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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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Gooseberry Planet would like your help

Gooseberry Planet would like your help

Gooseberry Planet would like your help

Please respond to the Age-Appropriate Design Code Consultation

In December, a little known, but hugely important piece of legislation was passed. A data protection code specifically for children and young people, the Age Appropriate Design Code, will change their experience of the digital world in a profound way. To make it robust we need your help.

Few people think about the importance of children’s data, but it is a big business. Data includes information from a child’s name, birthdate, address and friends. It can also infer their sexuality, race, personal preferences, shopping and entertainment habits. Hundreds of small details increasingly affect not only how they are seen by education institutions, commercial companies and future employers, but also guide the experiences they have online.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code will seek to minimise the amount of data, the kinds of data and the spread of their data that can be collected; and will support a child’s right to retract, to correct or to challenge data held about themselves. In doing so, it will reverse the overwhelming nature of data collection that also demands a child’s constant attention to, and interaction with, their devices.

The Information Commissioner is consulting with a wide range of people including parents, teachers, psychologists and academics on the Code. We are asking Gooseberry Planet supporters to submit to the Information Commissioner’s call for evidence. This may be something you have done before, but if you have not submitted before be brave and do so now! Remember, you don’t have to answer every question.

We support the Age-Appropriate Design Code because it addresses the needs of children and young people to grow up in an environment that respects their privacy.

We like the fact that it uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – that means a child is anyone under the age of 18.

We recognise that children are different at different ages, and we support the idea that online services should consider children of different ages differently.

We want the following things to be mandatory in the Code:

High privacy by default, which would give children and young people greater control over who can access their personal information.

Routine failure by online services to uphold their own terms and conditions must be considered a breach of the Code and subject to enforcement, such as fines, commitment to changing their services for the benefit of children.

Geolocation must be off by default, so that children are not tracked or commercially exploited.

Data is only taken during active use of services and apps, to reverse the current trend of online services capturing every piece of a child’s data.

Child data impact assessments for all existing and new services to understand and minimise data privacy risks for children.

A universal reporting system which would allow all children confidently to contact online services when they experience problems or need assistance.

A commitment from the Government to enforce the Code. This will ensure robust and effective implementation of children’s rights online.

If you have any questions or need assistance in filling in the submission form, or if you have any thoughts or ideas, you can contact stella@gGooseberryplanet.com

You can find more information about the Age-Appropriate Design Code and children’s privacy in the Information Commission’s blog.

Thank you for your support

Stella James
Head Gooseberry