Gooseberry Alert 18 – “Staying Healthy Online”

Gooseberry Student ‘Thoughts’ of the week

Pictures often tell a story.  Look carefully at this picture. Think about and discuss the following questions.

What do you think is going on in this picture?
How are the toys feeling?
Why might they feel like this?

Describe in your own words what the artist might be trying to tell us.
Suggest one thing you could do to have a healthier life online.
Please share with your students.

Source: @MetDaanMagazine 29 September 2017

Gooseberry Teacher ‘Thoughts’ of the week

The online health and wellbeing of staff is just as important as that of the students.  Taking time to reflect how staff use technology outside of school for their work could help improve their online health and wellbeing.  Consider the following, are there guidelines to help support staff with their use of technology as a tool for their work and promote practical use of it outside of the classroom?  Are parents aware of how to make appropriate contact online with staff?  Are they aware of the expectations regarding appropriate reply and response time?  Is there a school etiquette for using technology to communicate, that helps promote health and wellbeing online?    Please share with your staff.

 Gooseberry Parent ‘Thoughts’ of the week

If you use email or an electronic messaging service to keep in contact with your child’s school please use them with care and consideration.  Most teachers work well beyond the end of the school day, so please think about the time chosen to make contact, consider how important the message is and whether there might be a better way to communicate.  Choosing the most effective way to communicate with your child’s school can often help reduce problems and resolve issues quickly.  Finding out the school policy on making contact using technology may help to decide on the best method and provide information on what to expect.  Please share with Parents.

 In the news… In the news… In the news… In the news… In the news…

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube had “not done enough” to clarify their policies”.  She simplified the websites’ terms and conditions with privacy law firm Schillings.

 The slimmed-down guides are a response to the Commissioner’s Growing Up Digital report, which found that most children do not understand the agreements they sign when they create social media accounts.

She said, “much more needs to be done” by all of the social media giants to “make them more accountable and transparent”.  The commissioner had criticised Instagram for its 17-page, 5,000-word terms and conditions.

To view the one page summaries for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube please visit and Login to Gooseberry Parent or Gooseberry Guru.

 What is alerting you this week?

Let us find what you need to know and share our tips with you.  Helping to keep everyone safer online.

Tweet your alert to: @Gooseberryplan

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Gooseberry Student

Town Level has been released and is now live (desktop access only).  Android and IOS release for Town Level in the next month.  Other exciting things have been happening on Gooseberry Planet over the summer.  Playground, Street and Village are now supported by audio on IOS and Google Play.  City Level, coming soon.

Gooseberry Parent

We are delighted to be able to introduce our new Parent Handouts22 resources that inform parents about what they need to know and how they can reduce the risks for themselves and their children, when choosing and using popular apps.  Access these resources through Gooseberry Parent and Gooseberry Guru.

Gooseberry Guru

Learn how to secure online social media accounts with our new ‘How To’ presentations on Snapchat and Instagram.  Access these resources and more through the Gooseberry Guru portal.

Want to know more?  Visit us as

Saharhah App

What is it? is a free app that syncs up to Snapchat and other social media.  It allows people to anonymously share things online they probably would never share face to face.  All you need are some basic personal details and you are free to use the un-monitored platform as you wish.

Sarahah came out originally in February earlier this year in the Middle East and was incredibly popular there and Northern parts of Africa. From there it grew into a more global App, and has now even become an increasingly popular app for both Northern America and European companies.

It originated from an Arabic website but has now been fully translated into English and has been developed into an app so it can link to all forms of Social Media.  Users are currently using Snapchat to post their Sarahah pages in their Snapchat story and encourage people to anonymously roast (Slate, verbally bash a person) or compliment them.  These anonymous messages can then put up the anonymous messages up on Snapchat and react/show others what they received from said anonymous people.

Who uses it and why?

Sarahah is popular with younger teens even though the app is recommended for age 17+ according to the App Store.  This app is popular probably due to its anonymity.  Some people online like the idea of being able to write an anonymous post to get out any pent up frustration towards a person or to critique a person they don’t get along with.

The App was originally developed a business tool and was intended for people to talk to their boss or give their bosses anonymous feedback on how they feel things are going within a working environment and give constructive criticism

How is it used now?

In essence, Sarahah is used as an anonymous way of telling people, be them colleagues, friends or family, what you really think about them without any means or way (unless you give a specific indication it’s you) of identification.

As with most social networking it is open to abuse and misuse.  This app enables people online to bully others and has the capacity to facilitate grooming online.

Why is it used?

Much like 4Chan, Reddit or YouTube it is a way for people to have anonymity if they want to. Something about a life without names or faces online can attract difficult and cruel people who would attack or compliment people with the page and remain anonymous without facing repercussions. If a person were to ask for compliments, they might use Sarahah as a way to get those compliments but with the risk of them getting attacked or roasted.

Similar things to this?

Ask.FM was a popular app back in 2013 and many people used it as a form of speaking to random people online and asking them random questions for a small laughter with friends, it became popular in the very early months of 2015 and since then, like many apps of this kind, has dwindled in popularity.

Yik-Yak is still a popular app that allows people to post things anonymously and other people within that area to see it. You can also search up a certain place and see the ‘Yaks’ that come from it, this too has the capacity to be aimed towards a certain person, people or company as a form of online bullying.

Reducing the risk of inappropriate contact:

  • Keep personal details private. If you must use this app, create a non descript username.
  • Avoid re-posting comments on other social media platforms.
  • Seek help or talk to a trusted adult if you see something that has upset you.
  • Avoid adding to or making comments on posts that have been made by other people online.
  • Secure your friend lists on all social media platforms.
  • Only be friends online with people you would be friends with in the real world.
  • Ideally, avoid using this app altogether or expect to be messaged with comments that you may find upsetting or offensive.

News articles from within this month:


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.