We sometimes assume what is best for the children when it comes to e-safety. Much of the research I read aims to inform us about all the bad things children can be exposed to or are exposing themselves to, but with a few exceptions all it really does is tell us what children are doing (or using) which gives little in the way of context. All of this is very limited in use to those on the front-line, and what’s more the media tends to cherry pick certain facts causing sensationalism and parental panic.
With Safer Internet Day fast approaching (Tues 10th Feb) we all have a perfect opportunity to really raise the bar, and use this day (or week) as a stepping stone into a longer term initiative within individual schools and getting that message out to the wider community.
As with last year, the slogan this year is “Let’s create a better internet together.”
Using that slogan we can really start engaging with the children. e-Safety needs to be moving away from the ‘stand in front of a large assembly and tell the children about all the dangers’ norm. There are occasions when that may be needed, but not all the time. Instead, use Safer Internet Day to start interacting with the children, for example:
- Split them into smaller focus groups and get their thoughts and views: what do they do, where do they go, what problems or concerns do they come across?
- Explore their creative and inspiring minds; give them a problem and allow them to collaborate on a solution;
- Set up a debate of opposing views and opinions;
- Set homework: get the children to go home and ask the parents/carers about their fears.
- Explore it from a project perspective: using the parental concerns, have one group discussing the problems, have other groups coming up with creative solutions, have others come up with the ways in which you can get these messages out to the wider community. For example you could create posters, but embed those posters with videos using Aurasma.
- Film it, make a drama about it, blog it, put it on your school Facebook page, your Twitter feed, or create a new Pinterest page.
- Think of ideas beyond the normal child protection or cyberbullying issues but use the wider remit of e-safety such as copyright, plagiarism, self image, privacy and much more. (This will also give you future ideas to embed into a wider curriculum).
- Let me know what you’ve been doing and what you have achieved. If I get enough submissions I’ll look at making a new webpage or even a new site to celebrate the creativity and inspire others. I may even look at it as a longer term initiative with competitions etc.
To give you some inspiration, take a look at this YouTube video (13 minutes) that was kindly shared by Adam Welch on Twitter – it’s a fantastic video exploring the challenges of raising a digital native. In the words of the speaker, Devorah Heitner PH.D., “We need to co-create solutions with them that take advantage of their creativity and our wisdom.”
[youtube id=”eRQdAOrqvGg” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=””]
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