School IT Blog

E-safety: Are Primary Schools Responsible For The “snappening”?

Mon 13 October, 2014

Like it or not, the pupils in your school are growing up immersed in a digital society. Most have unfiltered access to the Internet from a very young age and lots of them have 24/7 access to their own technology. As mobile device use becomes ubiquitous and device ownership passes down to younger and younger children, we are failing the children in our school if we do not honestly, regularly and frankly discuss e-safety.

Here at Soft Egg, we think schools have two real options:

1.  Place your arms in the air, run around screaming and shout louder and louder “Has anyone thought of the kids?”

2.  Ensure that your school is much more frank, focussed and methodical about the way that it teaches children about e-safety.

Traditionally, in primary schools, e-safety has been a short module that we teach at the beginning of the year. Much like sex and relationships education, teachers are keen to get it out of the way and move on to “real learning”.  However for our children to really be taught how to be safe, we need to mention e-safety in every lesson that we might encounter it. To some extent we even need to engineer situations in the classroom where we can be frank and honest about the challenges that our children face in their lives.

As the new programmes of study for computing require KS2 children to be taught to, “Use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly,” your school needs to decide soon how you are going to teach e-safety.

We suggest that you follow these three steps: Discuss, Assess and Prevent.

1. Discuss the types of technology that the children in your class use on a daily basis, get them to be honest about the games they play, websites the visit and the technology that they use.  You can do this in a variety of ways to ensure that it is suitable for the children in your class, for example, you could present them with a collection of images of technology and ask them if they have seen them at home, or you could write a set of statements for them to look at and decide whether they agree or disagree.

2. Get the children to risk assess each of the main aspects of technology use, e.g. the Internet, Computer games and electronic devices. What dangers are present? What could go wrong? This will require you to create an atmosphere in your classroom where the children can sensibly and honestly discuss difficult issues, without being silly or taking it too far.

3. Then ask the children to think of ways that they can prevent these issues occurring and what they should do when faced with them. You should aim to give the children a simple structure for dealing with e-safety issues when then arise. (This will involve your school having a structure in place first). You should get the children to create a resource showing their learning and creatively display it in your classroom, so that you can easily revisit it every time you meet a potential e-safety issue in the course of your class’s normal learning.

This three step method will allow e-safety to be taught at an appropriate level for each class, it will ensure that it is a regular discussion point in all classrooms and it will force you as a school to have a whole school approach to e-safety.

If you need help with anything that you have read in this article then Soft Egg can help. We have Consultants who can help you assess your equipment, set a vision for your school or assist you when making a purchase. We can also provide you with a great IT support package, amongst other services. If you are interested then call us on: 08450948492, or email us on: getintouch@softegg.co.uk