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ALERT: 27 year old England bowler Ollie Robinson has apologised for racist and sexist tweets made by him when he was aged 18 and 19. He has been suspended from international cricket while his actions are investigated.
There are laws against sending nasty, threatening or discriminating messages online and online sites that allow people to communicate with others have rules about what can be said or shared.
Have you every seen anything unkind online? How did it make you feel?
Do you know how to protect yourself from someone who breaks the online rules? (Block, report, unfollow, tell a trusted adult, don’t onward share with others)
What might happen to someone who breaks the platform rules? (upset their friends, be warned or blocked from the platform, damage their reputation, embarrass their family, damage their future opportunities, might break the law).
Activities: Choose a gaming platform or social media site that you use and research the Community Guidelines to find out what the rules are. Make a brief list of the rules. Are they any different from the way people should behave offline?
The latest Ofcom Media and Attitudes report shows that many children have seen unkind, bullying or hateful content online. Police have also reported an increase in online hate speech during the pandemic. The revelations about England pace bowler, Ollie Robinson’s discriminatory tweets makes a good lesson for children about how thoughtless actions can come back to affect someone’s fortunes later in life.
The speed at which people engage online means that both adults and children can be at risk of posting content that they later regret. Twitter has recently introduced a prompt for iPhone users to ask users if they “want to review this before tweeting” if the software identifies a harmful or offensive post. It encourages people to reconsider their wording and gives them options to edit, delete, or send anyway. Children should be reminded that their reputation can also be affected by someone else’s poor behaviour, if they choose to onward share the inappropriate content of others.
Unfortunately hateful, bullying and discriminatory language is not uncommon on social media, gaming and other online platforms. Children by virtue of their youth and the speed at which they are able to communicate, can fall into the trap of mimicking the sort of undesirable language that they see others using online. It’s important they learn to stop and think about the impact and potential consequences of their post. In recognition of this, some platforms such as Twitter now flag up a prompt to users who create potentially harmful or offensive posts, giving them the opportunity to reconsider their words.
Have a conversation with your child about thoughtless comments can affect their reputation and their friendships. Remind them that sometimes a comment may be misinterpreted, or predictive text can change their words causing unintentional offence too. Remind them always to take the time to pause, re-read and think about what they are posting. Remind them not to onward share any inappropriate content sent to them by others as this can reflect badly on them and help spread the content.
For Gooseberry Schools, you will find lesson plans that address some of the issues relating to passwords and security and accompanying parent advice sheets in:
Playground: Scenario 8 – Online bullying
Street: Scenario 4 – Safe Sharing, Scenario 7 – Online Bullying
Village: Scenario 1 – Digital Footprint, Scenario 4 – Safe Sharing (Bullying)
Town: Scenario 6 – Online bullying
City: Scenario 2 – Digital Footprint
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