Social media is a subject which seems to divide a lot of opinion. Some people think it’s brilliant because they have used it to expand their business, some believe it’s a waste of time or only for the ‘shallow Instagram generation’ and others are intimidated by it and the potential dangers it could pose to their children. After all, there are an overwhelming amount of social media websites popping up now, which makes it difficult to keep up with all the privacy settings, child-friendly versions and parental controls available.
Education, at school and at home, is one of the most important things when it comes to online safety. This is why we teamed up with Kathryn Price, owner and founder of KSPTechCare, to deliver an assembly on Safer Internet Day about things that children should be aware of when going online.
At the start of the assembly, we asked the children how many of them own a mobile phone and the majority of the room raised their hands. After we found out how many young people own a mobile, we informed them about how to use “the little computers in their pockets” safely. Kathryn and I explained why passcodes on phones should only be known by them and their parents/guardians and made it clear that “if you send a nasty message to somebody that’s the same as bullying face to face”.
After we had finished giving the presentation, we were pleased to hear lots of questions from the children. Some of these included:
- “What happens when a stranger picks up your phone and takes it?”
- “What does the emergency button on your phone do?”
- “Could you tell people where your address is? I don’t think you should but I’m not sure”
- “Can people hack into your phone?”
- “Can you fight hackers on your phone?”
The main thing that we took away from these questions, is that different children have different levels of understanding about technology, which is why education is so important. Teaching children about online safety is most effective when teachers and parents work together. Therefore, we sponsored the ‘Caught in the Web’ booklet, which was given to children at the end of the assembly. The book contains a story about internet safety and online safety quizzes and activities for children to complete with their parents, reinforcing the messages we communicated in the assembly.
We had a great afternoon teaching children about online safety. If you would like to continue the conversation with your child, then have a look at our blog post on internet safety for parents and businesses. We have also been sharing useful articles and teaching resources on our Twitter and Facebook channels, with videos on privacy settings, which are helpful for anyone wanting to keep their private information from becoming public knowledge.