Childnet International conducted E-safety and digital resilience workshops with Upper School pupils, parents and staff. In light of the recent Children’s Commissioner’s report highlighting the effects of social media on 8 to 12-year-olds and its influence on children’s wellbeing, Channel 5 News came into school to film the workshop with Year 6.
Research suggests that children as young as 8 years old use social media like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Although age restrictions of social media platforms are set to 13 years and older, here at Finton we therefore strongly believe that it is never too early to start with E-safety training. As part of a wider initiative to address online safety, we hosted E-safety training, in partnership with Childnet International. Somewhat a coincidence, the Children’s Commissioner’s Life in ‘Likes’ report, published on the same day as the training took place on 4th January 2018, stressed that Year 6 and 7 (11-12 years old) is a crucial age for internet awareness training.
It is important to acknowledge that our children are exposed to an unprecedented amount of technology from birth, and that even parents’ own usage of social media may affect their children significantly. Therefore, what previously only seemed to have been a commonly discussed issue in secondary schools, has now gained a lot of attention in primary schools and from parents of young children alike.
At Finton we teach Upper School children how to handle digital friendships online and be aware of the dangers involving online predators and cyber-bullying from an early age. For example children may not be aware that they are putting themselves at risk when posting an image with their school uniform in front of their home; but not only does this show where the child lives but also which school she/he attends. Therefore, a lack of awareness of the dangers, may lead to children revealing personal information on social media, without knowing that this may land in the wrong hands.