People are being asked to play their part for a better internet as part of Safer Internet Day 2016.
On Tuesday 9 February, the internationally recognised event aims to educate children and young people about how to stay safe online.
To celebrate this year’s annual event, St Francis Church of England Aided Junior School, a school judged to be outstanding in a recent review of online safety, will open its doors to parents and carers.
Deputy head teacher, Lisa Lakey, will begin the day by presenting the Safer Internet Day assembly for pupils, the E-Safety Committee, parents and carers. Everyone will then split up into teams and write questions for opposing teams based on the presentation.
With their parents and carers, pupils in Years 3 and 4 will watch videos about online bullying and how to block and report this behaviour. In groups of six, they’ll discuss how to communicate online and what to do if it happens to them. The youngsters will then create information, posters and video blogs which will be published on the school’s website.
Years 5 and 6 will focus on social media, in particular hate speech. The pupils will lead the debate by talking about what might drive somebody to send an unkind message, how jokes can be taken out of context and how the words can hurt people’s feelings.
The students will then create their own ‘digital rights,’ focussing on how they can put them into practice online and then publish them on the school’s E-safety page.
Jane Wilkinson, head teacher of St Francis CofE (Aided) Junior School said: “Here in St Francis E-safety is an integral part of all areas of school life. Staff, children, parents and carers work in partnership to ensure that the most recent information is shared throughout the school and community.
“Over the past three years we have purchased Playbooks, Kindle Fire and Kobo readers so that children can be shown, in a safe environment, how to be responsible when using these devices.
“It’s really important children know the potential dangers, but most of all safety measures they can take to ensure their safety. We’re always alert to the fact that, although the internet is a fantastic tool and resource for both teaching and learning, we’ll always need to be mindful that there are dangers of using the World Wide Web too.”
The independent chair of the Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board, Jane Geraghty, said: “Children can access the internet and social media so easily these days that there is always a potential risk of them being involved in the dangers posed by the internet.
“By being involved in their child’s online activity, parents and carers can encourage their children to use the internet positively and help them avoid getting involved with strangers online or cyber bullying. We want parents and carers to be confident that their children know what to use the internet for and what to avoid online.
“There are many websites to support people in keeping their children safe online. They can get advice from their child’s school and create conversations with their children about online safety. By doing this, parents and carers can build trust with their children so that if an issue does occur; their child will be confident talking about it.”
To tackle E-safety Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board has created the Erase brand to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE). The information around Erase – which stands for Educate and raise awareness of sexual exploitation – offers parents and carers advice on how to communicate with their children with regards to who they speak to online and offline.
For more information about Safer Internet Day and how to interact with your children about being safe online, visit http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2016. For more information about Durham Local Safeguarding board visit http://www.durham-lscb.org.uk/.