Internet safety is most certainly something which crosses my mind every day. I’m a blogger, a lot of my life, including that of my family, is on line and I am careful with the things I do. But that’s me. That’s my lookout for myself and I’m an adult, I’m capable, I think. I’m not sure however, that I’d thought much about my children looking after themselves on-line too. I mean they’re very young and at this stage they don’t have their own email addresses or their own profiles so it’s not something I have to worry about is it?
I am very careful on their behalf so isn’t that enough? And when they’re on line I make sure child controls are on and do my level best to monitor what they’re watching on YouTube. There have however, been a couple of occasions that I’ve had to fly like the wind to the next room because I’ve overheard a banned word. The thing about the internet is that we just can’t ever really have 100% control, it’s ever changing and ever growing. We can just do our best and keep being vigilent. But that doesn’t stop with monitoring what our children do on line now, it moves on to how they will use the internet when they are older themselves. Education is key. I went to a workshop held by BT and Unicef last week and I realised that when mychildren are older they need to know quite a few facts and be aware of the pitfalls. Here’s just a few things I’ve come away from the workshop thinking about.
- A simple status update could alert people to where we are.
- We need to know how to make our profiles completely private so that only those we know can see it.
- A photograph can give away too much.
- What can friends of friends see from us?
My children and I attende the workshop which is just like those rolled out in schools by BT and Unicef to teach young people about being safe on line. It’s called ‘The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters’ and is a programme aimed to teach children, parents and teachers about using the internet safely. Now while F & J are far too little at the moment to have facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it IS very much on their radar. They know that it’s a part of Mummy’s job, are interested and at some point they will grow and be in control of their own on-line profiles. It may not be necessary for me to worry today but if I get sorted everythign we need to know now then I don’t have to worry so much later. Education is key!
So far, 7,378 children, parents and teachers have taken part in the sessions at Unicef UK’s Right Respecting Schools, which put the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of their policies and practice. As a result, nine in ten parents say they will talk to their child more about internet safety. The programme is there to empower children to become cnfidentand safe digital citizens enabling them to enjoy the benefits of the internet which is rapidly evolving. The programme says that 91 of parents now know how to talk to their child and what action to take if a problem occurs. The internet can be a scary place and we absolutely don’t want it to be so this kind of programme is exactly what is needed. There have been 300 workshops benefitting over 7,000 children so that simply cannot be a bad thing!
The workshop was fairly hard hitting in places with content I’m not sure I really wanted my 6 year old to see just yet, it was uncomfortable but I’m glad that we did it, talked about it and have this bank going forwards. Sometimes it’s important to put yourself in a position of discomfort in order to not visit that feeling any more deeply later on. A bit like speculating to accumulate.
It was very good food for thought and a very important programme for slightly older children than mine but one which will be remembered and benefit later on. Actress Keeley Hawes, a Unicef UK supporter and long-time supporter of ‘The Right Click’ Internet Safety Matters’ programme says ‘As a parent, I know how important these issues are and how many parents and caregivers feel when it comes to setting guidelines and giving advice to children. I think these workshops are brilliant – they get to the heart of the issues we face. I have certainly learnt a lot from my involvement and regularly put this to use when talking to my own children about their use of online and social media platforms.’
I have to say I’m very much with Keeley. Thanks to Unicef and BT we can hopefully continue to keep this important programme working to help children and their families and teachers all over the UK bcome digitally savvy and have a safe, important, educational and fun time on-line. It’s a programme of positivity and I myself, like Keeley, have certainly benefitted.
We were asked to the workshop by BT and Unicef who also treated us to a trip up the top of the BT Tower. So, after the work we went in the lift to see London from up high in what used to be the rotating restaurant. The restaurant has been closed for many years and it’s a real, invitation only, honour to have been asked to the top. What an experience it was to see London all around us as we sat and ate. I think it was probably one of the best things we’ve ever done in London for a vantage point. I thought the London Eye was cool but this was something else and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days! I feel very lucky to have had both the experience of learning from BT and Unicef and also to have received my certificate after visiting the top of the tower.
Thank you BT and Unicef, this was a real treat and also provided us with extremely important information. See here for all the information you need about the programme: http://www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools/training-and-support/internet-safety/