Dear Parents & Carers
We are all determined that our children should be excited about the world they are entering into and the opportunities they will have. Technology has shrunk the world, giving us access to areas which used to be so much harder to reach. This is great for our children; it increases the range of opportunities for them by a magnitude beyond calculation. And they will need to embrace this world. Our current cohort of students will enjoy their retirement parties sometime around the year 2075. There is no point in trying to imagine the jobs they will have; they mostly don’t exist at this time and even more traditional jobs such as policing, teaching, etc will change beyond recognition.
In order to do right by our young people, we must tread a fine line. They deserve to be excited about their world and will need to be fluent in technology and confident in its use. At times this can conflict directly with our desire to keep them safe. Keeping them physically safe seems so straightforward compared to keeping them safe online, but there are things we can do as parents and educators to get the right balance. This aspect of safeguarding is always on the agenda but has come roaring to the front of it this week. I have been impressed with the quality of the discussions between staff and students around school about online safety. I would like to encourage this discussion both in school and at home and have asked our ICT department to provide some recommendations to help these discussions take place. They have suggested the following:
- Have a discussion. What social media do they use? How many accounts do they have? What do they like about them? Make it a conversation, not an interrogation; you want your child to be open with you about what they do online.
- No personal details. We teach our students about how online stalkers can use personal details to blackmail, threaten or groom children. This includes posting locations with pictures or sharing personal details on account bios. Remind your child about what is and what is not OK to be shared online.
- Set their accounts to private. If an account is private, then only people your child chooses can see what they post. It’s important they know who they are talking to, that they are not talking to strangers. They may not like it, but this is where we must be firm with them for their own safety.
- Know where to get information. The Safer Internet website provides information on how to set privacy settings or how different social media apps and websites work.
None of this is ‘new news’, but it’s possibly the right time to have these discussions. If we are all doing this over the next few days, then we increase the impact many times over.
Many thanks for your support
Andy Perry – Head TeacherClick here to return to the current newsletter