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New member joins Team Gooseberry

We are very pleased to announce that Matt Lovegrove joins Team Gooseberry.

Matt will be working on the educational content of the platform, he will also support and help with the training of Gooseberry Guru’s and attending events.

As a practising primary school teacher, he found a real interest in online safety; there was something about it that really clicked with him and he felt that there’s little more important than helping young people stay safe. After completing a series of courses within this area, he started offering training to local schools and from there, in 2016 and launched his own training provider: Engage eSafety. In 2017 he was awarded an EPICT Licence in online safety and in 2018 he started to consult for other related organisations. Matt still teaches part-time, but spend a lot of other time training teachers and parents, talking at conferences, taking lessons in schools, creating resources, blogging and making videos.

“I’m delighted to be joining Gooseberry Planet as a educational consultant. What they do is so unique and inspiring and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ve been a keen fan of theirs since they were founded and know that they want the very best for the children, teachers and parents who use their services”. Matt Lovegrove

Gooseberry Planet & Kidscape

Sitting in my kitchen a few years ago with my sister discussing how much her children were online and her challenges of trying to reduce the amount of time her boys were spending on a screen.  Trying to talk to our 2 boys about the risks involved were ignored and dismissed.  Like most parents we all have challenges with our children thinking we know nothing about the world of being.  My eldest son was off to secondary school and so desperately wanted a smartphone. He had a flip phone, which did the job perfectly, but not what he wanted to take to school.  My youngest was just working out iPads and laptop but still too young for phones.  Like most young adults, he didn’t think I knew anything about being online.  I did try the talks and then resorted to Google to try and find something that I thought realistically a 12-year-old would engage with.  I found a large amount of information for me as an adult and very little for him.  There were bits, but the level of content was far too young for him.

Gooseberry Planet was born out of my own frustration of not being able to find anything suitable for my sons and to help parents like my sister, who struggle with the digital divide.  I wanted to create something for the whole school community.  I don’t believe that it is solely the school’s responsibility, I feel that it is all our responsibility. I knew my children loved playing games so why not create an education tool using gamification.  It was quite literally a light bulb moment and the concept was born. The games that we have produced are conversation starters. The children love Taff, collecting stars and scoring points, but it also helps teachers create a conversation without rolling eyes and “here we go again, online safety”. Being a parent myself, I know how hard it is to stay up to date with the latest trends, this is what drives me.  I want parents and teachers to be armed with all the tools.  I have so many friends that struggle with the digital divide and it became my mission to help both teachers and parents as well as the students.

I wanted to make sure that schools have a complete toolkit and to cover the areas that are most difficult to talk about which include grooming, sexually exploited and bullying.

Bullying is very close to my heart. I was bullied badly for 3 years of my secondary school life, I never told my Mum and I kept it quiet.  For me it wasn’t too bad. At the end of the school day I went home and could shut the doors on my life at school.  I was safe, I was at home.  I feel for young people of today there is no escape being online is one of the most important aspects of young person life and no matter what us adults say this is their way of communicating.  We need to support and educate young people in blocking and talking to someone.  I am so please that we are working with Kidscape, one of the longest establish Anti Bullying Charities in the UK.  It means we can both reach as many children as possible and help support families that might be experiencing being bullied.

I am incredible passionate about what I do and broadening conversations around online safety and protecting young children online.

If Gooseberry Planet can save one child from being bullied, groomed or sexually exploited, then it has achieved my goal

Gooseberry Planet & Kidscape have put their heads together

Gooseberry Planet & Kidscape have put their heads together

Since 1985 Kidscape has worked with children, families and teachers to help protect children from bullying and harm.  We pride ourselves on being the anti-bullying charity ‘that helps’ and we actively look for supporters and partners who can extend our reach to children and families across the UK.  This is why we were delighted to meet with Stella James from Gooseberry Planet and learn more about their brilliantly innovative work to keep children safe. We know children love to game and Gooseberry Planet is different in that it listens and learns from what children enjoy and want to do and uses this as a platform to share vital safety messages.   When I first met with Stella we both bubbled with excitement and joy as we planned ways we could join forces to help many more schools and families deal with difficult issues. We also shared our own personal challenges as Mums trying to best help and guide our own children. Tackling bullying isn’t easy. If it was then we would have eradicated it by now and the challenges we face have changed. Now it’s not confined to the classroom but happens wherever people are – including online. It’s only by joining forces and working together that we can help all children live their best lives without fear or shame. That’s why we are proud to work with Gooseberry Planet; why you will be hearing messages from Kidscape through the Gooseberry Planet platform – and watch this space as Stella and I have got our heads together and have plans afoot!  Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO Kidscape

I wanted to make sure that schools have a complete tool kit and to cover the areas that are most difficult to talk about which include grooming, sexually exploited and bullying.  Bullying is very close to my heart.  I was bullied badly for 3 years of my secondary school life, I never told my Mum and I kept it quiet.  For me it wasn’t too bad.  At the end of the school day I went home and could shut the doors on my life at school.  I was safe, I was at home.  I feel for young people of today there is no escape being online is one of the most important aspects of young person life and no matter what us adults say this is their way of communicating.  We need to support and educate young people in blocking and talking to someone.  My niece lost her close school friend to suicide. It is more tragic than words can describe to lose a child.  Every parent’s nightmare.   I aGooseberry Planet Logom so please that we are working with Kidscape, one of the longest establish Anti Bullying Charities in the UK.  It means we can both reach as many children as possible and help support families that might be experiencing being bullied.

I am incredible passionate about what I do and broadening conversations around online safety and protecting young children online. Stella James, Head Gooseberry – Gooseberry Planet

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Bullying! Who has the Responsibility?

Bullying in its many forms, is a Safeguarding Issue and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children.  Dealing with an incident of bullying (including bullying online) will often involve a co-ordinated and collaborative approach.  To be effective it should involve the child, parents, carers, the school and in some cases other agencies.

bullyingEveryone has a role to play in ensuring the safety and welfare of children and this includes the safe and responsible use of digital technology.

If a bullying (including online bullying) problem arises either inside or outside of school hours, the school can often be a parents first port of call when seeking help.  Due to the complex nature of bullying (including online bullying) incidents, schools will often need to take time to reach a fair and measured resolution.  This can be frustrating but it essential to ensure that all bullying incidents are dealt with fairly and with the appropriate sanction.

Parents who are faced with their child being bullied frequently seek the support of the school, and find this a more straightforward way to deal with the problem, as by law, schools are required to have policies, procedures and sanctions in place to help support a child who is being bullied.  Schools also have legal power to ensure that their students behave outside of school premises.

But should schools hold all of the responsibility when it comes to preventing and dealing with bullying?

Where does a school’s responsibility stop and a parent’s begin?

It is important to remember, as parents you have a part to play too.  Knowing how to prevent bullying, in particular bullying online will help protect your child enabling them to be safer online.

As Half Term approaches, the number of incidents of bullying will increase and schools will be called upon to help deal with them when the new term begins.

In support of Anti Bullying week 14th-18th November 2016, as parents we ask that you remain vigilant and support the positive use of digital technology with your child.  Your proactive approach will help reduce the risk of online bullying and ensure the safeguarding of all children online.

Read our Anti Bullying Help Sheet to find out more about what you can do to help prevent and respond to online bullying and how to support your child if they are being bullied.