I am the generation who should know; I grew up around computers and assumed that I knew what is worth knowing. As a teen I saw PC’s give way to laptops and then the rise of tablets. I watched dial-up, enjoyed broadband and got hooked on mobile data. I cringe at the indelible family email for facebook is my scene. Online shopping and banking are a birth right. However, in the digital world that children inhabit, I am behind the times.
This week I joined an e-safety training session with teachers, parents and members of the police. Despite a successful Safer Internet Day at school, I came away realising that the digital world our children inhabit is far removed from what we imagine to be. The stranger danger of our time is not candies at a street corner. It is the digital creep with in app friendships chatting, flattering, infiltration and manipulation happening right in our living rooms.
Assuming immunity, or blaming children, is at best naïve. Yesterday’s survey of a key stage 1 class at our school revealed the majority are familiar with game that has been flagged for being high risk. As a school we have followed this up however there are multitudes of apps we could list with similar warnings. Nonetheless, all too soon there will be new apps with new new dangers. Perhaps, we can no longer pretend to have all the answers, only routes by which to search for them. Googling an app or game with the word “risks” is a useful place to begin.
Like the Uncle Ben's advert, your children will try to imitate the behaviours they see around them. They will pick up on how their friends and family members interact with apps, devices, digital content and others. This week has begun a conversation in school about how to do this in a positive and safe way. However, it is a conversation that is far from conclusion. Do make time to discuss e-safety at home this half term break. We will look for opportunities to do so next half term too.
For further advice on how to begin an e-safety conversation take a look at the NSPCC website:
Before you go, do enjoy, our final daily teacher podcast by Miss Caton and Mrs Stevens!