As technology continues to develop at an alarming rate, the internet becomes increasingly available to children through a myriad of devices which are becoming increasing more effective and efficient. This means the importance of supporting children to stay safe online is greater than ever. With this in mind pupils and staffwelcomed the organisation Childnet into School to give presentations about staying safe when using the internet.

Throughout the day representatives from Childnet talked to different year groups, starting with pupils as young as age 7. Each age appropriate presentation provided pupils with some essential tools so they can enjoy the benefits of the internet safely.

For the younger year groups internet safety issues were explored using storytelling, discussion, cartoon video clips and scenarios. Whereas the older children discussed more sophisticated concepts such cyber bullying, social networking, grooming and texting.

Later in the evening Childnet also presented to parents providing them with useful information about parental controls, personal information, cyberbullying, gaming and social networking sites. The informationthat was sharedaimed to help parents feel empowered so they can confidently safeguard their children against any risks they may encounter online.

Childnet presenter Kate Edwards explained, “Our objective is to not only give parents some helpful information about keeping their children safe online, but to give them the skills to engage positively in their child’s use of technology. One very useful skill parents can learn is to ask their children positive questions which will encourage conversation rather than shut down dialogue. Questions like ‘What are your favourite apps?’ and ‘Can you show me how snapchat/Minecraft works?’”

Deputy Head of Pastoral Care at Dean Close Prep, Jonathan Harris, explained, “Technological development is gathering pace at an eye watering rate, it is incredible to think that it was just 6 years ago that Apple launched their first-generation iPad. Whilst the internet is both a very exciting and useful resource, children can be left increasingly vulnerable as parents sometimes struggle to keep up. Through the Childnet presentations we can offer both parents and pupils invaluable advice to help keep children safe and to empower pupils to take some responsibility for their own online safety.”