Safer Internet Day

This week there has been a lot in the news about the negative impact of Social Media on Children’s mental health. The Science and Technology Committee concluded in a report that social media companies must be subject to a legal duty of care to help protect young people’s health and wellbeing when accessing their sites. However, with this as teachers and parents we would still have the main role in teaching the children how to use the internet and social media responsibly and safely. With this in mind on Tuesday it was ‘Safer Internet Day’ and in assembly I spoke to the children about consent. We focused on firstly making sure they have consent to go on particular games, websites and apps and also about having consent if they post pictures or videos of friends and family. It also included some information about giving consent to websites when you sign up for user accounts and how companies collect data about them. In the assembly there were lots of very sensible answers to questions, with many children saying they always check with an adult before they click anything, if they are unsure. This was very promising to hear. However, in class discussions, both teachers and teaching assistants have spoken to me with concerns about how some individual children are not truly aware of how important it is, not to have contact with strangers and sharing personal details. One quote from a child was… “ if you know their name then it is ok to message because they are not a stranger.” We feel we discuss on-line safety a lot with the children and are continually making them aware of appropriate behaviour, but obviously we need to keep the discussion going. Staff are also rather concerned about other online behaviour that the children  discuss, whether it is they types of games they play, amount of time spent using the internet or having their own accounts like You Tube. There is a huge amount of peer pressure to be able to use certain sites and apps, but please don’t just have a ‘it will be alright’ attitude, do think ‘what if…’ and use appropriate filters  and monitor your child’s internet use.  

Attached to the newsletter is guide to different apps and sites and also a guide to Fortnight from Norfolk police which might be useful if you are thinking of letting your child play it.