Responsibilities of the Educational Institution

I am being ask all the time whose job is it to keep children safe online? Where do the responsibilities begin and end for the educational institution?

There is such a big debate with these questions and the truth is it is all our responsibility to protect children both off and online. To be effective in doing this there must be cohesive approach that involves children, school staff and parents. A school community ethos with all parties working collaboratively together.

It is no secret that parents expect schools to deal with problems that are created online outside of school. This is now expected and accepted as the way it is but it is not and must not be the only way. It is time for everyone of us to adjust the way in which we view and use the web and adapt to the changes that are happening around us. It is a fact that many parents cannot or will not step forward to help themselves or their children when there is a problem online or adjust their own behaviour to protect themselves from online threats. Many believe that ignoring the problem and pushing the responsibility elsewhere forces our schools to educate our children, parents view online safety as a problem for schools to solve, leaving some parents totally unaccountable and free to remain blissfully unaware of the threats they and their children face online. The truth is our schools need support and guidance about teaching online safety effectively. To improve the health and wellbeing of everyone online we must all accept that it is a collective responsibility and should support our schools in recalibrating roles and responsibilities when it comes to teaching and modelling positive and safe behaviour online.

Children are sharing and exposing so much personal data and using tools online such as live video streaming with no guidance or effective education. These tools, apps and websites are great for adults, but can make our children targets without supervision or a secure set of skills and the knowledge to use the web independently.

Online gaming and any app that can connect with other people is landing children in hot water. Even those children who we think are street wise and sensible fall victim to grooming, scams, phishing, gambling and other online vulnerabilities. With the average age of a gamer placed at 32 years old, we wonder why children are easy targets. Evidence is suggesting that by blocking their access to the web; this will create an underground instead of an open conversation culture. In short, we (and that is everyone who uses the web) should be teaching our children how to behave positively online and the skills to prevent, identify and respond safely when faced with threats online. The key is effective education for all.

Are parents fully aware and what products and resources could help them?

Parents are aware, but in most cases, are the worse culprits. There are so many websites out there and technologies to help parents and unfortunately a very small percentage go and look. 65% look at their school for help and 41% want more help. You have Internet Matters, Parent Zone which are all great, but again Gooseberry Planet is the only company that using technology to engage with the parent and provides them with real time feedback about how their child is responding to real life online scenarios. Our system emails the parent every time the child plays and the parent can see the response and follow it up with that all important conversation. We offer videos and information on the exact area that their child might need to improve. It all helps with the vital open conversation. We are even going to create a game for the grownups. Why should all the children have all the fun

We also offer Parent Workshops, look at the feedback we are receiving.

Both Emma and myself were very impressed with all aspects of the presentation. The materials used were hard hitting, informative and eye opening. Stella was a fantastic presenter, keeping everybody engaged and relating the content to her own life experiences in a way that made everything she discussed real. It was also clear that Stella was not ‘anti-internet’ for children, instead encouraging parents to have open and frank discussions with their children to support their use of the Internet. The parents were comfortable with Stella and they were happy to ask questions and specific advice. I would highly recommend your parents workshops to anybody serious about keeping their children safe online.

Online Safety: A Global Issue and a Challenge

I don’t know if you have noticed, but there seems to be so much on the news now about how individuals are being targeted via online scams or games that we need to watch out for.  It really does make me wonder how Ofsted and the DfE can expect teachers to stay on top of all the new and emerging online threats and trends.  It is a challenge to keep yourself safe, let alone your whole school community.

Online safety really is a global issue with parents in France being warned about the Blue Whale craze, which started in Russia.  As with most internet threats and trends, Blue Whale is now targeting the UK. It really staggers me that people can go to such lengths to….READ MORE.

Have you heard of SimSimi? This app is an anonymous chat app linked to online bullying.  It has been suspended to download in the Republic of Ireland, but children in Northern Ireland can still download it. READ MORE.

Have you ever had a chance to look at Gooseberry Planet?  We are committed to keeping your whole school community safe online. We are about making a different and not just ticking a box.

We are aim to educate the whole school community but children are particularly vulnerable and are exposed to online threats daily.  It everyone’s responsibility to help them navigate their way around the internet to ensure that their experiences online are enjoyable but most importantly, safe.  The more children we can teach about online dangers and how to respond the safer the future will be online for us all.

Please take a minute and have a look at the range of support available.  See how a game that is part of a 1-hour planned lesson can really begin to make a difference in changing the online behaviours of children, staff and parents/carers.

25% of secondary school students do NOT recall if they have been taught E-Safety in the last 12 months and a quarter of students have little confidence in their teacher’s knowledge of Online Safety.

With 65 % of parents now seeking Online Safety advice from their child’s school and 41% saying they NEED or WELCOME more advice, we want to support you in supporting them.  Gooseberry Parent emails the parent every time their child finishes a targeted and teacher led, Online Safety game with the results.  By engaging in this way, it will give you the opportunity to communicate with the hard to reach and vulnerable parents that might not normally engage with you or their child.

Gooseberry Planet is proud to offer a 12 week programme for each and every child in Primary education.  Our programme covers the necessary requirements in the updated PSHE and IT curriculum.

Give me a call and I would be happy to work with you, show you how it works to help keep everyone safe online.

Parents that REALLY need the help with, and Roblox

We are meeting an increasing number of parents through our Gooseberry Planet Parent Workshops and getting independent enquiries from Parents, wanting to know more about Gooseberry Planet.  More and more are asking why their child is not using Gooseberry Planet in school as part of their Online Safety education and how they can best support their child and improve their own level of digital literacy.

This parental interest along with an increasing number of media coverage highlighting the dangers of supposedly child friendly apps, is starting to show a genuine awakening of a key group of stakeholders in a child’s education.  It also highlights the need for Online Safety education for all.

You will be familiar I am sure with, and now Roblox and the dangers that these pose to all children, not just those who we deem as being the most vulnerable.  I know from my own experiences, how challenging it is to say informed of the latest online trends, threats and dangers.  Most recently, What’s App has found its way back into the media spotlight for all of the wrong reasons.  Parents are struggling and 64% are looking to schools to help them.  There of course is an argument to be made over who has responsibility to educate children, parents and teachers on Online Safety but the fact that parents are approaching schools is a very significant signal that they need help.

Are you equipped with the right information as a school to give your parents? Do you have the resources to offer your parents? Do you wish that you had the most up to date information to share with them, but just don’t have the time?

Have you seen Kayleigh’s love story yet? Or the interview from the mother on This Morning, both are naturally upsetting and should warn us all about the all too realistic consequences of facing online dangers. This type of online behaviour is happening right now to someone online.  Think it could never happen to you or someone that you know, love and care for?  Think again.  We are all at risk when we go online.

Being a Mum I am challenged daily with my children being online, in the past my own lack of education about the internet, has put my own children at risk, which is one of reasons that motivated and prompted me to start Gooseberry Planet.  We need to cautious, but we also need to embrace being online.  To help achieve this we need to educate our children and empower them to take responsibility for their actions.  We can achieve this through modelling safe online behaviour ourselves, taking responsibility for our own actions and internet usage and most importantly create boundaries and opportunities for open dialogue.

Our Parent Workshops are great for those who attend, but what about the other parents that REALLY need the help?  Are you confident that enough is being done in your school to support children, parents and teachers?

We are currently developing a new Parent platform as part of our extensive Gooseberry Planet world. Our new system will send each registered Parent the minute the child finishes a Gooseberry Planet scenario along with the response that has been given by the child. It is a quick and effective way of communicating with your parents, the knowledge that their child has on a particular topic within Gooseberry Planet.  We also support this feedback with parent friendly resources to help keep the conversation going at home, helping to create boundaries that have been lost or blurred with an ever increasing amount of internet usage.

We are the only Online Safety programme that offers 12 planned and structured weeks of teaching and learning activities about Online safety, to each and every child between the ages of 5-13 years in each and every year of their primary school education.  We are using technology to teach technology, which is kept up to date in response to the latest content, trends and curriculum requirements.  We create new content daily in response too new and emerging threats.  With so many apps and games emerging from the app stores, it is our job to keep you updated.  Also all of our teaching resources comply with the latest PSHE 2017 curriculum.  These were extremely important updates as the new curriculum references Online Safety specifically.

It is an impossible task to ask your teachers know about them all or spend the time to work out what they all do or how they are connected.  Some teachers are even challenged with their own internet usage and digital literacy.  We have done the work for you and are proud to offer lessons on Online Gaming, Click Jacking, webcams etc. as well as the more common subject themes of Online Bullying and People Online.

Let us help you to raise awareness and reduce the risk to your children, parents and teachers online.  Simple and effective changes in behaviour can make a difference for us all, but most importantly can and do help our children respond safely, behave responsibly and begin to enjoy their digital life as digital citizens online.