Christmas can be stressful

I was talking to an acquaintance this week who was clearly thrilled to have received what he described as “the first nice email from my ‘ex’ almost forever”.  They had a child together and his ‘ex’ had written to say what a joy the child was and to thank him for being a part of their life and helping to bring the child up.  We discussed how much more readily we complain about the negative things in life and yet, what a warm glow can be created by the simple act of saying something positive.

Christmas can be a stressful time for many and we are constantly reading about the growth in mental health issues in our young people.  Let’s tell them how much we love and appreciate them – how special they are to us and what joy they bring.  For some, this may be a much-needed boost to their self-esteem, and even if it’s not strictly needed, we all feel better for being appreciated.

So, in this season of goodwill, can I encourage you all to create a warm glow for one or even lots of your family and friends.  Let’s all make an effort over the coming weeks to say something positive to our partners, our children, our parents and yes, even our in-laws and “ex’s”.  You don’t need to wait for something spectacular to happen – we all know that the bedrooms will still be untidy and the bins still left for us to take out!  But a heartfelt acknowledgement or thanks for something they do or say or even that, just by being around, they make you feel happy or grateful could make a really big difference – and it doesn’t cost a thing!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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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How do we deal with trendy tech?


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Our latest Gooseberry Alert is now on the platform.  This one is all about Trendy Tech.  I was taking a Parent Workshop a couple of weeks ago and there was a big concern about the constant pressure to upgrade to  the latest phones  and the impact it has on children who have a standard phone, not a smart phone.  Unfortunately, some children are being bullied due to having an old-fashioned phone.

This is such a hard subject to tackle and I am not sure there is an answer. We want our children to be popular and sometimes give in to their desire to keep up with the brands, rather than teaching them how to responds to the taunts and brush it off.  Maybe we need to toughen up a little and not try and keep up with the Jones’s.   My eldest son lost his mobile  earlier this year.  I refused to buy him a new one and he had to live with an iPad for months, without the ability to text or call anyone.  It did teach him a lesson about taking care of valuable things.   We do seem to live in a bit of a culture of never saying “no”.  This isn’t just with technology but in other aspects of our lives too.  The more parents who just say “no”, the more solidarity there will be amongst those without the latest stuff.  Its important that our children learn the life lesson that even as adults we can’t have everything we would like, and often the objects of our desire are treasured more if we have had to work and save for them.  If children have to earn these privileges by doing chores, or saving up their pocket money, they will value them more and perhaps take greater care of them too.

Of course the other way we can help address thi s sort of problem is by making sure it is not our children who are doing the bullying.  We should talk to our children about what makes someone a good friend, or a good citizen and remind them that judging people on their possessions is a very shallow and poor basis for such a judgement.  Remind them that, if they are lucky enough to have the latest phone, they should feel fortunate and not use it to brag or belittle others.

We are still holding parent workshops webinars.  You will be pleased to know that parents are engaging

and joining the webinars.  We have another one in a few weeks’ time, so just copy and paste this link and share with all of your parents.

We also have had an amazing response to our Online Safety CPD, this is free of charge and anyone in your school can register.  Just click here